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Matt Gaetz’s legislative aide is a convicted war criminal who murdered an Afghan civilian and dumped his body in a latrine

Matt GaetzRepublican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on January 3, 2023.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

  • A legislative aide who works for GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is a convicted war criminal, The Intercept reported.
  • The aide, Derrick Miller, spent eight years in prison after murdering an Afghan civilian, the report said.
  • Gaetz’s office defended its decision to hire Miller, saying he was “wrongfully convicted.”

A legislative aide who advises Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz on military issues is a convicted war criminal, according to The Intercept.

The report said that the aide, Derrick Miller, previously served in the US Army and spent eight years in prison after he was convicted at court-martial of murdering an Afghan civilian, Atta Mohammed, during a 2010 interrogation.

A spokesperson for Gaetz defended the decision to hire Miller, saying the former sergeant was wrongly convicted and now advises Gaetz’s office on issues including laws governing the military justice system.

According to The Intercept, Miller shot Mohammed in September 2010. Spc. Charles Miller, a National Guard member and an eyewitness to the incident, testified that he heard Miller threatening to kill Mohammed if he didn’t tell the truth. Miller then sat atop Mohammed, who was 27 years old, and shot him in the head, according to Charles Millers’ testimony.

“Immediately following the event the accused said, ‘I shot him. He was a liar,'” Maj. Matt Calarco, the prosecuting lawyer, said during Miller’s trial in 2011.

Afterward, Mohammed’s body was left in a latrine, in violation of military standards.

Miller’s lawyer argued that he had acted in self-defense and that Mohammed had tried to take Miller’s weapon during the interrogation.

“We proudly stand with our Military Legislative Assistant Derrick Miller,” Joel Valdez, a spokesperson for Gaetz, said in a statement to The Intercept. “He was wrongfully convicted and served our country with honor.”

He added: “Over the course of nearly a decade, members of Congress, multiple advocacy groups, and over 16,000 individuals on a petition have all signaled their support for clearing his name and recognizing him as innocent of charges imposed by a weaponized military injustice system under President Obama. Mr. Miller advises our office on many matters, including ways to make the military justice system consistent with our constitutional principles and values.”

Insider reached out to Miller for comment without reply Thursday.

Gaetz, meanwhile, is one of the most vocal anti-interventionist Republicans in Congress and has advocated for scaling back US support for Ukraine, breaking with most colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee. He’s a close ally of former President Donald Trump, who pardoned war criminals and has said some of them have been “treated very unfairly.”

In 2020, Gaetz surprised fellow Republicans when he voted in favor of a war powers resolution to limit Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran without congressional approval.

The Florida congressman also repeatedly criticized the war in Afghanistan before President Joe Biden withdrew US troops in 2021. After the withdrawal, Gaetz said he supported Biden’s decision but criticized the “strategy and tactics” surrounding the pullout as “horrific and incompetent.” More recently, Gaetz pushed for resolutions to pull US troops from Syria and Somalia.  

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