Worry spreads among officers in growing Navy bribery scandal
By David B. Larter
Glenn Francis "fat leonard" Leonard
The rebuke of announcement that three flag officers Tuesday for their alleged were rebuked by the secretary of the Navy of their dealings with a disgraced contracting firm was chilling news for wasn't a surprise, but it is chilling newsto dozens of officers who operated in the Pacific and had interactions with the dealings with the firm's charismatic former head.
Leonard Francis, known in Navy circles as "Fat Leonard," in January pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to defraud the United States. As the head of husbanding firm Glenn Defense Marine Asia, Francis is accused of leading at least a decade-long scheme to over-bill the Navy for ships pulling into ports across the Pacific, and used gifts, prostitutes, parties and golf to deepen ties to senior officers in the region and ship commanding officers who were passing through. developed ties to senior officers in the ship commanding of
Rear Adms. Mike Miller, Terry Kraft and David Pimpo were censured by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus Tuesday for allegedly accepting gifts from GDMA during the carrier Ronald Reagan's 2006 deployment.
Prosecutors have indicated that Francis is cooperating with investigators, and that has admirals squirming, according to two sources with knowledge of the Navy's internal deliberations.
"With Leonard cooperating, for senior admirals — and there are a whole [bunch] of them who went through 7th Fleet and had dealings with GDMA — they are sweating like hostages to see what Fat Leonard will say about them," said one retired Navy captain who had direct dealings with Francis. The retired CO, like other former and serving officers, asked for anonymity while the Navy and Justice Department investigations continue. as a ship CO
On Tuesday, the Navy announced that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus was issuing letters of censure to Rear admirals Mike Miller, Terry Kraft and David Pimpo. All three officers were attached to the carrier Reagan on its 2006 deployment.
The concern amongfor those current and former officers is that even routine dealings with Francis are being scrutinized for ethics violations, to include any gift from Francis or GDMA worth valued above $20. Francis purchased fancy dinners for all three admirals, two of whom endorsed his firm, the Navy's top spokeswoman told The Washington Post. not that they did anything illegal, but that they did things that could be interpreted as inappropriate by the public or Navy leadership – specifically the secretary
But some may have solicited gifts or provided classified information about ship movements to Francis in return for special favors.
Former ship COs who dealt with Francis, many of whom are now admirals, are under direct suspicion, one retired flag officer attested. agreed that
"Anyone who took a big deck through 7th Fleet over the past 10 years has got to be nervous about now," he said, adding that it was now clear that Francis was targeting the carrier strike group commander (Miller), the carrier skipper (Kraft), and the supply officer (Pimpo).
The retired admiral said he sees the ethical lapses stemming from one particular as because of the mindset, The incident shows proves that unethical behavior is infectious because subordinates see higher-ups acting unethically and think that "Hey, it's how we've always done things out here." the flag officer said.
For another former commanding officer, the censure letters reinforce a growing trust deficit between more junior officers and senior Navy leaders.
"Something is wrong here," the active-duty O-6 said. "When [senior officers walk] around and say that there isn't a trust deficit between junior officers and senior leadership, it's things like this that call b-------[BS] on that."
Kraft, Miller and Pimpo bring the number of admirals implicated in the Fat Leonard affair to five, outed for suspected of ties to Leonard to five; but Navy Times' sister publication Defense News reported Feb. 8 that nearly three dozen admirals are under federal investigation for ties to GDMA.
The first two names to be released publicly were Vice Adm. Ted Branch, director of Naval Intelligence, and his deputy, Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless. Both have had their security clearances suspended for 16 months.
Branch is under suspicion for receiving a gift from dealings with Leonard during his time as CO of the carrier Nimitz in 2005.
The three rebuked officers from the 2006 deployment of Reagan suggests prosecutors may be working their way back through the carriers that deployed to 7th Fleet over the past decade searching for more dubious relationships.
About David B. Larter
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.