Investigation finds no evidence backing up sexual assault claims against nominee for vice chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff

news

An Air Force investigation into sexual assault allegations against Air Force Gen. John Hyten "was unable to find indications of an unprofessional relationship either electronically or through witness interviews," according to a redacted copy of the investigation, which was released on Friday.

The full Senate is expected to vote on Hyten's nomination to become the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September. He has denied the allegations against him.


Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, who was Hyten's subordinate at U.S. Strategic Command, has accused Hyten of making unwanted sexual contact with her several times. While working for Hyten, Spletstoser was relieved of command amid a separate Army investigation that found she was a toxic leader.

Spletstoser told agents with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations that Hyten "was determined to crush her" when the Army investigation into her leadership style found the two had an inappropriate relationship. She claimed that hundreds of emails between her and Hyten as well as text messages on government mobile phones would prove her claims against Hyten.

But investigators did not find text messages between the two on Hyten's iPhone and the emails that investigators reviewed were all work-related.

Moreover, none of the witnesses interviewed by OSI said they saw Hyten and Spletstoser alone together when they traveled. One member of Hyten's personal security detachment told investigators it would have been difficult for someone to get into Hyten's hotel room without being noticed.

Investigators did not find anyone who said Hyten acted unprofessionally toward Spletstoser, but several witnesses described Spletstoser as hostile and explosive. One officer, whose name was redacted from the investigation, said Spletstoser, "Had a pattern of attacking the people she blamed for her demise and when unsuccessful in achieving her desired results, VICTIM [Spletstoser] moved onto the next target."

Indeed, one witness recalled Spletstoser threatening Hyten in front of his staff for being left off an email by saying, "I can destroy you publicly, or you could include me, and I can help fix your mess privately."

Hyten told investigators that after Spletstoser was fired, she threatened to hurt him or herself. He said she later apologized and claimed she was suffering from post traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury.

Fox News obtained an Omaha Police Department report that said Spletstoser told Hyten shortly after she was fired that she threatened to kill herself unless he helped her within 24 hours.

Spletstoser told Fox News on July 30 that the police report had been taken out of context. "You're missing half that Omaha police report," she said. "I never made a threat in person or verbally."

Senators expressed strong support for Hyten at his confirmation hearing last month. In particular, Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), a rape survivor, said she believed Hyten was innocent of the allegations against him.

In a statement on Friday, U.S. Strategic Command said Hyten had been vindicated by the OSI investigation.

"Gen Hyten stands by his testimony and the results of the investigation which found the claims to be unsubstantiated," a STRATCOM spokesman said. "We consider this matter closed."

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

Read More Show Less

No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less