The Nation reporter Ken Klippenstein trolled Donald Trump's former Acting Director of the United States National Intelligence Richard Grenell into giving a shout out to war criminal Bill Calley on Veterans Day.
"Sir, my grandpa really admires you - here he is as an Army Lieutenant many years ago. Could you shout him out, it would really make his day!" Klippenstein tweeted Grenell.
Not long after, Grenell thanked Calley for his service before taking the tweet down and attacking Klippenstein for the prank.
"It's a shame people would do this on a day like today. DC is a sick city," he tweeted to the journalist.
Calley was charged with six specifications of premeditated murder due to his role in the death of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in March 1968 during the Vietnam War, per History.com. The lieutenant led his men to slaughter unarmed South Vietnamese civilians — including women and children — in Sơn Tịnh District, South Vietnam.
The former soldier was found guilty of the murder of 22 civilians and sentenced to life in prison. However, the Court of Military Appeals reduced his sentence to 20 years, and the Secretary of the Army subsequently cut it to 10 years. Eventually, Calley was paroled by former President Richard Nixon in 1974 after serving approximately one-third of his 10-year sentence.
The Veterans Day prank was divisive and ignited varying reactions on social media. While some believed it was tasteless, others noted that Grenell, as a former White House official, should have easily seen through the trick.
"The man who for a brief moment was in charge of our intelligence agencies was easily duped into sending a Veterans Day thanks to a convicted war criminal," tweeted NPR Morning Edition editor Steve Mullis.
"Contemptible behavior, in a normal society this stunt would render you unemployable," wrote Human Events editor-in-chief Will Chamberlain.
Grenell became the first openly gay Director of National Intelligence and cabinet member in United States history. He is also known for his own trolling. According to The Atlantic, Grenell made a name for himself by "hectoring journalists on Twitter," "lobbing personal insults at perceived adversaries," and "preaching zealously" to Fox News viewers.
Before his position as the DNI, Grenell was the U.S. ambassador to Germany. As The Inquisitr reported, the political adviser stirred the pot after he criticized Germany for not spending enough money on their military budget in NATO. In response, Wolfgang Kubicki, the deputy chairman of the opposition Free Democrats (FDP), argued that Grenell be stripped of his diplomatic immunity and protection.