The retired Army officer charged with murder and pardoned by President Donald Trump in November has been denied by the Army Special Operations commander to have his status as a member of Army Special Forces reinstated.
Retired Army Maj. Matt Golsteyn requested that the Army reinstate his Special Forces Tab, which was removed nearly six years ago amid allegations that he murdered an Afghan man in 2010. The Army charged him with murder in 2018. Golsteyn pleaded not guilty.
“Following a thorough review, the Commander of the Army Special Operations Command denied Golsteyn’s request for reinstatement of the Special Forces Tab,” an Army spokesperson said.
The Washington Post was the first to report the denial by the Army.
The Special Forces tab is awarded upon graduation of the Army’s grueling Special Forces Qualification Course.
The Army had been investigating the killing intermittently since 2011. The incident came up during a polygraph exam during a 2011 CIA job interview, the Post reported, saying Golsteyn admitted to killing the bombmaker. However, Golsteyn’s attorney has previously disputed how the admission was characterized by Army officials.
Golsteyn was one of three high profile military justice cases that Trump intervened in, eliciting criticism by some that the President was undermining the military justice system.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other top senior military leaders communicated to the President that a presidential pardon could potentially damage the integrity of the military judicial system, the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline and the confidence of US allies and partners who host US troops.
One of those cases the President intervened in involved Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, Trump also intervened to stop the Navy from conducting a review of Gallagher’s status as a SEAL, a review that could have resulted in his loss of his “trident,” which is the Navy SEAL equivalent of the Special Forces tab. That controversy led to the secretary of the Navy being ousted.