Sunday, November 1, 2020

A postscript to the Gallagher case

NPR's Jane Arraf has this report on the effort to identify the teenage ISIS fighter whose death was at the center of the trial of Navy SEAL Chief Edward R. Gallagher.
Throughout the high-profile trial and intervention by [President Donald J.] Trump, the Iraqi captive seemed almost an afterthought. His name was not on the charge sheet in which he was identified only as a "wounded male person." Andrew Dyer, a journalist who covered the trial for The San Diego Union-Tribune, says, "They never said his name in court." NPR has asked the Navy for the name and other details of the teenager's identity. Despite a Freedom of Information Act request filed in November 2019, the Navy has kept the court records sealed. Now, NPR has been able to identify the dead fighter based on information from Iraqi officials and confirmation from his family. Iraqi security officials named him as Khaled Jamal Abdullah. To track down his identity, NPR last year first searched the neighborhoods of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul where the wounded fighter said he was from in the video. No one recognized the teenager. Security officials initially told NPR there were no official files on the identity of the fighter. But NPR eventually received the name and hometown from security officials who did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to release it.
Why are the case records still sealed?

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