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Navy Drops Afghanistan War Crime Charges Against 4 SEALs

U.S. Navy Sea, Air, and Land Team Members conduct military field operations d...

Photo by Staff Sgt. Corban Lundborg / US Air Force

Above: U.S. Navy Sea, Air, and Land Team Members conduct military field operations during exercise TRIDENT 18-4 at Hurlburt Field, Florida, 11 July, 2018.

The Navy on Tuesday dropped war crimes charges against four SEALs set to go on trial later this month.

The move comes as the Navy's legal system is under intense scrutiny following the case against Chief Edward Gallagher.

Lt. Jason Webb, Chief Petty Officer David Swarts, Chief Petty Officer Xavier Silva and Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel D’Ambrosio were accused of assaulting prisoners in Afghanistan in 2012, firing a weapon near the head of a prisoner, dropping a rock on their chest, then covering up the abuse. Three of the four were scheduled to be in court Aug. 19.

Listen to this story by Steve Walsh.

RELATED: Chief Of Naval Operations Takes Over Gallagher SEAL Case

Tuesday evening, the Navy released a statement saying Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar was dropping all charges of detainee abuse against the four.

The head of Navy Region Southwest says Navy prosecutors told her evidence from 2012 has degraded making a conviction unlikely. A Navy spokesman says that included eyewitness testimony.

Last week, the head of the Navy dropped charges against another San Diego-based Navy SEAL in the Gallagher case and ordered an investigation into the operation of the Navy Judge Advocate General's Office.

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Photo of Steve Walsh

Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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