Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Navy Intel Chief Took Lavish Gifts From 'Fat Leonard,' But Cleared Of Consorting With Prostitutes

Craig Whitlock offers a piece in Stars and Stripes on the outcome of the Navy intel chief who was implicated in the Navy’s ‘Fat Leonard’ bribery and fraud scandal.  

After a four-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the Navy's former intelligence chief accepted extravagant meals, cigars and other illicit gifts from a corrupt defense contractor known as "Fat Leonard," but were unable to verify allegations that he also partied with prostitutes, new documents show.

The documents reveal that retired Vice Adm. Ted "Twig" Branch (seen in the above photo), a fighter pilot and aircraft carrier commander who became the steward of the Navy's secrets, enjoyed a decade-long friendship with Leonard Glenn Francis (seen in the below photo), a Singapore-based maritime tycoon who has pleaded guilty to bribing scores of military officers and defrauding the Navy of $35 million.

The nature of their relationship had been a long-running mystery. In November 2013, the Navy announced on a Friday night that it had suspended Branch's access to classified material because he was under criminal investigation by the Justice Department for his ties to Francis. The contractor's firm held lucrative deals to provide supplies, fuel and port services to Navy vessels in Asia.

For years, Navy and Justice officials remained silent about the investigation, though in private Navy leaders expressed frustration that federal prosecutors were taking so long to review the case. In an unusual twist, the Navy allowed Branch to keep serving as its intelligence boss for more than 1,000 days even though he was barred from reading, seeing or hearing military secrets. Branch retired from the military in October 2016, but the investigation into his conduct continued.

Last September, on another Friday night, the Navy announced in a brief statement that the Justice Department had referred the case to the Pentagon after finally deciding not to bring charges against the three-star admiral. Cryptically, Navy officials said they had taken "appropriate action" against Branch for unspecified wrongdoing, but would not provide details and declared the case closed.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the Fat Leonard scandal via the below link:

No comments:

Post a Comment