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Investigation finds no evidence backing up sexual assault claims against nominee for vice chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff
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."
Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.
When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.
Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.
"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."
That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.