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Official Says Navy SEALs Testing Positive For Drugs And Other Infractions Are ‘Isolated Incidents’
The Navy Department's second-highest civilian leader says a recent string of alleged misconduct in the naval special warfare ranks is not indicative of a wider cultural problem in the elite community.
Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly told reporters Thursday that while service leaders are concerned about recent high-profile allegations of wrongdoing in the Navy SEAL community, there's nothing that "is indicative of a cultural problem."
"We're a huge enterprise and so, as a huge enterprise, we have problems just like every other huge enterprise," he said at a Defense Writers' Group event in Washington. "So when these types of problems arise, we have very, very good processes to go through a legal adjudication of them, and I think we do that very well."
Over the last six months, 10 SEALs were booted from the service after testing positive for drugs, two senior leaders were relieved following allegations of sexual misconduct, and reports broke that an operator is in the brig while under investigation after allegedly executing an Iraqi detainee.
"These obviously are high-profile because they do come from our most elite warfighting areas, but my sense is that we don't have a cultural problem there," Modly said. "Obviously, we're concerned about it -- it doesn't reflect well on the service. But these are fairly isolated incidents."
SEALs make up a small fraction of the Navy, with just 2,700 serving on active duty as of 2015, along with about 800 special-warfare combatant craft crewmen, who deliver them to and extract them from their missions, according to Defense Department data.
While Modly said he doesn't have any data to support the idea that SEALs aren't committing more misconduct than special operators in other services, his impression is that the Navy's elite aren't faring any worse than Army, Air Force or Marine Corps commandos.
"This also could be a result of 17 years of being at war in stressful conditions," he said, a sentiment several members of Congress shared last year during a special-operations policy forum.
"How many missions can you send them on?" Rep. Adam Smith, D- Washington, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, asked then. "How many times can they do this? I think that's what we don't know."
Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer issued an administrative message to all sailors and Marines this week reminding them to "never look the other way or abuse the power given to you, to act with integrity, and to endeavor to do the right thing always."
"I expect every Navy and Marine Corps team member to act with integrity and play the ethical midfield at all times," he wrote. "Remember, each and every one of us is accountable for our actions and decisions each and every day."
This article originally appeared on Military.com
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Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.