BOHICA For Him, But Not For Them

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BOHICA For Him, But Not For Them

by baldilocks

The lit­tle guys have to fol­low the rules; the Big Guys and Girls, not so much.

The Army is boot­ing out a 13-​year pub­lic affairs sergeant for includ­ing in an unclas­si­fied gov­ern­ment email the same infor­ma­tion about a spe­cial oper­a­tions unit and Osama bin Laden found on Army​.mil web pages.

The irony in the nar­ra­tive of Staff Sgt. Ricardo Branch is that his motive was to keep clas­si­fied mate­r­ial away from pub­lic view.

His dis­clo­sure in a pri­vate Army email is also the same infor­ma­tion as told by his com­man­der in chief, Barack Obama, in May 2011 when the pres­i­dent vis­ited Fort Camp­bell, Ken­tucky, to per­son­ally thank the 160th Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment (SOAR), or “Night Stalk­ers,” for its crit­i­cal role in killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

And, the trans­gres­sion of Sgt. Branch, 34, is, on its face, far less seri­ous than that of for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton, who faced no pun­ish­ment for keep­ing clas­si­fied data on her per­sonal unse­cured server.

(Empha­sis mine; com­mas added.)

Free Bea­con:

[cap­tion id=“attachment_96365” align=“alignright” width=“150”] The sergeant needs a jar of this.[/caption]

The inci­dent occurred in Feb­ru­ary 2014, when Branch, then a pub­lic affairs offi­cer for the 160th Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment (SOAR), reviewed a pro­posed arti­cle by Boe­ing for the company’s inter­nal news service[.]

The arti­cle dis­cussed SOAR per­son­nel vis­it­ing a Boe­ing unit in Mesa, Ari­zona, and revealed the regiment’s role in trans­port­ing Navy SEAL Team 6 to Pak­istan for the 2011 raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Branch report­edly rec­og­nized that the Pen­ta­gon had never offi­cially acknowl­edged SOAR’s role in the bin Laden oper­a­tion and emailed his supe­rior say­ing Boe­ing should delete the sentence.

Branch also wrote the sen­tence in an offi­cial .mil email.

Because Branch for­warded the sen­tence, which con­tained sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion, in an unclas­si­fied email, an inves­ti­ga­tion was launched and he was ordered home.

A supe­rior offi­cer had seen the email and noti­fied Army intel­li­gence. About two months later, Branch agreed to a non­ju­di­cial pun­ish­ment known as an Arti­cle 15 hear­ing, dur­ing which he received an oral rep­ri­mand and thought the mat­ter was done.

The Army trans­ferred Branch to South Korea. But then the ser­vice in 2015, pres­sured by bud­get cuts, sought to reduce per­son­nel and iden­ti­fied blem­ished sol­diers through the Quan­ti­ta­tive Man­age­ment Pro­gram. Branch was iden­ti­fied as a blem­ished sol­dier because his Arti­cle 15 resulted in a one-​time poor per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion, and the inves­ti­ga­tion was relaunched.

Branch received high marks on all prior and sub­se­quent per­for­mance reviews, accord­ing to the [Washington]Times.

This sort of trav­esty fur­thers my sus­pi­cions that a vast Coconut Treat­ment — a hol­low­ing out of all seem­ingly reli­able insti­tu­tions — is near­ing its con­clu­sion. By the way, if the Army forces Sgt. Branch out, he will prob­a­bly receive a dis­charge that is other than hon­or­able. This will make it very dif­fi­cult for him to find employ­ment and he won’t be able to receive any VA ben­e­fits which would have, oth­er­wise, been his due.

I’m hop­ing that there’s some­thing more to this story, but I’ll bet that there isn’t. And if I were this guy, I’d do what he’s doing — mak­ing it pub­lic — and then get out anyway.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

by baldilocks

The little guys have to follow the rules; the Big Guys and Girls, not so much.

The Army is booting out a 13-year public affairs sergeant for including in an unclassified government email the same information about a special operations unit and Osama bin Laden found on Army.mil web pages.

The irony in the narrative of Staff Sgt. Ricardo Branch is that his motive was to keep classified material away from public view.

His disclosure in a private Army email is also the same information as told by his commander in chief, Barack Obama, in May 2011 when the president visited Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to personally thank the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), or “Night Stalkers,” for its critical role in killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

And, the transgression of Sgt. Branch, 34, is, on its face, far less serious than that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who faced no punishment for keeping classified data on her personal unsecured server.

(Emphasis mine; commas added.)

Free Beacon:

The sergeant needs a jar of this.

The incident occurred in February 2014, when Branch, then a public affairs officer for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), reviewed a proposed article by Boeing for the company’s internal news service[.]

The article discussed SOAR personnel visiting a Boeing unit in Mesa, Arizona, and revealed the regiment’s role in transporting Navy SEAL Team 6 to Pakistan for the 2011 raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Branch reportedly recognized that the Pentagon had never officially acknowledged SOAR’s role in the bin Laden operation and emailed his superior saying Boeing should delete the sentence.

Branch also wrote the sentence in an official .mil email.

Because Branch forwarded the sentence, which contained sensitive information, in an unclassified email, an investigation was launched and he was ordered home.

A superior officer had seen the email and notified Army intelligence. About two months later, Branch agreed to a nonjudicial punishment known as an Article 15 hearing, during which he received an oral reprimand and thought the matter was done.

The Army transferred Branch to South Korea. But then the service in 2015, pressured by budget cuts, sought to reduce personnel and identified blemished soldiers through the Quantitative Management Program. Branch was identified as a blemished soldier because his Article 15 resulted in a one-time poor performance evaluation, and the investigation was relaunched.

Branch received high marks on all prior and subsequent performance reviews, according to the [Washington]Times.

This sort of travesty furthers my suspicions that a vast Coconut Treatment—a hollowing out of all seemingly reliable institutions—is nearing its conclusion. By the way, if the Army forces Sgt. Branch out, he will probably receive a discharge that is other than honorable. This will make it very difficult for him to find employment and he won’t be able to receive any VA benefits which would have, otherwise, been his due.

I’m hoping that there’s something more to this story, but I’ll bet that there isn’t. And if I were this guy, I’d do what he’s doing—making it public—and then get out anyway.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!