By Debbie Gregory.
A Green Beret officer was stripped of a prestigious valor award and dropped from the Special Forces. Maj. Matt Golsteyn fell out of favor with Army officials after the CIA shared information it had gathered about him while Golsteyn was going through screening for a potential job, according to officials familiar with the case.
Golsteyn will have to prove he should remain on active duty during a board of inquiry hearing convened by Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg after being accused of committing a war crime.
The hearing comes after a probe from the Army Criminal Investigation Command into whether Golsteyn committed a war crime while serving in Afghanistan. He, however, has not been charged with a crime.
The 3rd Special Forces Group officer and Fort Bragg Green Beret had received his Special Forces tab and a Silver Start for heroism on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
Few details are known publicly about what the Army accuses Golsteyn of doing. Golsteyn was investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Command for an undisclosed violation of the U.S. military’s rules of engagement in 2010. The violation allegedly resulted in the death of a known enemy fighter and bombmaker in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The Army closed a lengthy investigation last summer without charging Golsteyn with any crime, but Army Secretary John McHugh revoked a Silver Star that Golsteyn had been awarded for heroism on Feb. 20, 2010, during the iconic Battle of Marja.
Golsteyn’s lawyer, Phil Stackhouse, has argued that the Army does not have sufficient evidence to prove that allegation. That’s why Golsteyn has never been charged, he said.
Golsteyn is being processed for a medical evaluation for retirement because of disabilities, his lawyer said. Golsteyn had an operation on his heart while serving, and has suffered spinal damage, a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, Stackhouse said.
Golsteyn could receive a less-than-honorable discharge, general discharge or honorable discharge. A less-than-honorable discharge would prevent Golsteyn from collecting VA benefits from his more than 10 years of service, according to Stackhouse.
Stackhouse said, “Our goal is for the board members to review and deliberate fairly and objectively,” Stackhouse said. “We’re cautiously optimistic on what’s going to happen. At the end of the day, if they act independently and review evidence objectively, they’ll close the case.”
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Military Connection: CIA Job Interview Results in Loss of Awards: By Debbie Gregory