Huh??? Who needs to read fiction? What’s that old saying, “Life imitates Art.”
The Guardian 5.13.2019
Military prosecutors in the case of a US navy Seal charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 installed tracking software in emails sent to defense lawyers and a reporter in an apparent attempt to discover who was leaking information to the media, according to lawyers who said they received the corrupted messages.
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff but for a case like this it’s complete insanity,” said attorney Timothy Parlatore. “I was absolutely stunned, especially given the fact that it’s so clear the government has been the one doing the leaking.”
Parlatore represents Edward Gallagher (pictured below), the special operations chief who has pleaded not guilty to a murder count in the death of an injured teenage militant he allegedly stabbed to death in Iraq in 2017. Gallagher’s platoon commander, Lt Jacob Portier, is fighting charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse.
“In this case, discovery of the requested items is important to ensuring the prosecution in this case did not take any part in arranging or permitting an intrusion into Lt Portier’s attorney-client relationship.”
The prosecutor, Christopher Czaplak, declined to comment. Navy spokesman Brian O’Rourke did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
The emails were sent last Wednesday to 13 lawyers and paralegals and to Carl Prine, a reporter for the Navy Times newspaper. Prine has reported extensively on the case and has broken several stories based on documents provided by sources.
While documents are subject to a court order not to be shared, none has been classified, Prine said.
The tracking software was discovered almost immediately by defense lawyers who noticed an unusual logo of an American flag with a bald eagle perched on the scales of justice beneath the signature of Czaplak. It was not an official government logo.
Parlatore said suspicious tracking software was embedded in the logo. He contacted Czaplak to make sure his email had not been hacked.
“I can’t imagine you’d be trying to track defense attorneys’ emails,” Parlatore said he told Czaplak. “I want to make sure your system hasn’t been compromised.”
The defense lawyers want to know if the software recorded where and when they opened an email message and who they may have forwarded it to – or if it installed malware on their computers and possibly gave prosecutors access to other files.
Gary Solis, who teaches law at Georgetown and as a US marine corps lawyer prosecuted 400 cases and was a judge on more than 300 others, said he had never heard of hidden cyber tracking software sent to defense lawyers by prosecutors.
“Not only is it ethically questionable, it may be legally questionable,” Solis said. “When it’s apparently so easily discoverable when done in an ineffectively haphazard manner it’s more than ethically questionable, it’s questionable on an intellectual level.”