UNITED STATES—On Sunday, December 16 President Donald Trump responded to requests to look into the charges of murder and conspiracy against Major Matthew Golsteyn. The U.S. Green Beret Commander, who is a graduate of Westpoint is being charged with the premeditated murder of the death of a suspected Taliban bomb-maker in Afghanistan in 2010.
Following a thorough investigation, no formal charges were filed because there was not enough evidence to prosecute the case in 2013. Golsteyn was removed from the Special Forces Group and stripped of his Silver Star for Valor, the third highest honor in the military.
Golsteyn was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces group in February 2010 that was attached to a Marine unit involved in heavy combat at the battle of Marja.
Two of the marines attached to his unit, Sgt. Jeremy McQueary and Lance Cpl. Larry Johnson were killed by booby-trapped explosives. Golsteyn and his men found the suspected Taliban bomb-maker who was identified by an afghan informant nearby.
Under the rules of engagement, the suspect could not be executed while detained. He would have had to be released. Golsteyn later admitted to the details of the killing during a polygraph test in a job interview with the CIA.
“There’s limits on how long you can hold guys,” Golsteyn told Fox News’ Bret Baier in 2016. “You realize quickly that you make things worse. It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with coalition forces, when identified will suffer some terrible torture or be killed,” said Golsteyn.
“The rules of engagement were so strict at the time we were only allowed to detain and process afghan’s for drug crimes,” said Golssteyn.
In a statement to Fox News over the telephone, Golsteyn made the following statement: “I made a lawful engagement of a known enemy combatant on the battlefield.”
“The allegations against Major Matt Golsteyn are a law enforcement matter. The Department of Defense will respect the integrity of this process and provide updates when appropriate,” said Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Rob Manning in a statement.
President Trump tweeted, “At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a U.S. Military hero, Major Matt Golsteyn, who was charged with murder.”
Golsteyn could face the death penalty if convicted.