- The return of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to the Navy has prompted a 30-day review of how the service handles personnel misconduct, The Washington Post reported Friday.
- Greitens is a former Navy SEAL who resigned from office as governor amid allegations that he coerced a woman to have extramarital relations with him with “revenge porn,” as well as engaged in campaign finance violations.
- The charges against him were ultimately dropped, but Greiten’s past has led the Navy to rethink how it handles people like this.
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Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a prominent Navy SEAL veteran who resigned from office amid a sex scandal and criminal investigation, has returned to the Navy. Now, the service is trying to figure out what to do with him and others like him, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The former Navy SEAL turned governor was brought down by allegations that he coerced a woman, whom he admitted having an extramarital affair with, to have sex with him by threatening to release nude photos of her and a criminal investigation into campaign finance violations.
He made a request earlier this year to return to active-duty status, which was denied. The Navy decided he will return as a general unrestricted line officer at his current rank, lieutenant commander. That means office work at a support center in St. Louis.
Rear Adm. Brendan McLane argued against Greiten’s return to active duty status in an email sent in January.
“The sexual nature of the charges are not in line with our Navy Core Values, and the campaign finance violations not only do not inspire trust and confidence in his integrity, but also represent a real risk from a security clearance perspective,” the admiral wrote, according to The Post.
Navy SEALs with whom he had previously served were reportedly opposed to bringing him back.
Greitens – who wrote a best-selling self-help book entitled “Resilience” and made his service the center of his political identity – has called the attacks on his character a “political witch hunt.”
All of the charges against Greitens, which included two felony invasion of privacy and tampering charges linked to a problematic campaign finance operation, were ultimately dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct, but the Navy is still troubled by his past and alleged misconduct. The service, which is reeling from a number of sexual assault scandals, is also trying to determine how issues like this should be addressed in the future.
Outgoing Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, according to The Post, has launched a 30-day review of the matter.
“Recent events involving the transition of Mr. Greitens” have, he wrote to other admirals recently, “excited a persistent frustration of mine that I want to address more comprehensively.” He stressed that the way the Navy currently handles these types of issues is “too cumbersome and slow.”
He said the Navy often ends up stuck with people who “we’d rather see dismissed from our ranks,” The Post reported, having seen the email, which Richardson acknowledged sending. He said that the failure to address these matters properly weakens ” the ethical fibre of our Navy,” putting a proud service “in a situation that is hard to explain to ourselves, and even more difficult to explain to the American people.”
This issue has reportedly been “simmering” for quite some time, and the service chief, who is retiring soon, decided it is time to address the way personnel misconduct is handled.
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