SEAL Team 6 member accused of soliciting nude photos of women while pretending to be someone else through text messages
Aaron Howard, a Navy SEAL Team 6 member who was named Sailor of the Year in 2016 has been charged with impersonating other people via text to get nude pictures of women. Howard faces a general court-martial at Naval Station Norfolk.
A member of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6 has reportedly been charged with impersonating someone over text messages so that he could get nude photographs of a woman, according to reports. The officer, identified as Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Howard, was also named SEAL's Sailor of the Year in 2016.
Howard now faces a general court-martial at Naval Station Norfolk. However, his civilian defense attorney is now seeking to have the case dismissed entirely during the next hearing, reports state.
The incident, along with multiple others, has brought the naval special warfare community under scrutiny once again. A platoon of San Diego-based SEALs, on Wednesday, was reportedly sent home early from Iraq because of "a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods." It was reported earlier this week that members of Virginia Beach-based SEAL Team 1- routinely used cocaine in 2018 and cheated on their drug tests, according to Military.com.
Defense attorney Michael Waddington said that Howard's case came to light with a broader investigation into spoofing at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. Spoofing is a practice of disguising a communication to make it appear its from a trusted source.
Waddington said that someone was using a program to send text messages from fake phone numbers to SEALs and other military members in the Virginia Beach-based command, also known as DEVGRU. "If you want to embarrass DEVGRU and create a lot of dissension in the ranks, it would be so easy to text different people," he said. "This goes beyond this asking for photographs."
Howard, through this program, pretended to be multiple people and requested pictures of naked women, according to charge sheets. However, his attorney said that Navy investigators didn't find any nude pictures on Howard's cellphone and that he had passed two polygraph tests.
The defense lawyer also said that the case should also be dismissed because according to him the Navy made up charges that aren's specified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, such as "impersonating a person" and "requesting nude photographs under false pretenses." All these specifications Howard is charged with are under General Article 134, which covers "all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces."