Senators seek review of Air Force chief's role in academy probe
The Senate Armed Services Committee has called on Pentagon investigators to review Air Force Secretary James Roche's handling of recent sexual misconduct allegations at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
In a Thursday letter to Pentagon Inspector General Joseph Schmitz, Armed Services Chairman John Warner, R-Va., ranking member Carl Levin, D-Mich., and several committee members called for a review of Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper in relation to the scandal.
The probe would add to the list of problems plaguing Roche's nomination to fill the Army's top civilian leadership slot.
The letter, obtained by CongressDaily, references a Wednesday hearing in which former Rep. Tillie Fowler, R-Fla., and other members of a panel formed to review sexual misconduct allegations at the academy detailed their findings and recommendations to the committee.
The panel recommended that the inspector general review the accountability of both academy and Air Force headquarters leadership for their handling of sexual assault problems at the school over the last decade, according to the letter.
But in Fowler's opening statement, she called for Pentagon investigators to probe "previous leaders," leaving open the issue of whether the review should include current Air Force leaders.
"A number of members, during the questioning period of the hearing, stated that your review should not be limited to previous Air Force leadership," the letter stated. "Therefore, we request that you conduct your review in response to the recommendation of Congresswoman Fowler's panel, you include an assessment of the accountability of current, as well as previous, Air Force leadership."
In addition, Fowler's panel questioned omissions in a report by the Air Force's general counsel, and found that the group attempted to shield Air Force headquarters from public criticism by focusing exclusively on events at the academy, the letter indicates.
"We request that you investigate this allegation, as well as the reasons for the omissions in the Air Force general counsel's report, identified by the Fowler panel," the letter stated.
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