US investigators have identified all four men in the video that shows US Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Charges against them could be brought within hours, CBS News reported.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), the law enforcement arm of the Navy, is heading the main inquiry into the video, which appeared online on Tuesday night, the Daily Telegraph reported. Two of the Marines have already been interviewed.
The Marine Corps is also conducting its own internal investigation, the Daily Telegraph reported.
At the time that they were filmed, the four Marines were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which fought for seven months in Helmand, a southern Afghan province.
According to CBS News, the Marines were showing the video around as a war trophy. The commander of the battalion as well as two of the four Marines in the video have moved on to other assignments, the Daily Telegraph reported.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta denounced the footage as "utterly deplorable" yesterday.
CBC reported that Pentagon officials are concerned that the video will "tarnish the reputation of the entire military, while others fear it could undermine prospects for exploratory Afghan peace talks."
However, both the Obama administration and the Taliban have voiced readiness to try peace talks.
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