Mathew Golsteyn

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Matthew Golsteyn
Awards Silver Star (Revoked)

Major Mathew Golsteyn was a 2006 graduate of the United States Army's officer college, the West Point Military Academy, who was discharged, following an inquiry, in 2015.[1]

In early 2011 he was awarded a Silver Star for a heroic act performed during the battle of Marjah, in Helmand of February 20, 2010, and was under consideration for having his medal upgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross. However

United States Army officer who served in the War in Afghanistan. He is currently charged with murder after allegedly killing an Afghan man, breaking the Army's rules of engagement. His charges came to prominence after President Donald Trump said that he would review Maj. Golsteyn's case.[2][3][4][5] [6]

Golsteyn graduated from

Military career

Mathew Golsteyn graduated from West Point in 2002, before going on to infantry and Special Forces training.[7] Golsteyn graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2006. He was commissioned into the army and was recommended for discharge, following an inquiry, in 2015.[1] The inquiry allowed him to keep his veteran's benefits.[8][9] In 2011, then Captain Golsteyn was awarded a Silver Star, for actions in February 2010; however, the award was revoked in 2015, after an investigation into an undisclosed rules-of-engagement violation by Golsteyn in 2010.[10][11]

Alleged killing of Afghan bomb-maker

In 2010 Golsteyn was part of Operation Moshtarak, a campaign to liberate the town of Marjah, Helmand Province, from the Taliban.[12] In February, a bomb killed two marines who had been working alongside Maj. Golsteyn. Golsteyn and his team searched the nearby village for the bomb-maker. They found a house full of bomb-making supplies similar to the one that had detonated alongside their caravan, and captured the suspected bomb maker, named Rasoul.[7] A tribal leader confirmed that Rasoul the bomb-maker was a member of the Taliban. According to the Army, the leader did not want Rasoul released and feared that if he was released that he would kill the tribal leader. According to an interview with the CIA in 2011, Golsteyn claimed that another soldier had later taken the bomb-maker off base, and then shot and killed him. Golsteyn said that he later helped burn the body. After this revelation, the Army investigated the case, but closed it with no charges in 2013.[13]

In November 2016, Golsteyn was a guest on a Fox news show. Asked by host Bret Baier if he had killed the suspected bomb-maker, Golsteyn responded "yes". Golstyen's admission led to the Army reopening the case.[13]

Maj. Golsteyn was recalled to active duty and charged with murder by the Army on December 12, 2018 in the killing of the Afgahni bomb-maker.[7][14]

Presidential involvement

Golsteyn made national news when President Donald Trump tweeted that he would review the Major's case.[15][13]

Template:Tweet ABC News quoted Eugene Fidell, widely considered one of the most respected expert on US military law.[16]

"The president's tweet is extremely troubling because it's touching the third rail of military justice. It's commonly said that unlawful command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice... Until there's a proper, on the record, public investigation and ventilation of the facts of the case it would be very unfortunate for him [Trump] to do that [issue a pardon]."

CBS News also quoted Fidell, reporting he regarded the tweet as potentially violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).[17]

"The UCMJ has an explicit prohibition on the exercise of 'unlawful command influence' by any convening authority, a term that incidentally includes the president of the United States."[17]

The BBC asserted that the exact meaning of Trump's tweet was unclear, but that it could be interpreted as an exercise in "illegal command influence", and could result in the charges being dismissed.[5]

Molly Olmstead, writing in Slate magazine, compared Trump's tweet to President Richard Nixon's efforts to pardon Lieutenant William Calley, to officer who was held responsible for the My Lai massacre.[18] She reported that President's never took a stand on a trial that had not been decided. She said that, when they had decided to intervene on behalf of a military suspect, they always waited until after a guilty verdict had been made.

Civilian life

The Washington Times reported that after Golsteyn left an Amazon book review of the book The Wrong War, in which he called a fellow officer, Will Swenson a friend, Army investigators conducted an inquiry into Swenson, and Swenson started to experience administrative errors.[19] Prior to Golsteyn calling him a friend, in the review, Swenson had been scheduled to receive a Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama. But after Golsteyn's comment Swenson was told that key paperwork had been lost, and his award was delayed for almost one year.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dan Lamother (2015-05-19). "Inside the stunning fall and war-crimes investigation of an Army Green Beret war hero". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-12-17. "The case underscores a stunning fall for a highly regarded officer who has been lauded for his leadership and graduated from the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 2006." 
  2. Thomas Gibbons-Neff (2018-12-14). "Army Charges Special Forces Soldier in 2010 Killing of Afghan". The New York Times (Washington, DC): p. A9. Archived from the original on 2018-12-17. "The accusations against the soldier, Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, are the latest chapter in a winding story that began after he told the Central Intelligence Agency — during a job interview in 2011 — that he had killed a suspected Afghan bomb maker a year earlier, during the battle for the city of Marja in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Province." 
  3. Helene Cooper, Michael Tackett and Taimoor Shah (2018-12-16). "Twist in Green Beret’s Extraordinary Story: Trump’s Intervention After Murder Charges". The New York Times (Washington, DC): p. A1. Archived from the original on 2018-12-17. "With that tweet, Mr. Trump made another extraordinary intervention into the American judicial system. A president who just last week threatened to stop a Justice Department effort to extradite a Chinese tech executive and who spends most days vilifying the special counsel had now stepped into a complicated legal and ethical case that goes to the heart of the fraught politics of the military’s rules of engagement." 
  4. Jennifer Griffin (2018-12-16). "Decorated US military hero charged with murder". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2018-12-17. "While applying for a job at the CIA, former Major Mathew Golsteyn acknowledged that he had killed an alleged Taliban member suspected of planting a bomb that killed two Marines; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Trump 'to review' Mathew Golsteyn Afghan murder case". BBC News. 2018-12-16. Retrieved 2018-12-17. "It is unclear what the president meant when he posted the tweet. However, as Commander in Chief of the US armed forces, any intervention by Mr Trump could count as unlawful command influence, and might mean the case against Maj Golsteyn is thrown out." 
  6. South, Todd (2018-12-18). "Trump said he’ll review the case against an Army Green Beret charged with murder. This is what could happen." (in en-US). 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Scarborough, Rowan. "Mathew Golsteyn faces murder in bomb-maker Rasoul death" (in en-US). 
  8. Dan Lamothe (2015-06-29). "Former Green Beret war hero, investigated in killing, survives Army hearing with his benefits". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-12-17. "The decision comes following a week of testimony in an administrative hearing known as a Board of Inquiry. The Army accused Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn of violating the law of armed conflict, but the three-member panel found the allegation unsubstantiated. The panel did find that Golsteyn demonstrated conduct unbecoming an officer, a lesser allegation, and recommended a general discharge under honorable conditions." 
  9. South, Todd (2018-12-18). "Trump said he’ll review the case against an Army Green Beret charged with murder. This is what could happen." (in en-US). 
  10. Lamothe, Dan (February 4, 2015). "Army revokes Silver Star award for Green Beret officer, citing investigation". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  11. Lamothe, Dan (February 6, 2015). "CIA job interview leads to criminal investigation of Green Beret". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  12. Norman, Greg (2018-12-14). "Former decorated Green Beret, after years of investigations, charged in death of suspected Taliban bomb maker" (in en-US). 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Cooper, Helene; Tackett, Michael; Shah, Taimoor (2018-12-16). "Twist in Green Beret’s Extraordinary Story: Trump’s Intervention After Murder Charges" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  14. South, Todd (2018-12-18). "Trump said he’ll review the case against an Army Green Beret charged with murder. This is what could happen." (in en-US). 
  15. Geoffrey S. Corn; Rachel E. VanLandingham (Dec 21, 2018). "Let military justice system decide if Major Matthew Golsteyn is a victim or murderer" (in en). 
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Abc2018-12-17
  17. 17.0 17.1 David Martin (2018-12-17). "Wife of ex-Green Beret charged with murder would welcome Trump pardon". CBS News. Retrieved 2018-12-27. "In other words, a commander cannot use his rank to tip the scales of justice. Mr. Trump's tweet came from the most senior commander of them all — one who has the power to let Golsteyn off scot-free." 
  18. Molly Olmstead (2018-12-17). "Trump Tweeted About a “Military Hero” Charged With Murder. Here’s What We Know About the Bizarre Case.". Slate magazine. Retrieved 2018-12-28. "It is a bizarre case: a decorated Green Beret confessed to killing an Afghan man, was investigated but not charged with a crime, confessed again three years later in a Fox News interview, was charged with premeditated murder, and now, thanks to the attention of Fox & Friends, the president’s favorite television program, may become the latest cause to be championed by Donald Trump and his conservative supporters." 
  19. Douglas Ernst (2015-02-26). "Army spied on Medal of Honor recipient over Amazon book review". Washington Times. Retrieved 2018-12-17. "The online comment that prompted the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division (CID) to observe Capt. Swenson’s neighborhood was made by Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn in 2011. He was reviewing the book 'The Wrong War,' by former Pentagon official Bing West. Maj. Golsteyn called Capt. Swenson a 'friend.'" 

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