Golsteyn was awaiting trial this year in the alleged murder of a suspected Taliban bombmaker in Marja, Afghanistan, in February 2010. The service opened an investigation into Golsteyn after he disclosed the killing during a 2011 polygraph as the CIA was considering him for a job. Army officials revoked the tab and valor award in 2014 while issuing the reprimand and charged Golsteyn with murder in 2018.
Golsteyn has acknowledged the killing in media interviews but said it occurred in a lawful ambush. He burned the body afterward to prevent disease, he said.
The general’s denial of Golsteyn’s reinstatement request follows Trump’s decision in November to pardon Golsteyn along with former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, an Army officer who had been convicted of murder in Afghanistan. Trump also decided to reinstate the rank of a Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder last year but convicted of posing for a photo with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq.
Golsteyn, reached for comment Thursday evening, said he had not heard about the decision until it was first reported by The Washington Post. A few minutes later, he and his lawyer, Phil Stackhouse, said they received notification from the Army in an emailed letter that had just arrived.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised,” Golsteyn said. “I was really hoping they would do the right thing.”
Beaudette’s decision has some parallels to the Navy’s decision in November to convene a board to decide whether to revoke Gallagher’s Naval Special Warfare Trident pin, a move that effectively would remove him from the elite force. Trump responded angrily, blocking the move, a decision that led to the ouster of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.
Beaudette, in a Dec. 3 memorandum, wrote that he decided to deny Golsteyn’s request because his actions “demonstrated a lack of adherence to the Special Forces Creed, and our American and Army values.”
The general added that Army Special Operations Command “explicitly adhered to the Presidential Pardon.” He did not respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.
The memorandum was included in a notification Golsteyn received Thursday evening from Casey Wardynski, a civilian Army official overseeing manpower issues. He wrote that he had forwarded Golsteyn’s requests to the administrative board, called the Army Board for Correction of Military Records.
The board of correction comprises senior civilian employees in the Army who are appointed by the Army secretary. About 120 people serve as members of the board, with three-member panels considering individual cases.
Senior Pentagon officials have handled the Golsteyn issue carefully, in light of Trump’s intervention in the Gallagher case. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, when asked about it last month, said that he would not comment.
Golsteyn has expressed gratitude for Trump’s intervention. In December, he and Lorance appeared with the president at a closed-door Republican fundraiser in Miami.