Two U.S. admirals, including the Navy’s top intelligence officer, were placed on temporary leave and stripped of their access to classified data.
According to reports made public on November 8, Vice Admiral Ted “Twig” Branch, the service’s top intelligence officer, and Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy’s director of intelligence operations, are being investigated for their ties to a defense contractor and its top executive, based in Singapore.
Leonard Glenn Francis, the chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, was arrested in September on charges that he bribed Navy officers into giving him classified or privileged information in exchange for prostitutes and cash.
In addition to the two admirals being investigated, a captain was relieved of his ship’s command last month in connection with the case.
The announcement of this investigation of two Navy admirals is devastating to the Navy, whose reputation took a public beating during the 1991 Tailhook scandal when a group of naval aviators sexually assaulted numerous women at a convention.
So far, neither Branch nor Loveless have been charged with a crime or service violation, and there is not proof they leaked classified information. Both men retain their rank while the investigation proceeds. The decision to suspend their access to classified information was made by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
The suspension of two senior intelligence officials leaves open the question of whether national security data was compromised because of improper contact between the officers and Glenn Defense Marine.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog. She can be reached here.