OCTOBER 12, 2004
Review Of Washington Post And Newsweek Articles
Exhausts Efforts Of The Naval IG Office
Navy Secretary Refuses To Conduct Independent Inquiry
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 12, 2004 – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, stated today that it received a response from the Naval Inspector General (IG) to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) open records request for Navy IG records documenting the investigation of the awards and conduct of Lieutenant (jg) John Forbes Kerry, USNR. The request was prompted by a Sept. 17, 2004, letter from Vice Admiral Ronald Route, the Naval IG, to Judicial Watch. Admiral Route declined to investigate the circumstances of Kerry’s awards and conduct because it would not have been “productive.”
The records produced under FOIA reveal that the Naval IG’s “investigation” of the circumstances surrounding Kerry’s awards and conduct as a U.S. Navy officer consisted strictly of a review of existing files and archived regulations. While Navy Public Affairs officers originally told the press that there was no investigation being conducted concerning Judicial Watch’s request, the Naval IG’s records prove the Navy Public Affairs’ statements were misleading.
The substance of what would have been a legitimate investigation – interviews of eyewitnesses, reviews of travel records, transcripts, FBI files and other relevant material – were not pursued by Naval IG investigators. Instead, Admiral Routeand his investigators exhausted their investigative efforts reviewing a Washington Post article from Aug. 22, 2004, and a Newsweek report from theAug. 30, 2004, edition. The unnamed investigator(s) also relied on Kerry’s presidential campaign Internet site to conduct the investigation.
In separate correspondence dated Oct. 5, 2004, from Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, Judicial Watch learned that Secretary England has embraced Admiral Route’s “investigation” and has declined to take any independent investigative or administrative action with respect to Kerry’s awards or conduct.
“It’s clear that both the uniformed and civilian leadership of the U.S. Navy view the Kerry matter as a political ‘hot potato.’ The leadership of the Navy has failed to ensure its awards process was not corrupted. This is shameful,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.