Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s trial was delayed Wednesday to allow an investigation into the prosecution’s use of malware to spy on several parties associated with the defense.
Malware was discovered weeks earlier embedded in a logo just above lead prosecutor Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak’s signature on several emails that went to military and civilian defense attorneys for both Gallagher and his supervisor, Lt. Jacob Portier, as well as Navy Times editor Carl Prine.
Czaplak’s office admitted to placing the malware, arguing that it was intended to discover who had leaked information about the case to Prine, who had broken several stories containing information that the court had ordered not to be released to the media.
Upon further investigation into the malware, however, an Air Force information security team determined that it was actually a “splunk tool” designed to give the sender access not just to communications, which likely would have been enough to uncover any potential leaks, but to the recipient’s entire computer and all files on that computer.
Parlatore also noted that the leaked information, which primarily benefited the prosecution’s narrative, was probably not leaked by anyone associated with the defense anyway. (RELATED: Trump Might Be Preparing Memorial Day Pardons For Military Members: Report)
“The leakers are investigating the non-leakers and, funny, they found nothing,” he commented when it was revealed that the malware had not uncovered any leaks.
Defense attorney Tim Parlatore said that initially the defense team believed that the judge had been involved in the plan, but now they are less certain.
“What we believed is that the judge authorized prosecutors to spy on the defense team,” Parlatore said. “Now looking at things, it appears that prosecutors may have lied to the judge and that he didn’t authorize it and he didn’t know what they were really doing.”
Parlatore argued in the hearing that the prosecution acted without proper warrants or authorization, and asked who was given access to the data collected. Judge Aaron Rugh ordered the prosecution to hand over a list of “anybody that put their hands on this.”