Special Forces, Murder, & Stolen Valor: 9 Details You Need to Know About the Army’s Case Against a Green Beret

February 14, 2019Justen Charters
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On Dec. 13, 2018, U.S. Army Major and former Green Beret Matthew Golsteyn was charged with murder for killing an alleged Taliban bomb maker. The case against Golsteyn has been a hot-button issue, sparking controversy and debate across the country — and the world.

Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan.

Here’s what we know so far.

  • In 2010, Golsteyn shot and killed an alleged Taliban bomb-maker in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The bomb maker was believed to be responsible for two U.S. Marine Corps deaths earlier that week. While in U.S. custody, he wouldn’t cooperate or speak to investigators. Because of the rules of engagement, he had to be let go, per Golsteyn’s account. Then Golsteyn killed the bomb-maker while he was still in his custody.

  • According to a report from the Washington Post, there were two reasons for his actions. 1) Golsteyn killed the Taliban member because he was ID’ed by a tribal leader who was helping coalition forces, and the leader was afraid he would kill his family, and 2) Golsteyn believed that if released, the Taliban bomb maker was going to kill more U.S. troops.

  • In 2011, Golsteyn applied for a job with the CIA, disclosing during a polygraph that he killed the Taliban member. As a result, an investigation was opened by the Army Criminal Investigative Command.

  • In 2014, Golsteyn was stripped of his Silver Star, his Special Forces tab, and removed from Special Forces as well. However, there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with murder.

  • In 2016, Golsteyn sat down with Fox News Channel host Bret Baier for a segment called “How We Fight.” During that interview, Baier asked Golsteyn if he killed the bomb maker. The former Green Beret answered, “Yes.” For two years, the case didn’t go anywhere. However, on Dec. 13, 2018, the U.S. Army charged Golsteyn with murder.

  • The news received a lot attention on social media, with President Donald Trump even tweeting that he plans to look into the case of the “military hero.”

  • Golsteyn’s family is all for the President’s involvement. In an interview with CNN, Golsteyn’s mother, Nancy, said, “Matt broke no code. That was proven in the board of inquiry.”

  • On Feb. 10, 2019, Golsteyn appeared in his first TV interview since the charges were filed, telling Fox & Friends during a Sunday interview that the bomb maker he is accused of murdering was killed during an ambush. “Over these years, what the Army – particularly this time, the United States Army Special Operations Command – seems to be intent on doing is characterizing an ambush as murder,” Golsteyn said. “What Army special operators and regular Army, like infantry soldiers, have done over the last 15 years, those routine combat actions are now being characterized as murder.”

  • On Feb. 14, 2019, it was reported by the Army Times that the special agent who led the investigation against Golsteyn, Sgt. 1st Class Mark A. Delacruz, is facing stolen valor charges. What does that mean for Golsteyn? In light of the recent developments, he’s requested that his trial process be expedited or the charges dismissed, as well as a change of duty station from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C.

Justen Charters
Justen Charters

Justen Charters is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. Justen was previously at Independent-Journal Review (IJ Review) for four years, where his articles were responsible for over 150 million page views, serving in various positions from content specialist to viral content editor. He currently resides in Utah with his wife and daughter.

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