Good morning, Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Monday, April 22, 2019, which is Dyngus Day, Earth Day, and National Jelly Bean Day.
Today in History:
- 1970: Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational programs.
- On this day in 1945, Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse. Almost as confirmation of Hitler’s assessment, a Soviet mechanized corps reaches Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin, liberates a POW camp and releases, among others, Norwegian Commander in Chief Otto Ruge.
- Pat Tillman, who gave up his pro football career to enlist in the U.S. Army after the terrorist attacks of September 11, is killed by friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. The news that Tillman, age 27, was mistakenly gunned down by his fellow Rangers, rather than enemy forces, was initially covered up by the U.S. military.
- 1889: At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- mseaveywith “Remove” in the subject line. If you have received this from someone who forwarded it and would like to be added, email mseavey.
Military.com: VA Won’t Ramp Up Security After Rash of Suicides on Premises. Here’s Why.
20 Apr 2019 | Military.com | By Richard Sisk
In the wake of a troubling trend of veteran suicides and at least one shooting on the premises of Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in recent weeks, VA leaders are preparing for congressional scrutiny and hearings on the matter.
What they’re not doing, however, is planning to ramp up security at VA centers through the use of metal detectors. While incidents at individual VA facilities may prompt local reviews, the majority of security decisions are not made at the national level.
It’s a delicate balance between providing a safe environment at the VA and keeping facilities safe and accessible to all, said Dr. Keita Franklin, the VA’s National Director of Suicide Prevention. And officials, she said, are sensitive about taking steps that might undermine that message of openness.
"We want our VA facilities to be warm and welcoming — a place where veterans are willing, where they want to go. We don’t want them to perceive the facilities as places where they get hassled or that they have any level of barrier when it comes to accessing care," Franklin told Military.comin an interview Thursday.
The message was underlined earlier this week in a statement by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie: "Providing same-day 24/7 access to mental health crisis intervention and support for veterans, service members and their families is our top clinical priority."
That’s not to say that nothing is changing in the wake of the recent tragedies.
In a horrific incident on April 9, a veteran pulled a gun in the waiting room of a VA clinic in Austin, Texas, and killed himself in front of staff and other patients. The Austin suicide followed two others at VA facilities in Georgia.
On April 5, a veteran killed himself in the parking lot of the Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia, VA officials said, and on April 6 a 68-year-old veteran died by suicide outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center.
In addition, a double amputee later identified by the FBI as Larry Ray Bon, 59, fired at least six shots on Feb. 27 in the emergency room of the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach, Florida. A VA doctor and a hospital staffer were slightly wounded in the melee to wrest the gun away from the patient, the FBI said.
"This unfortunate incident [in Florida] has prompted changes in the facility’s security plan, which now has an additional level of security at all of its entrances and in the emergency department," VA spokesman Curt Cashour said.
Adding metal detectors, however, is not under consideration, he said.
"It would create a barrier to entry that might drive patients away," he explained.
It’s not the first time the VA has grappled with the competing interests of security and openness.
In a 2018 review, the Government Accountability Office said the VA was not meeting standards for security required at federal buildings following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and lacked central oversight of measures taken at individual facilities.
The GAO report also noted that "Ensuring physical security for these medical centers can be complicated because VA has to balance safety and security with providing an open and welcoming healthcare environment." Security was often left to the discretion of individual medical center directors, the report said.
The VA agreed with the findings and pledged to follow recommendations to improve requirements that already include security cameras, silent distress alarms, perimeter fencing and a police force at all of its hospitals.
A reporter’s visit Thursday to three VA facilities revealed understated, but consistent, security measures.
As is the case at private and non-profit hospitals, there were no metal detectors at the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Centers. Security staff in yellow vests were at the entrance to assist patients and visitors.
The yellow vests were also in the parking lot and garage to guide arrivals, and also had golf carts to assist those who had difficulty in walking.
Inside the main entrance, security personnel asked for ID before directing visitors to the information desk. They also stand prepared to conduct random searches.
VA officials said security measures seen at the Washington VAMC and two clinics were typical of those throughout the nation’s largest health care system of 170 hospitals and more than 1,000 outpatient clinics.
VA Seeks Answers Amid Suicides
The April 9 incident in Austin was the sixth veteran suicide this year at a VA facility. Between October 2017 and November 2018, 19 veterans died by suicide on the grounds of VA medical facilities, according to a Washington Post report. But the deaths at VA facilities only hinted at the scope of the problem.
A VA state-by-state report in 2016 showed that there were 530 veteran suicides in Texas alone, tying with Florida as the states with the most veteran suicides.
The grim statistics haven’t changed for years.
"Sadly, we haven’t seen a change in the numbers yet," said Franklin, a licensed clinical social worker who formerly headed the Defense Department’s Suicide Prevention Office.
Of the average 20 veterans who take their lives daily, about 14 have never been in contact with the VA, she said.
She pointed to an executive order issued in March by President Donald Trump to establish a Veteran Wellness, Empowerment and Suicide Prevention Task Force.
Franklin said the need was for a "whole-of-government — really a whole-of-nation — approach because we recognize we can’t reach every veteran ourselves and only six of them [out of 20] have touched our hospital system."
The task force will include the Secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services, Energy, Homeland Security, Labor, Education and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
It will be charged with developing a "comprehensive national public health roadmap outlining the specific strategies needed to lower effectively the rate of veteran suicide, with a focus on community engagement," VA officials have said.
VA leaders only recently discovered that about three of the 20 daily veteran suicides were among members of the National Guard and Reserve who were never federally activated, Franklin said.
She said that the VA recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Guard and Reserves to have mobile VA health centers sent to drill weekends.
"We want to start this early intervention" and "make sure we’re doing everything we can to get our arms around this," Franklin said.
One concern is that veterans with problems often come to the VA as a last resort, Franklin said.
"Those veterans that do come to us — they’re pretty chronic when they come to the point where they’re engaging in our mental health system," she said.
"Usually, a lot of other systems — I hate to use this word — have failed them. They, perhaps, tried to get help from family, friends, church, other types of entities along the way.
Thus, some of those who do make it to VA facilities are immediately among the high-risk veteran population, she said.
"And so the subgroup that comes to us comes with an elevated level of risk, if you will, compared to others that are struggling but don’t end up in our health care system," Franklin said.
Demands for Action
She acknowledged that she was speaking ahead of demands for investigations and Congressional hearings that will call on her for action plans.
In a letter last week to the Inspectors General of the VA, the Defense Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chennelly said suicides among veterans and service members were a "national crisis."
"We are calling on your offices to launch immediately a joint, coordinated investigation into the veteran and service member suicide epidemic, to include a macro evaluation of mental health treatment programs and personnel assigned to operate them," he said. "Many of these suicides appear to be protests of last resort where healthcare systems, treatment programs, and the underlying cultures of the responsible federal agencies have failed them."
"We can no longer accept that "20 suicides a day" is the norm and approach this crisis with passive resignation," he added.
Of the 19 suicides on VA campuses from October 2017 to November 2018, seven took place in parking lots, Chennelly said.
"These include a Marine Corps veteran who took his life in the Minneapolis VA hospital’s parking lot, as well as a Marine colonel who shot himself in December 2018 outside the Bay Pines [Florida] Department of Veterans Affairs while dressed in his service uniform," he said.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-California, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, announced last week that he will hold a series of hearings beginning later this month on the suicide crisis. He said the hearings were intended to "spark a larger discussion about what actions we can take together as nation."
Focus on Outreach
Franklin said the pressing need was for outreach to make more veterans aware of VA’s mental health services and get them into the system prior to any crisis. She pointed to a recent National Academy of Sciences evaluation.
"One of their findings was that when we do get people into care they fare better," she said.
The congressionally mandated NAS report, titled "Evaluation of the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services," found that there was "a substantial unmet need for mental health services," particularly among post-9/11 veterans.
The report said that about half of post-9/11 veterans "who may have a need for mental health care services do not use VA or non-VA mental health care services."
In addition, many veterans are resistant to seeking help, the NAS report said.
"More than half of veterans who screened positive in the survey for having a mental health care need do not perceive a need for mental health services," the report said.
For those veterans with a need for mental health care who have not sought VA services, lack of knowledge about how to apply for benefits, as well as uncertainty about eligibility and lack of information, were the main barriers to seeking care.
However, when veterans do use the VA system, most are satisfied with the results, the report said. A majority of post-9/11 veterans who use VA services "report positive experiences with its mental health services, including the availability of services, privacy and confidentiality of medical records, the ease of using VA mental health care, and the staff’s skill, expertise, and courtesy toward patients," it said.
Franklin said that getting more veterans into the system required an overhaul of the outreach methods that came under scrutiny last year.
In December, the Government Accountability Office study found that of $6.2 million set aside for suicide prevention media outreach in fiscal 2018, only $57,000 — less than 1 percent — was actually spent.
VA officials at the time acknowledged that "organizational transitions and realignments" led to the funds going unspent, but said that more outreach was being planned targeting social media.
Last year, the VA joined with the non-profit PsychArmor Institute to develop an online suicide prevention video titled "SAVE" to aid those who interact with veterans who might be at risk.
Cashour, the VA spokesman, said that more than 93 percent of VA personnel have taken the training, and the video has been viewed more than 17,000 times.
In a fact sheet put out in January, the VA said that suicide prevention coordinators were currently managing care for nearly 11,000 veterans judged to be clinically at high-risk for suicide.
In addition, the VA in fiscal 2018 provided more than 2.4 million same-day mental health appointments, the fact sheet said.
In a release Tuesday, the VA said that in the first quarter of fiscal 2019, about 90% of new patients completed an appointment in a mental health clinic within 30 days of scheduling an appointment, and 96.8% of established patients completed a mental health appointment within 30 days of the day they requested.
But the definitive solutions to the epidemic of "parking lot" suicides and veteran suicides overall were still elusive.
Earlier this month, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee called a hearing on the implementation of the Mission Act to expand private-care options for veterans, but the hearing quickly veered off into a back-and-forth with VA officials on the recent suicides in Georgia and Texas.
Dr. Richard Stone, the executive in charge of the VHA, told the senators that suicides and attempted suicides at VA facilities were more numerous than they may have thought.
He said that more than 260 suicide attempts had been recorded at VA facilities over the years. He did not give a time period for when the attempts were made, but said VA staff had intervened in about 240 of them and were able to save lives.
To curb what he called the "epidemic," Stone said the nation as a whole must ask itself where veterans have been failed.
"Where have we as a community and society failed that veteran is a very complex ," he said.
"I wish it was as simple as me saying I could do more patrols in a parking lot that would stop this," Stone said.
Military Times: VA privatization latest battleground for congressional rising stars
By: Leo Shane III | 2 days ago
A pair of prominent freshman lawmakers offered sharply different views about the future of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care this week, bringing the ongoing debate over fears of department privatization to the next generation of elected leaders.
The duo — Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw — have both built national followings since their elections last fall, and recently have sparred directly over social media concerning rhetoric surrounding Muslims and the Sept. 11attacks.
But this week marked each legislator’s first focused entry into VA policy discussions, and their comments suggested both will make those issues a key focus in months to come — with very different positions on the issue.
In her home district on Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez took part in a rally organized by National Nurses United and other advocates who warned that current administration plans are taking the department on a path towards privatization by dramatically expanding community care eligibility for veterans.
“They’re trying to ‘fix’ the VA for pharmaceutical companies, they’re trying to ‘fix’ VA for insurance corporations, and ultimately they’re trying to ‘fix’ the VA for a for-profit health care industry that does not put people or veterans first,” she told an applauding crowd of advocates who have lobbied against the changes for months.
“We have a responsibility to protect (VA). Because if there is any community that deserves Cadillac, first-class health care in the United States of America, it is our military servicemembers and veterans.”
A day later, in his home district, Crenshaw offered the opposite view during discussion held by Concerned Veterans for America. He insisted the health care moves “are in no way trying to give away VA responsibilities” but instead are helping the department evolve into a modern, more effective health care system for veterans.
“There’s a knee jerk reaction in Washington when something isn’t perfect to just add more money, add more personnel, it’ll all be OK,” he said. “That’s not true, especially with complex issues like veterans health care.”
At issue are looming changes to eligibility rules for veterans seeking medical care from private-sector doctors at taxpayer expense. Under the VA Mission Act passed last summer, new standards will be put in place this June that could nearly quadruple the number of veterans who could go outside the federal system for that care. About 600,000 veterans enrolled in VA health care are eligible for the existing community care programs. The proposed expanded standards will raise that number to between 1.5 million and 2.1 million patients, according to the department.
Supporters of the change — including CVA — have argued it amounts to providing more choices and more convenient, timely care for veterans. Opponents — including NNU — have called it a way to siphon off VA dollars to private companies, and eventually privatize the government’s responsibility to care for veterans.
Neither Crenshaw, who lost an eye while serving as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, nor Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive leader who has already made health care reforms a key point of her congressional focus, sit on the chamber’s veterans policy committee. Neither was in Congress last year when the Mission Act passed.
But both are poised to be key voices as the June deadline approaches, and as Democrats try to decide whether they should halt or stall the changes amid lingering concerns from their supporters.
Ocasio-Cortez argued that VA care has been unfairly maligned in recent years, a point that the nurses group and union leaders have emphasized for months. Recent studies have shown that VA wait times and care quality generally exceed private-sector options.
“The entire opening and approach that we have seen when it comes to privatization is the idea that this thing that isn’t broken, this thing that provides some of the highest quality care to our veterans, somehow needs to be fixed, optimized, tinkered with until we don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said.
“We believe some things should not be for sale in this country. Caring for our veterans should not be for sale in this country.”
Crenshaw said he has received care at four different VA facilities since his return from the war, but that too often care is inconsistent from location to location. Expanding options for veterans who face longer waits or insufficient expertise is not only a sensible step ahead, he argued, but a duty for the country.
“I need the VA to be flexible enough to send me outside for care,” he said. “This is a step in the right direction.”
The debate over the Mission Act changes will return to Capitol Hill later this month, when Crenshaw, Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the House returns from its April legislative break.
Leaders from the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee have already demanded more information from VA on the financial impact of the changes and unfilled health care vacancies within the Veterans Health System.
That debate is also likely to shift from the committee’s hearing room to the House floor as the deadline approaches, giving Ocasio-Cortez and Crenshaw another chance to square off on VA issues.
Delmarva Now: Minority World War I veterans would get honors with Van Hollen bill
FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published 6:15 a.m. ET April 19, 2019
Maryland U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt announced the World War I Valor Medals Review Act, new bipartisan legislation that will ensure that minority veterans who served during World War I get the recognition they deserve.
It would require the Department of Defense to undertake a review of valor medals awarded to minority veterans during WWI to determine whether any should receive the Medal of Honor, according to a release from Van Hollen’s office.
This review would be conducted in consultation with the WWI Centennial Commission’s Valor Medals Review Task Force. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are original cosponsors of the Senate bill, and Congressman French Hill (R-Ark.) has introduced the House companion legislation.
Service members of all races, religions, and backgrounds fought in WWI, but the Medal of Honor was denied to minority Veterans until the 1990s. Congress has authorized more recent reviews for minority service members from World War II to the present, but the only review undertaken for WWI took place in 1919 – and no minority Veterans received the Medal of Honor as a result of that review.
The legislation would to require the Department of Defense to review the service records of African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Jewish American, and Native American war veterans who were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross or Navy Cross, or who received a recommendation for the Medal of Honor for an action that occurred between April 6, 1917, and Nov. 11, 1918.
It would also require a review of the service record of veterans awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm by the Government of France. This review would be conducted in coordination with the Valor Medals Review Task Force, which will raise private funds to complete the project.
The bill authorizes the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to recommend veterans determined to merit the Medal of Honor as a result of the review to the President. It also waives statutory time limits which would preclude such a recommendation being made.
“Hundreds of thousands of minority Veterans served their country during World War I, and their sacrifice was essential to our victory. But for far too long, their heroism has not received the recognition it deserves,” said Hollen in the news release. “Take William Butler, an African American Veteran from Salisbury, for example. His valor was recognized with the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Distinguished Service Cross, and a recommendation for the Medal of Honor – but he never received that medal before his death. His story is the exact kind of case the Valor Medal Task Force should review. This legislation will ensure he and countless others have the opportunity to be honored.”
“Minority veterans who exhibited the highest acts of valor during WWI deserve to be recognized with the Medal of Honor,” said Senator Blunt. “We cannot erase the discrimination minority service members faced, but we can make sure their heroic deeds are acknowledged and honored. I’m grateful for the work the Valor Medals Review Task Force, in partnership with Park University, is doing to make sure those who were denied the Medal of Honor because of their race or religion finally receive the recognition they have earned.”
A group of 20 organizations that represent millions of members of the uniformed services and their families wrote a letter in support of the legislation, saying, “Our organizations – through the efforts of the Valor Medals Review Task Force – support the fair adjudication of our highest military award for all, which must include our diverse population of service members who have exhibited the commensurate level of courage, sacrifice, and patriotism equal to others who were not denied such recognition. We stand with the Task Force in a common belief that the Medal of Honor should be considered without racial, ethnic, or religious bias.”
The legislation is also endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, American GI Forum, and Congressional Black Caucus Veteran’s Braintrust.
Navy Times: Prosecutors celebrate victory after ruling in Gallagher war crimes case
By: Navy Times staff | 1 day ago
The military judge overseeing the court-martial proceedings for accused SEAL war criminal Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward “Eddie” Gallagher has ruled that information gleaned from his seized cell phones can be used as evidence by the prosecution.
Capt. Aaron Rugh’s decision late Friday clears prosecutors to use a string of text messages and other data they believe will buttress their allegations that Gallagher, 39, stabbed to death a seriously wounded and unarmed Islamic State prisoner of war during a 2017 deployment to Iraq and later tried to cover up the killing and intimidate potential witnesses.
A spokesman for Navy Region Southwest, the convening authority in Gallagher’s court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego, declined comment.
Gallagher’s civilian defense attorney, Timothy Parlatore, downplayed the significance of the ruling.
“It doesn’t really change anything on our end,” said Parlatore, a former Navy Surface Warfare Officer. “It certainly won’t affect the outcome of this case.”
Parlatore declined to comment further, saying he couldn’t directly discuss the decision due to a different ruling by Rugh on Thursday that imposed a gag order prohibiting attorneys from discussing the court’s decisions, motions and other court filings in the SEAL’s case.
As for a Gallagher text message that seems to suggest that he slayed someone with a knife, Parlatore wrote it off as the “dark humor” shared between combat-hardened men.
And Parlatore said Team Gallagher was celebrating a Friday victory, too. He said that Naval Special Warfare Group 1 commodore Capt. Matthew D. Rosenbloom agreed to key concessions on the SEAL suspect’s living arrangements.
Gallagher is now allowed a phone to call his attorneys and family members from pretrial quarters at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, plus a computer.
A tweeting President Donald J. Trump on March 30 ordered the Navy to remove Gallagher from Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar to less restrictive conditions.
Only moments after Rugh on Thursday ordered a blanket gag order on the Gallagher case, Navy Times began receiving what would become thousands of pages of legal motions and orders, plus internal Naval Criminal Investigative Service files, Naval Special Warfare emails, photographs and other highly relevant records tied to the trial, a deluge of documents that kept flowing well into Saturday morning.
Gallagher has been charged with premeditated murder in connection with the Iraqi fighter’s death, attempted murder for allegedly shooting an old man and a child and other crimes tied to what military prosecutors said was an ongoing attempt to obstruct justice.
On Jan. 11, defense attorneys filed a motion to suppress all evidence harvested from what became known as cell phone X, cell phone Y and cell phone Z.
Gallagher’s legal team argued that investigators unlawfully seized all three phones, at times violating Gallagher’s Fourth and Fifth amendment rights, which protect Americans from unreasonable surveillance, searches and seizures, including safeguarding criminal suspects from self-incrimination.
The phone known as cell phone X, Gallagher’s attorneys wrote, was an iPhone confiscated during a June 20 pat-down frisk before NCIS attempted to interrogate him, without his lawyer present and with agents allegedly relying on a verbal command authorization for search and seizure — what’s called “CASS” in the military — that didn’t adequately specify what was to be taken.
While detained, Gallagher was ordered to unlock his phone to allow NCIS to search it. He tried to open it with his fingerprint, but it shook and wouldn’t open, so he punched in the pass code, which let agents seize the evidence on it.
In a Jan. 18 response by Marine Capt. Conor L. McMahon, military prosecutors described the scene a little differently.
He wrote that while NCIS Special Agent Ian Loske confiscated Gallagher’s phone, Gallagher was afforded the chance to call his lawyer but he couldn’t reach Texas-based attorney Colby Vokey, who has since exited his legal team.
The verbal CASS that allegedly was issued by Navy Capt. Roy Love, the commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego, was only designed to find evidence linked to the murder charge, McMahon said.
The plan to get Gallagher to use his fingerprint to unlock the phone was hatched by the lead NCIS agent, Joe Warpinski, according to McMahon.
He told a pair of special agents, Brian Frank and Chris Leiphart, that to avoid confusing chatter, only he would talk to Gallagher. He would ask the suspect to use the phone’s biometric feature to unlock it.
Because Gallagher “had asked for an attorney, I knew I could not ask him for his pass code and I could not ask him to enter his pass code,” Warpinski later said in an affidavit.
Some appellate courts have held that police are allowed to compel a suspect to unlock a cell phone with a fingerprint because the act is “non-testimonial.”
That means that the authorities don’t force a suspect to reveal any incriminating contents of his or her mind, which would include a pass code, McMahon argued.
Warpinski insisted that he never asked Gallagher for the code or even mentioned it to him.
But when Gallagher’s fingerprint failed to open the phone — a glitch that occurs with a sweaty or dirty finger or if the wrong digit is used — “the accused made a scoffing or frustrated type of noise and began typing in his pass code,” McMahon wrote.
Warpinski said that he sidled up to Gallagher to make sure he didn’t start erasing data, but it also allowed him to watch him type in the pass code.
Warpinski wrote down the code and used it to access phones Y and Z, too.
“The accused chose to enter the pass code under circumstances where he had no reasonable expectation of privacy, without any prompting from NCIS, ” McMahon later wrote.
But he added that Warpinski’s maneuver wasn’t necessary.
“While law enforcement agencies have struggled to unlock locked phones in the past, NCIS had recently acquired the technology to bypass the security features of a locked phone and gain access to the device through a digital forensic examiner,” McMahon wrote.
On June 21, NCIS received a written CASS from Love that allegedly memorialized his discussion with agents green lighting the confiscation, both sides wrote.
Cell phone Y was seized during a search of Gallagher’s Point Loma home while he was detained by NCIS. But his attorneys contended that the warrant signed by federal Magistrate Nita L. Stormes wasn’t specific enough about the device to be confiscated and analyzed.
McMahon disagreed, saying that it allowed for the seizure of “any cell phones or mobile devices" that might provide evidence that Gallagher committed murder and agents were acting in the good faith belief that the evidence they gleaned wouldn’t be suppressed.
What’s odd, however, is that the commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego didn’t issue a CASS until Jan. 18 for cell phone Y, almost seven months after it was confiscated by NCIS, according to McMahon’s filing.
That coincided with a round of CASS requests from the commander targeting Naval Special Warfare Development Group — which also is known as DEVGRU or SEAL Team 6.
In other words, those who allegedly were on the other end of Gallagher’s conversations, should the judge have ruled against the prosecution on the NCIS cell phone confiscations.
As for cell phone Z, it was taken without any warrant or CASS on Sept. 11 by Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton officials while Gallagher was receiving medical care there, which made it an illegal confiscation, his attorneys argued.
But McMahon said the contents of the device weren’t fully gleaned until a data extraction was performed while on Navy property between Oct. 12 and Oct. 30, pursuant to a CASS issued by a Navy commander, which removed the Marines from the case.
It remains unclear if Parlatore will appeal the judge’s decision.
Gallagher’s trial is slated to begin May 28 at Naval Base San Diego.