Saturday, June 23, 2018

Accusations against generals cast shadow over Army

WASHINGTON — The accusations leveled against three Army generals over the past six months are as varied as they are striking, the highest-profile of a growing number of allegations of wrongdoing by senior military officials.

A one-star general was flown home from Afghanistan last spring to face criminal charges, including sexual assault. A four-star general formerly in charge of the increasingly vital Africa command was accused of financial mismanagement, accepting inappropriate gifts and assigning staff personal tasks.

And a three-star general who oversees the U.S. Missile Defense Agency was described in an inspector general report as an abrasive and verbally abusive boss.

The investigations have become an embarrassment for the Army, raising questions about how thoroughly the military has screened senior leaders before putting them in crucial assignments.

The Defense Department's inspector general reviewed 38 cases of alleged wrongdoing by senior officials in 2011, and substantiated the accusations in nearly 40 percent of them, up from 21 percent in 2007. The total caseload this year is on track to exceed last year's.

"It's always concerning when senior leaders have issues, because we have very specific faith in senior leaders," Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, said in a recent interview. Odierno said all such cases are taken seriously, but argued that "we can't allow a few to detract from the honorable service of many."

The investigation into Gen. William "Kip" Ward, the former chief of Africa Command, is being closely watched at the Pentagon, where rank-and-file officers wonder aloud whether senior leaders will be reticent to punish one of their own.

A June 26 report, compiled after investigators pored through a trove of emails and expense reports, portrays a general using taxpayer funds to support a high-rolling lifestyle. The inspector general concluded that Ward used government funds to pay for personal travel expenses; assigned staff to run errands for him and his wife; and accepted meals and Broadway tickets from a defense contractor, in violation of Pentagon rules. The inspector general's report says he wasted and misused tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

Ward rejected several of the accusations of wrongdoing in a written response to the inspector general's findings, arguing, for instance, that many of the expenses in question were legitimate. He declined a request for comment.

The inspector general's conclusions on Ward were released two months before the agency issued a report documenting allegations that Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly created a toxic atmosphere at the Missile Defense Agency by berating staff members. Quoting a witness, the inspector general's report described his style as "management by blowtorch and pliers."

The report says that the general maintains that he "never insulted or verbally abused anyone."

O'Reilly remains in charge of the agency, although the Senate is set to vote on a nominee to be his successor. He also did not respond to a request for comment.

The case that came to light most recently involved the criminal investigation against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, who was removed from his job as the deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in May and flown home from Afghanistan. Although the military has released few details about the investigation, officials at Fort Bragg, N.C., where the 82nd is based, released a summary of the criminal charges filed against him last month. They include forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, engaging in inappropriate relationships, misusing a government charge card and possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed.

Sinclair will appear before the military equivalent of a grand jury Nov. 5 to establish whether there is sufficient evidence for a court-martial.

Comments
Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

The Lightning is on the board in the 2018 NHL draft, using their first pick — 59th overall in the second round — on Gabriel Fortier, an undersize left wing from Quebec."I spoke with them a couple of times, so I knew there was an interest,...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

After hanging on for a 2-1 last night over the MLB-best Yankees, the Rays are looking to make it two in a row today.And their lineup will have a different look, with INF Joey Wendle making his first career appearance,  majors or minors, in the o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 12:35 p.m. EDT

AP Top News at 12:35 p.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘Notorious RBG’ wanted to be a singer. Now, a CD celebrates her life.

‘Notorious RBG’ wanted to be a singer. Now, a CD celebrates her life.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said, in interviews, that she would have loved to have been an opera singer.She has certainly become a fixture at many opera houses around the country: She is often spotted in the audience; she sometimes presides...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Chicharito's 50th gives Mexico a 2-0 lead

The Latest: Chicharito's 50th gives Mexico a 2-0 lead

Mexico has scored in the 66th minute after Hirving Lozano sprinted forward and found Javier Hernandez who skipped past defenders and hit the ball low past goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo to make it 2-0.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hamilton secures record-extending 75th pole at French GP

Hamilton secures record-extending 75th pole at French GP

Lewis Hamilton secured a record-extending 75th pole position at Formula One's French Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledges in a tweet that she was booted from a Virginia restaurant Friday night because she works for President Donald Trump
Updated: 1 hour ago

Argentina: cocaine seized in World Cup trophy replicas

The security minister of Buenos Aires province said Friday that police have broken up an organization that trafficked marijuana and cocaine in fake World Cup trophies.
Updated: 1 hour ago