FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2016
PROTECT OUR DEFENDERS RELEASES LETTER RESPONDING TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ON PENTAGON’S EFFORTS TO MISLEAD CONGRESS ON ITS HANDLING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES
Colonel Christensen, Former Air Force Chief Prosecutor and President of Protect Our Defenders Requests Meeting with Secretary Carter
Washington, D.C. – Today, Protect Our Defenders (POD) released a letter to Secretary Carter challenging the Pentagon’s failure to directly address its false testimony to Congress and calls on the Secretary to meet with the former Chief Prosecutor of the US Air Force, Col. Don Christensen. Rather than respond to the specific allegations regarding the Pentagon misleading Congress, a recent letter from the Secretary, written on behalf of the President, and a Pentagon white paper attempt to discount the evidence that the Pentagon’s testimony was false, by challenging Col. Christensen’s knowledge of “how the military justice system works” and “how prosecutions are conducted under UCMJ.”
“To avoid addressing the fact that they deceived Congress, the bureaucracy in the Pentagon turned to distraction and spin,” said Col. Don Christensen (ret.), President of Protect Our Defenders. “The brass in the Pentagon have their own agenda and are not being straight with the Secretary and the President. I hope this moment causes Sec. Carter to actually address why and how the Pentagon provided such grossly inaccurate and misleading testimony to Congress in an effort to stop military justice reform. It’s time for the President, before he leaves office, to do the right thing and support a professional, impartial justice system for our troops.”
A recent Associated Press investigation and POD report exposed the Pentagon intentionally misled Congress to stop reform by falsely claiming evidence that military commanders are tougher on crime than prosecutors. In response, Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Grassley (R-IA) called on President Obama to open an independent investigation, and a bi-partisan group of Senators asked for a meeting with the Secretary.
Rather than undertake an independent investigation, the President has allowed the Defense Secretary review the actions of his own department. In response to the Senators, Sec. Carter’s letter written on behalf of President Obama, and the accompanying Pentagon white paper continued to mislead Congress, failed to directly address the specific evidence presented in the POD report and AP investigation, referenced documents they refuse to turn over and questioned Col. Christensen’s knowledge of military justice.
To date more than 145,000 people have with joined with rape survivor, Samantha Jackson in calling on the President to investigate the Pentagon for misleading Congress and the public about the military’s handling of sexual assault cases; calls on the President to support impartial justice system for our troops.
Air Force Times: War of words heats up between Pentagon, sexual assault victim advocacy group
VIDEO: The Pentagon’s Misleading Claims on Military Justice
Protect Our Defenders Response to the Pentagon’s Continued Attempts to Mislead Congress
[VIDEO] Senators Address Sexual Assault in Military
Washington Post: The Pentagon deliberately misled Congress on sex assault cases. Do lawmakers care?
ABC News: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Slams Obama Over Inaction on Military Sexual Assault
VICE News: US Lawmakers Suspect the Pentagon of Lying to Them About Military Sexual Assault Cases
Associated Press: Pentagon misled lawmakers on military sexual assault cases
Debunked: Fact-Checking the Pentagon’s Claims Regarding Military Justice
New York Magazine: AP Report Says the Pentagon Misled Congress on Sexual-Assault Cases Within the Military
About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders (POD) is a human rights organization. We are the only national organization solely dedicated to addressing the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military and to combating a culture of pervasive sexual harassment and retribution against victims. We honor, support and give voice to survivors of military sexual assault – including both service members and civilians assaulted by members of the military. We seek reform to ensure all survivors have access to a fair, impartially administered system of justice. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at www.protectourdefenders.com or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ProtectOurDefenders or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ProtectRDfnders.