But Golsteyn's lawyer Phillip Stackhouse called the actions of the army a "joke" and accused the service leaders of acting against the will of the president, who assured that Golsteyn's record would be completely erased. Golsteyn was denied December 3 by Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the Army disclosed Thursday.
Beaudette's decision to deny the restoration of what's known as Golsteyn's Special Forces tab came after a "thorough review", according to a statement from an Army spokesperson that did not elaborate on the commander's rationale.
Retired Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn received clemency from Trump in November as he faced trial for the murder of an Afghan man while deployed in Marja, Afghanistan, in 2010.
The retired Army commander has publicly acknowledged killing the alleged Taliban bomb maker in media interviews, but has said it happened during a legal ambush. He burned the body afterward to prevent disease, he said. The Army charged him with murder in 2018.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette denied Golsteyn's request last month to have his Special Forces tab reinstated.
Major Golsteyn was not investigated by the Army until he revealed the murder during a 2011 polygraph test with the Central Intelligence Agency, which was considering him for a job. The Army followed by asking an administrative board that reviews personnel decision to consider several decisions involving Golsteyn, the officials said.
The Particular Forces tab is awarded upon commencement of the Military's grueling Particular Forces Qualification Course.
The administrative board of corrections also will consider to expunge a letter of reprimand issued to Golsteyn by a general. Trump also chose to reinstate the rank of a Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder a year ago but convicted of posing for a photo with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq.
"[Golsteyn] was told he had a full and unconditional pardon", Stackhouse said. Trump's role in Gallagher's case, restoring Gallagher's Trident pin, resulted in a showdown between the White House and the Pentagon which ultimately led to the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.
Golsteyn was one of three high profile military justice cases that Trump intervened in, eliciting criticism by some that the President was undermining the military justice system.