Fox’s Hegseth Continues Pressure Campaign Urging Trump To Pardon War Criminals

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05: Host Pete Hegseth as Nick Lachey Visits "Fox & Friends" to discuss the "American Kennel Club" show at Fox News Channel Studios on February 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Ro... NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05: Host Pete Hegseth as Nick Lachey Visits "Fox & Friends" to discuss the "American Kennel Club" show at Fox News Channel Studios on February 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Fox News’ Pete Hegseth, who has reportedly lobbied President Trump to pardon men accused of war crimes, ramped up his pressure campaign in a new op-ed on FoxNews.com.

Hegseth said the U.S. needs to reevaluate what it considers to be “war crimes” and admitted he thought about “taking justice into our own hands” while unhanding Iraqi men when he served overseas.

“I was tasked with releasing Iraqi men who we knew had American blood on their hands,” he wrote. “The lawyers told us we had to. Did we think about taking justice into our own hands? Sure we did. The only thing that keeps me up at night is wondering whether those jihadists went on to kill Americans.”

Hegseth did not explicitly say he privately asked the President about issuing pardons for Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher — who is accused of murdering an Islamic State prisoner — Green Beret Matt Golstyen, or 1st Lieutenant Clint Lorrence, but he listed them as examples of accused war criminals who he believes should be pardoned.

“Since my tours, I’ve thought a great deal about rules of engagement, ‘war crimes,’ and the way we fight wars,” he wrote. “I’ve lived it and talked about it. My experience is that—if we want to win this long war—we need to back our warfighters, to include rewriting our rules.

“Our boys did their job, it’s time for us to have their backs,” he said.

Hegseth has not been quiet about his interest in the pardons of military personnel accused of war crimes and has even publicly advocated for the pardons on Fox News. The Daily Beast reported earlier this week that his public advocacy turned private in recent months as he engaged in private talks with Trump about the men’s pardons.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: