Sunday, November 10, 2013

This horrible news from Navy Times

Two flag officers have been added to the growing list of Navy officials allegedly connected to a large-scale bribery scheme in Asia.
The Navy announced late Friday that Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, director of Naval Intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, director of Intelligence Operations, are under investigation for “inappropriate conduct” stemming from their relationships with Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. and its CEO Leonard Francis, a larger-than-life character well known in Navy circles and nicknamed “Fat Leonard.”
These are the highest-ranking officials to have been linked in the ongoing investigation. More fallout is expected.
“The allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involve inappropriate conduct prior to their current assignments and flag officer rank,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy’s chief of information, in an emailed statement. “There is no indication, nor do the allegations suggest, that in either case there was any breach of classified information.”


Anonymous said...


The Navy suspended today the access to classified material of Vice Adm. Ted Branch, Director of Naval Intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, Director of Intelligence Operations.

The decision to suspend their classified access was made based upon the nature of allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless in connection with an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation into illegal and improper relations with Leonard Francis, CEO of Glenn Defense Marine.

The suspension was deemed prudent given the sensitive nature of their current duties and to protect and support the integrity of the investigative process.

The allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involve inappropriate conduct prior to their current assignments and flag officer rank. There is no indication, nor do the allegations suggest, that in either case there was any breach of classified information.

It is important to note that allegations are just that, allegations. Neither officer has been charged with any crime or violation. Both men retain their rank and security clearances. They are on temporary leave.

NCIS initiated this investigation in 2010. The Navy appreciates the support we have received from the U.S. Attorney's office and other law enforcement agencies.

We will continue to make public as much information as we can without prejudicing the conduct of this investigation.

Navy Grade 36 Bureaucrat said...

Actually, a portion of the case revolves around them sending classified information (ship movements and port calls) to Fat Leonard so he could arrange to overcharge the Navy. While I hope it's not true, if they are found guilty I would hope the Navy would retire them at a lower rank to make a statement.

Anonymous said...

Court Martial may be required here.

Christopher Nelson said... I hope the allegations are just that -- allegations.

Anonymous said...

Retirement at a lower rank does not equal punishment. They need to go to Court Martial if true.

Anonymous said...

Let's wait till we know what happened before we Court Martial them. They could be guilty of knowingly lining the port agent's pocket for special favors like the other accused, in that case Court Martial is appropriate. But as a Carrier CO and N2, they might just have participated in some sponsored activities (maybe illegal, maybe tawdry, maybe innocent). In the charged atmosphere of this bribery fiasco I can see an overreaction for someone who "illegally" got free tickets to a Lady Gaga concert, or perish the thought, took advantage of the other benefits Fat Leonard was offering. Their actions may or may not warrant a Court Martial and even if they are innocent the damage is done and their reputations are shot. Up to this point both are well-respected and fine officers, I'd prefer to let the investigation run it's course before I condemn them beyond their life altering, career-ending public shaming.

HMS Defiant said...

I'm sick and tired of the allegation that sending ship's schedules to people without clearance is a crime or violation. The schedule is out of the bag whenever a ship goes into a foreign port. Dip clearance is usually submitted 30 days ahead of time to the host government. At that point it ISN'T CLASSIFIED anymore whatever anybody else thinks. The husbanding agent HAS TO KNOW it. That's like classifying the front page of a newspaper and then gigging a man for releasing it without authorization.

I suspect that there is more to this but the way the system is set up we will never know. All it takes is loss of confidence, an allegation and that's it. The results of the investigation and follow-up are 'classified' and not released unless the NAVY is feeling particularly vindictive. ie, when the guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt.

HMS Defiant said...

I'd ask Navygrade just what measuring device he uses to determine that Fattie was overcharging the navy. The only honest measure I know of is whether or not the NAVY paid the bills that it agreed to pay when it negotiated the prices and told Fattie to provide the services detailed in the LOGREQ. Anything after the fact is just so much bullshit. He didn't force or compel the navy to pay him for services rendered now did he? Service agreements and contracts are wholly in the realm of the Logistics types and I haven't seen any of them dragged up before the court of public approbation.

Anonymous said...

Which is why I said Court Martial "if true."

What I don't want to see is them retired at a lower rank and the Navy, or anyone else, consider that to be punishment.

Navy Grade 36 Bureaucrat said...

@HMS, if you read the allegations it is much more than what you're thinking. Basically, it appears Fat Leonard would persuade ships to shift to ports where there wasn't a lot of oversight. There he proceeded to overcharge the Navy for basic services. While I agree you have to arrange for port visits ahead of time, it is not normally released ahead of time. The long range schedule of port visits is classified, especially for submarines, and yet it seems Fat Leonard was able to get access and even influence the process.

The gifts/bribe piece goes the same way. Naval Officers, especially ship captains and flag officers, get gifts all the time. It's sadly customary to freak out about the value of the item. The charges of receiving improper gifts could run the range of someone getting a 51 dollar item (above the yearly limit) to several thousand dollars of free tickets. The fact that free Lady GaGa tickets might have persuaded people to move ships is the issue, not the value of the tickets themselves.

HMS Defiant said...

Navy Grade,
I can see that the schedules got influenced but the ways to do that are myriad and frankly, unknowable. Back in MIDEASTFOR we'd be on sched change 46 before the end of the first week of the quarter. Who knew what drove that process.
WRT overcharging, that's the Navy's problem since they agreed to pay the going rate and if there was fraud in that area then it needs to be addressed in the same breath.

Blue Force locations and Position Location Systems are now a matter of opinion and the various service rules are in conflict. As everyone here knows full well, American warships showing up anywhere are never a surprise to anybody.