OMG, NOTHING HAS BEEN PROVEN YET, BUT STILL, THIS MEANS HE HAS NO CREDIBILITY!!!!
Franks Is Subject of Internal Probe
DOD Inspector General Looks at Claims Commander May Have Broken Rules
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 4, 2003; Page A02
Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who is slated to command U.S. forces if there is a war with Iraq, is being investigated by the Pentagon's inspector general for possible abuse of his office, and investigators tentatively have concluded that the Central Command chief likely violated some restrictions involving his wife, defense sources said yesterday.
The Pentagon review of Franks, which began last summer but has not been disclosed until now, is expected to conclude within several weeks with some recommendation for disciplinary action, one source said. It is not clear whether there will be any fallout from the investigation, but it is unlikely to result in Franks's removal, especially with the prospect of war with Iraq just a few weeks away. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a statement last night expressing his continued support of Franks.
In a separate statement last night, Franks said, "I am aware of the investigation and am cooperating with it." He declined to respond to other questions provided to his office Friday, saying, "It would not be appropriate to comment on the investigation until it is complete."
Franks, who is chief of U.S. Central Command, which has its headquarters in Tampa, was questioned by government investigators after being accused by at least one subordinate of committing several violations involving his wife, Cathy.
Specifically, one person familiar with the allegations said, it has been alleged that Franks allowed his wife to sit in on briefings involving highly classified material at which attendees are permitted only on a "need to know basis." This person also said that, in violation of military regulations, a female soldier allegedly was assigned to assist Franks's wife on an almost full-time basis and performed personal errands for her, such as filling prescriptions. Finally, this person said, Franks has been accused of assigning a military bodyguard to protect his wife, a perk to which she is not entitled.
Another person familiar with the case said that investigators also were probing whether the government was properly reimbursed for all of Mrs. Franks's travel aboard military aircraft.
A related issue in the matter, one of the sources said, is an allegation that two senior members of the Central Command staff were made aware of the situation by subordinates but declined to act on the complaints. In cases of this sort, investigators sometimes inquire into whether a commander fostered an unhealthy "command climate" in which people feared bringing problems to him, but there is no indication that such an ancillary probe is underway in the Franks case.
The inspector general appears likely to reject as unfounded most of the allegations but to conclude that some -- including those related to briefings and travel by Mrs. Franks aboard government aircraft -- may require some sort of official disciplinary action, a source said.
The official who would decide what action to take on the inspector general's findings is Rumsfeld, who last night issued a statement emphatically supporting Franks as a "distinguished military leader" and "a man of the highest integrity."
"Investigations such as this are not unusual and properly are required whenever the Office of the Inspector General is made aware of an allegation," Rumsfeld said. "Without commenting on the merits of the investigation, which is not yet before me, I want to emphasize that General Franks has my full trust, respect and confidence."
Army Lt. Col. Gary Keck, a spokesman for the office of the Pentagon inspector general, confirmed the existence of "an ongoing investigation" of Franks, but declined to provide any details.
Franks, 57, was selected to become Central Command chief in 2000 and came to public prominence a year later as U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan. A native of Texas, he enlisted in the military in 1967, was selected after boot camp to attend officer candidate school and then served in Vietnam. In a subsequent Pentagon tour in the mid-1970s, he served in the investigations division of the Army Inspector General's office. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he was an assistant division commander in the 1st Cavalry Division.
Franks is a somewhat controversial figure within the military He is respected for his combat record and decorations within the Army, where his supporters consider him a skilled tactician, but criticized by some Navy and Air Force officers who have worked for him as thin-skinned and unresponsive.
Perhaps more important, Franks is said to have developed a good working relationship with President Bush, whom he has briefed frequently on Afghanistan and Iraq, and with whom he found common ground in their Texas roots.
Investigations of generals occur frequently in today's military, where even anonymous complaints to hotlines can result in lengthy inquiries. At the Army's course for newly promoted generals, students are warned that they are likely to endure formal investigations at least once or twice during their time as senior officers, and more often if a disgruntled subordinate chooses to harass them with complaints that under government rules must be checked out.
© 2003 The Washington Post Company