Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A previously undisclosed report by the inspector general of the Department of Defense concludes that the fix – maybe even handed down by the White House – was in before the military ever started asking soldiers and sailors about how opening the ranks to homosexuals would affect the nation’s defense.
It was that report that famously was quoted as affirming “70 percent” of the nation’s military members believe the repeal of the long-standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” practice of allowing homosexuals to serve as long as they kept their sexual lifestyle choices to themselves would have either “a neutral or positive impact on unit cohesion, readiness, effectiveness and morale.”
However, the inspector general documents how the co-chair of the commission working on the assessment, Jeh Johnson, “read portions of ‘an early draft’ of the executive summary … to a former news anchor, a close personal friend visiting Mr. Johnson’s home” three days before service members even were given the survey.
A source provided the IG report, which aimed to determine who prematurely released information about the study, to Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness. Donnelly analyzed the documentation and warned that it suggests Congress was deceived, probably deliberately, by those with a pro-repeal agenda.
Congress then voted during its lame-duck session last winter for the repeal.
Donnelly told WND that Obama has promised to “certify” the results – that there would be no significant complications from repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy – as early as this week. And then the law is scheduled to change 60 days later.
“Contrary to most news accounts, the ‘Comprehensive Review Working Group’ process was not a ‘study,’” she told WND. “Its purpose was to circumvent and neutralize military opposition to repeal of the law.”
She agreed that military personnel who participated in the process in good faith “will feel betrayed and justifiably angry” by the results.
Their time was misused for political purposes,” she said.
“The … report, completed on April 8, 2011, reveals improper activities and deception that misled members of Congress in order ‘to gain momentum in support of a legislative change during the ‘lame duck’ session of Congress following the November 2, 2010, elections,’” she wrote.
Donnelly explained that days before the survey was distributed, Johnson “was seeking advice from a ‘former news anchor’ on how to write the report’s executive summary more ‘persuasively.’”
Further, “The DoD IG report concluded that someone who ‘had a strongly emotional attachment to the issue’ and ‘likely a pro-repeal agenda’ violated security rules and leaked selected, half-true information to the Washington Post,” she explained.
That was the “70 percent” figure that has been discussed as the percentage of active-duty and reserve troops “not concerned about repeal of the law.”
“The DoD did not correct the unauthorized ‘spin,’ which was widely publicized and cited on the floor during Senate debate. The ultimate result of this travesty was a rushed vote to repeal the law regarding homosexuals in the military.”
However, the actual responses were that military members who believe the change would impact units “very positively” totaled 6.6 percent, “positively” 11.8 percent, “mixed” 32.1 percent, “negatively” 18.7 percent, “very negatively” 10.9 percent and “no effect” 19.9 percent.
The only way the 70 percent figure can be reached is to combine “very positively,” “positively,” “mixed” and “no effect.” But this combination counts people with “neutral positions” as favoring the change, she noted.
Donnelly’s research explained that taking those same figures and putting them on the other side, that is, lumping them with “negatively” and “very negatively,” would produce a total of almost 82 percent of the soldiers who believe the results of the change would be “negative or neutral.”
The IG said exactly that:
We considered that the primary source’s likely pro-repeal sentiment was further demonstrated by his/her inclusion of the key 70 percent figure in the information provided to the Washington Post. … Had [the source] desired to further an anti-repeal bias for the article, he/she could likewise have combined four results categories from that same survey question to conclude that “82 percent of respondents said the effect of repealing the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy would be negative, mixed or no effect.”
“The DoD IG analysis is consistent with what the Center for Military Readiness, the Family Research Council, and other analysts not involved in the project were saying at the time,” Donnelly’s report said.
The IG report said 96 of the 101 people with access to the report before it was released were interviewed and all denied under oath releasing information to the newspaper. The only five not interviewed were in the White House.
“The 112th Congress should question White House officials who were not interviewed previously, and do everything possible to repair the damage done to our military,” Donnelly suggested.
“The administration knew that support for the controversial gays-in-the-military cause would be difficult to find in the armed forces, particular in the combat arms, so an unnamed Pentagon or White House official apparently released selected information from the DoD Working Group Review of the issue in order to create an illusion of military support.”
The report revealed that one of the White House officials was James Messina, Obama’s primary liaison to the homosexual activists, who just before the Washington Post story based on skewed results had been criticized “for not doing enough to repeal the 1993 law.”
While the repeal failed earlier, when the Senate voted for repeal following the release of the skewed results, “Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese praised Messina as ‘one of the great unsung heroes’ of the gays-in-the-military campaign,” Donnelly reported.
The actual results, she noted, “found that about 60 percent of Army land combat troops and 67 percent of combat Marines said that repeal would undermine military effectiveness. Significant numbers of military personnel said they would decline re-enlistment if Congress repeated the 1993 law.”
The critical documentation in the IG report was of Johnson’s discussion with the unnamed “former news anchor.”
The meeting took place July 4 weekend last year, and the IG report notes the anchor “told the IG that he was struck by how many members of the United States Armed Services thought that repeal of the 1993 law was ‘just fine,’” Donnelly said. “The comment was peculiar, since the company contracted to do the survey (Westat) did not transmit the instrument electronically to almost 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops until July 7.”
The report said the executive summary was written to “have no negative impact” no matter “what the official survey responses said.”
“Members of the 112th Congress should conduct a further investigation with immediate hearings that call as witnesses the five White House officials … Members also should inform President Obama that they will not accept ‘certification’ of a new LGBT law and associated policies that required deception and dishonesty to pass,” Donnelly said.
“Finally, the general public should consider whether the tactics used were a political payoff related to the 2008 campaign, or the re-election campaign in 2012. President Obama has misused the military to please civilian activists of the LGBT Left,” she said.
The IG report was unable to conclude exactly who released the secret information to the Washington Post at the time, but the result was one of “repressing the voices of combat troops and Marines who strongly opposed the repeal,” Donnelly told WND.
The scientific telephone survey, conducted April 19-21, found that more than 51 percent of Americans, including nearly one in four individuals who identify themselves as “liberal,” said the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” practice should be reinstated or never should have been repealed.
“On the question of whether it was right for the federal government to repeal the compromise known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ that allowed gays to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces as long as they kept their sexual orientation to themselves, 51 percent said either that the rule should be reinstated or that Congress was wrong to repeal it last December in a lame duck session of Congress,” explained Fritz Wenzel, chief of the polling company, in his analysis.
“The vote came after the November elections in which the Democrats lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives and suffered significant losses in the U.S. Senate. Had this measure been delayed until the newly elected Congress could consider it, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would almost certainly have failed, and this survey data shows the public would have supported continuation of that policy,” he said.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a policy ordered by former President Clinton after Congress passed a law banning homosexuality in the military. Under the Clinton policy, if homosexual soldiers didn’t make a public issue of their sexual lifestyle, the military would not make inquiries about it, despite the ban.
The poll question was, “Congress recently repealed the U.S. military’s long-standing prohibition against homosexuals openly serving in the armed forces, a policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Which of the following statements best reflects your thinking about the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
While 43 percent of the respondents said it is time for change, 31.2 percent said it was wrong to adopt the repeal, and another 19.3 percent said it should be reinstated.
The issue was one that Obama had promised to address while he was garnering support from homosexual organizations during the 2008 campaign.
“Much of what was done in that lame duck session last December was seen as a final payoff to liberal interests before liberals lost power in Congress in January, and they clearly supported this measure. Among liberals, 74 percent favored repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Wenzel’s analysis said.
“Among those who have either served in the armed forces or have an immediate family member who is serving or has served, just 38 percent favored repeal of the measure, while 58 percent opposed it or favor its reinstatement,” the analysis said.
“Asked whether American soldiers should be required to bunk and shower with open homosexuals, 27 percent said they should, while 53 percent said they should not. Another 20 percent said they were unsure on the question. There was little difference in sentiment on this question between those with military experience in their immediate family and those with none, as both groups opposed the bunking and showering with open homosexuals by about a two-to-one margin,” Wenzel said.