- As a certified Me Tooer Sen. Ernst is it simply a matter of always believing the accuser?
- Should not SOME corroboration be required?
We hope Senator Joni Ernst reads this piece in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal By Heidi Brown a retired U.S. Army major general, who served as director of global operations for U.S. Strategic Command. Senator Ernst chose, before (or in spite of) the evidence was all laid out to join the usual Democrat senators, Gillibrand, Warren, et al, who are quite anxious to use anything to undermine a President Trump nomination. Gen. Browns comments are forceful to say the least (see our bold emphasis to her comments).
“Hyten’s nomination was opposed by several of the women on the panel, including one Republican, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa . . .
a former reserve officer and survivor of a sexual assault while in college. Others voting no were two Democratic presidential contenders, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who has made military sexual misconduct one of her top issues in the Senate, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as well as Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran who lost her legs when her helicopter was shot down.
“He got the backing, however, of other key woman on the panel, including Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who issued a lengthy statement in his defense during the hearing. McSally is a former fighter pilot who has publicly described her own sexual assault that occurred while she was in the military.
“The vote was 20-7, and Hyten’s nomination now goes to the full Senate for consideration, likely in September.”
(Recall an earlier post in this space when “Senator Joni” described her own sexual harassment ‘ordeals’…According to Ernst, in an interview with TIME, she endured “comments, passes, things like that”…that she was “able to say ‘stop!’ and ‘it simply stopped’. So anxious, it seems, is Ms. Ernst to get on the Democratic-inspired “MeToo” bandwagon that she is not willing to thoughtfully consider whether charges of sexual harassment are valid or not.) DLH
By Heidi Brown
Air Force Gen. John Hyten is commander of U.S. Strategic Command and President Trump’s nominee to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Last week the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 20-7 to send his nomination to the floor—but not before it was clouded by allegations of sexual misconduct from a female subordinate.
Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser’s accusations are graphic and nauseating. But they are discredited by evidence. I have reviewed the written record of the case, including a redacted report from the Army Inspector General Office, and spoken with people involved. I served at Stratcom headquarters in Omaha, Neb., with both Gen. Hyten and Col. Spletstoser, including at the time of one of the claimed assaults. While she confided in me over various issues, she never brought up an assault by Gen. Hyten.
In late 2017, Col. Spletstoser was accused of what the Army calls “toxic leadership”—intimidating, abusive and threatening behavior toward subordinates. In January 2018, Gen. Hyten approved an Army 15-6 investigation, which corroborated the charges. Col. Spletstoser was relieved of her position on Feb. 26, 2018.
Later that day, Omaha police were summoned to her home address. Their report states that “after a disturbance at the office,” Col. Spletstoser threatened that Gen. Hyten “[had] 24 hours to rectify the situation, or [she] was going to kill [herself]” (bracketed text in original). Officers took her to a clinic.
Beginning in June 2018, Col. Spletstoser launched a dizzying avalanche of charges against her superiors, including Gen. Hyten, his chief of staff, and officers who investigated her. Gen. Hyten told the Armed Services Committee that she made 34 different accusations against the Strategic Command hierarchy: 24 against the chief of staff, six against Gen. Hyten, two against his deputy commander, and two against the officer who investigated her. Charges ranged from conduct unbecoming an officer to misuse of a government cellphone. None of these accusations involved sexual misconduct. None were substantiated by the Army’s Inspector General Office, and the Pentagon’s Inspector General Office validated that conclusion.
Later, the Army Inspector General Office reported—with the accuser’s name redacted—that it “noted several inconsistencies between [Col. Spletstoser’s] recollection of events and other evidence and testimony. . . . The preponderance of the credible evidence and witness testimony contradicted [Col. Spletstoser’s] information.” By March 2019 Gen. Hyten, his staff and the Army investigator had been cleared of all charges.
Only in April, days after Gen. Hyten’s nomination to the Joint Chiefs, did Col. Spletstoser accuse him of sexual assault. Yet it was not the first time she had leveled such charges against a superior officer.
In 2009, after a commander gave her a modest rating on an Officer Evaluation Report, Col. Spletstoser appealed it and accused the commander of sexually harassing her throughout her tour of duty in Iraq. The Army Board for the Correction of Military Records wrote that “applicant’s scorched earth attack on the OER, much of which is patently specious, undermines her overall credibility. Tellingly, applicant has proffered not a single statement from a third party supporting her version of events.”
Similarly, after the allegations against Gen. Hyten, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations interviewed 53 witnesses in three countries and found insufficient evidence to justify Col. Spletstoser’s nine specific claims of sexual misconduct. What they did find was a host of verifiable contradictions of her account.
She claimed that damning evidence of Gen. Hyten’s misconduct would be proved by email correspondence. Investigators reviewed 195,000 unique emails preserved by Stratcom servers, and turned up nothing.
She claimed Gen. Hyten called her frequently after her dismissal. A review of phone records Col. Spletstoser provided found no calls between the two after her firing.
She said she did not want to travel with Gen. Hyten due to his unwanted sexual advances. But multiple witnesses claimed she became livid after Gen. Hyten told her she was prohibited from traveling with his detail until her toxic-leadership investigation was resolved. Her screams from his office were loud enough to alarm Gen. Hyten’s personal security detail, who rushed to the office.
As a critical link in America’s nuclear chain of command, Gen. Hyten is one of the most closely guarded officers in the country. He must be responsive within minutes to the president. His every movement is supervised, and when he stays in hotels, guards closely observe the door to his room. Col. Spletstoser claimed that one instance of abuse happened after Gen. Hyten asked her to remain in his room following a staff meeting. But his security chief told investigators he had no recollection of such a request and would have recalled “if she stayed in the room for any large amount of time.”
Sen. Martha McSally—who has said a superior officer raped her when she served in the Air Force—defended Gen. Hyten after she spent weeks reviewing his case. She was repaid with scorn and mockery on social media and in the press. Ms. McSally has my admiration for courageously standing up for the truth.
Col. Spletstoser maintains that her claims are true and that some have been corroborated. She has now demanded an opportunity to testify before the Senate. But Congress has wasted enough time on this petty theater. There must be consequences for dragging an innocent man and his family through hell. A thorough investigation found no evidence to corroborate her charges, multiple discrepancies and outright contradictions in her accusations, and a pattern of leveling specious charges throughout her career. For the good of the country, for the good of actual sexual assault survivors, and for the good of due process and other values we hold dear, the Senate should confirm Gen. Hyten as vice chairman.
For the same reasons, the Army should investigate Col. Spletstoser for perjury under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.