The Washington Post reports: the Navy has been dogged by a major corruption scandal involving an Asian defense contractor who has pleaded guilty to bribing Navy officers with cash, sex and luxury goods over a decade.
Three admirals were censured last year for accepting dinners and gifts from the contractor, Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based businessman widely known in maritime circles as “Fat Leonard.” At least two other admirals in the case remain under criminal investigation by the Justice Department. Four lower-ranking officers have pleaded guilty to corruption charges in federal court and are facing prison time.
While the corruption case has been slowly unfolding for more than two years, the Navy’s senior officer corps has had to endure other embarrassments in recent months.
In December, the Navy reprimanded a two-star admiral for getting drunk and wandering naked around a Florida beachfront hotel while attending a conference with defense contractors. In January, a one-star admiral was reprimanded and relieved of his command after an investigation found that he had spent hours watching pornography on a Navy computer while at sea.
And in March, under pressure from Congress, the Navy reluctantly denied promotion to the admiral in charge of its elite SEAL teams after the Pentagon’s inspector general determined that he had violated the law by retaliating against whistleblowers.
The Navy traditionally has set high standards for its commanding officers and makes a public announcement when they are cashiered for personal or professional lapses in conduct. Those relieved of command, however, are typically officers holding the rank of captain or commander, with admirals rarely getting into trouble. [Continue reading…]