By Jay Holmes
Monday, November 11, was Veterans Day. When opportunity permits, I prefer to spend Veterans Day alone in nature with my thoughts. This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to hike in mountains, but unfortunately, I had unwelcome company on my hike—intruders in my thoughts who are themselves veterans, as well. In fact, they are high ranking U.S. Navy officers. One of them is none other than Vice Admiral Ted “Twig” Branch, who happens to be, or was, the Director of Naval Intelligence.
Twig and four other naval officers are accused of accepting bribes in the forms of cash, prostitutes, and expensive trips in exchange for steering U.S. Navy contracts for port services to a company named Glen Defense Marine Asia (“GDMA”). The accusation of taking bribes in exchange for directing millions of dollars of taxpayer money to a favored overcharging contractor would be serious enough, but it gets much worse.
If the allegations are true, then U.S. Navy fleet deployments may have actually have had their operational plans modified so that more U.S. Navy ships would visit GDMA facilities at particular locations in the Asian Pacific area. Yes, that’s right, folks. For example, strategic realities might have indicated that on a particular day, a particular aircraft carrier and her escorting cruiser and destroyers would have been ideally located off the coast of Japan, but might have instead been in a port in Singapore or Malaysia. Why let national security get in the way of free prostitutes?
Along with the five senior naval officers that are under arrest and/or investigation so far, two foreigners were arrested. The apparent mastermind of the scheme is one Leonard Francis, a.k.a. Fat Leonard, a.k.a. Lion King, a Malaysian businessman and port service kingpin in the South Pacific region. Leonard and one of his senior sidekicks were lured to the U.S. so that they could be apprehended for trial in a U.S. Court in San Diego on charges of bribery and fraud.
As more details of the case emerge with each additional arrest, the story is beginning to sound like an implausible spy novel. After all, how could the Vice Admiral in charge of Naval Intelligence be so stupid as to allow himself to get roped into such a cheap and flimsy scheme? No action novelist would dare turn in such a pathetic plot to a publisher. No publisher would expect to be able to sell such a flimsy plot to readers. Even the youth market would demand a more plausible and intelligent plot, but apparently, certain naval officers don’t. To be fair, neither Admiral Branch nor any of the other naval officers under investigation have yet been convicted of anything. That means that, although I feel personally betrayed, I’ll have to hold off on volunteering to shoot them for recklessly endangering our nation while stealing millions of taxpayer dollars.
One of the accused naval officers is none other than Naval Criminal Investigative Services Agent John B. Beliveau II, a.k.a. Agent Jackass. Not only is Agent Jackass accused of having sex with prostitutes provided by Fat Leonard in locations provided by Leonard, but he was also sloppy enough to email Leonard afterwards to express his approval of the services rendered. In exchange, Agent Jackass provided Leonard with classified files concerning Navy investigations of GDMA.
How in the world does a trained and previously highly successful NCIS agent agree to voluntarily travel overseas to have sex in what any normal spook (or even a geeky NCIS Agent) would have to assume was a honey trap? What did this fool think would happen if he decided to stop helping his pal, Fat Leonard? Most adult humans like sex. That means that it’s always easy enough to obtain sex without risking your life, your nation’s security, and your self-respect in exchange for a few orgasms with a stranger.
I can’t help but remember what a scandal it caused when Clinton-era Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders suggested that American children should receive education in masturbation in order to help combat the AIDS epidemic. At the time, I was not particularly scandalized. I just assumed it would be a waste of money. I was certain that every schoolboy in America could easily already score an A+ in the most rigorous honors level masturbation course without having to finance any further training.
I might have to rethink my previous assumptions. Perhaps all U.S. Naval officers will now be required to undergo masturbation training before we can entrust them with our fleets and our secrets. Should candidates for admiral rank have to pass a masturbation test before Congress approves their promotion? I hope not. There already seems to be too much of that going on in D.C. as it is. In fact, this entire scandal is starting to sound like an episode of “Saturday Night in D.C.” Although I don’t like it one damned bit, I have come to expect this sort of behavior from our aristocrats in D.C., but I expect better from the U.S. Navy.
This Veterans Day, nearly a million and a half young Americans are on duty around the world. Every one of them has sworn to defend us with their lives. Every one of them deserves better leadership than what seems to have happened in this particularly disgusting case of corruption. Thus far, it appears that the Navy and the U.S. Attorney’s office are vigorously pursuing a thorough investigation of this absurd treachery, which is as it should be. Every American deserves that this outrageous criminal activity be dealt with sternly, effectively, and transparently.