Monday, April 17, 2017

Fat Leonard and Military Corruption

Fat Leonard and the Decline of Military Values by Andrew J. Bacevich
Excerpt: Fat Leonard himself specialized in plying officers of the Seventh Fleet with cigars, liquor, pricey wristwatches, concert tickets, vacations, and other gifts—not to mention five-star dinners and suites in luxury hotels, often with prostitutes as an added bonus. In return, these officers threw business to GDMA, which then overbilled the U.S. government to the tune of several tens of millions of dollars. Scores of serving naval officers became Fat Leonard’s de facto agents in this sleazy enterprise. According to an investigative report in the Washington Post, “Francis doled out sex and money to a shocking number of people in uniform who fed him classified material about U.S. warship and submarine movements. …. He exploited the intelligence for illicit profit, brazenly ordering his moles to redirect aircraft carriers to ports he controlled in Southeast Asia so he could more easily bilk the Navy for fuel, tugboats, barges, food, water and sewage removal.” As of last year, 30 U.S. Navy admirals on active duty were under investigation for their suspected involvement in this conspiracy. That investigation, which dates from 2010, continues. Earlier this week, authorities arrested Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, a recently retired Navy intelligence officer, along with four retired Navy captains and a retired Marine colonel. Previously three other admirals had been censured and forced to retire. Another has pled guilty to related charges, as have several officers of lesser rank. Almost certainly, there will be further indictments forthcoming. (Yes, guys acting stupidly and posting intimate photos of women that were supposed to be private is very low class, and they deserve to be called out for it and strongly reminded that grown men of even reasonable mental maturity don't act this way. (And let's be fair, the women handing these images out need to rethink the wisdom of such actions, and either give it up or be ready for whatever happens.) But it ain't exactly a world ending mess. Flag officers selling out information and giving away overpriced contracts because of nice little benefits ranging from bottles of expensive Scotch to free time with lovely ladies, now that IS serious, very, very serious. Everyone who can be proven (let's hold back on the overly broad witch hunt, please) to have participated in this needs to be publicly humiliated and seriously penalized. From reduction in rank to prison time, whatever their actual actions were bad enough to justify. They must be seen to be dishonored, disgraced, and betrayers of their trust as servants of the nation. The concept of honor needs to be reinforced, heavily, not as some oldfashioned mythical notion, but as an absolutely real and critical part of military service. (And perhaps even for public service, although for most politicians today the concept of honor hardly exists at all.) --Del)

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