Friday, May 27, 2016

Deep State

The portions of our government which consider themselves to be above oversight by Congress - and the individuals who worry not about getting in trouble for it - are growing.
At the Senate hearing, in an effort to defend the status quo, Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told the Senate about 93 sexual assault cases — all involving service members — in which civilian prosecutors “refused” to prosecute and commanders “insisted” on prosecuting the cases. For many of my colleagues, including former senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee at that time, it was a compelling argument, which they repeated on the floor of the Senate while successfully filibustering our reform. It was also verifiably false.

Last month, an independent investigation by the nonprofit group Protect Our Defenders, which was further investigated and substantiated by the Associated Press, found that two-thirds of the cases the Defense Department cited in the Senate hearing differed markedly from what was claimed. In a majority of cases, there was no sexual assault allegation to begin with, the military had failed to prosecute for sexual assault or civilian prosecutors did not decline to prosecute. After the news broke about the false testimony, the Defense Department told the AP that the information in the testimony came directly from military lawyers who had dealt with these cases.