• Green Beret Stripped Of Valor Award After Disclosure Will Get To Retire With Benefits

    Army officers ruled Sunday evening that Maj. Matthew L. Golsteyn, stripped of awards following a secretive investigation, can retire with benefits.

    The Board of Inquiry heard testimony alleging that when he was interviewing for a CIA position in 2011, Golsteyn disclosed that he killed an unarmed man in Afghanistan who was supposedly a bomb maker for the Taliban, The Washington Post reports.

    An Army investigation turned up nothing, and Golsteyn’s fellow soldiers declined to testify against him, despite being offered full protection and even being threatened with legal action. According to Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, who took up Golsteyn’s cause, the Army hasn’t been able to find a shred of evidence for their accusations.

    The Board didn’t find any evidence that Golsteyn violated the law of armed conflict, either, but instead ruled that he should be given a general discharge for unbecoming conduct.

    Still, the Army decided to strip Golsteyn of the Silver Star and Green Beret’s Special Forces tab, citing an ongoing investigation as justification. He originally received the Silver Star after braving enemy fire from insurgents’ assault on his team.

    The CIA refused to let the video of Golsteyn’s polygraph test into the Board of Inquiry’s evidence record. Although a transcript of that test was also initially refused, last Friday, that decision was reversed.

    “For four years, the Army made Matt’s life a living nightmare and the major charges they sought … were unsupported by the evidence,” Hunter told The Washington Post. “Especially considering what the Army tried to do, this is a major victory for Matt and for every soldier in harm’s way, who don’t have the time or the opportunity to litigate split-second battlefield decisions from the rear, sometimes years after the fact even, as the Army did in Matt’s case.” Hunter has characterized the investigation as a witch hunt.

    In the past, Golsteyn has criticized the war in Afghanistan and was quoted as saying, “We’re the insurgents here … and we’re selling a poor product called the Kabul government.”

    Golsteyn isn’t out of the woods, yet. The Army will place a memorandum of reprimand in his file, which effectively ends his career, though Golsteyn was planning to leave, regardless.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter


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