American Samizdat

Saturday, August 04, 2007. *
Investigators concluded that the officers should not have participated in the filming in 2005 of a 10-minute video for Christian Embassy, a nonprofit religious group, which ultimately used the video as a fundraising tool. While Christian Embassy has hosted prayer meetings at the Pentagon for years, the inspector general concluded that the officers' endorsement of its activities -- while in uniform, showing their rank and in the halls of the Pentagon -- violated ethical rules.

"The overall circumstances of the interviews emphasized the speakers' military status and affiliation and implied they were acting within the scope of their official positions as DoD spokespersons," the report concluded.
Air Force Maj. Gens. Peter U. Sutton and Jack J. Catton Jr., and Army Brig. Gens. Vincent K. Brooks and Robert L. Caslen Jr. were singled out for failing to seek appropriate approval to participate in the video and for violating ethical rules by appearing in uniform while praising the religious group. Retired Army Col. Ralph G. Benson, a former Pentagon chaplain, was also criticized for allowing Christian Embassy unescorted access to the building to film the video and for misrepresenting the purpose of the effort as a promotion of the Pentagon chaplain's office.

The other two officers were not named.

The report, published last week, cleared Army Secretary Pete Geren and another civilian of wrongdoing for participating in the same Christian Embassy video, finding that they appeared in a way that obscured their government jobs and had no link to the Pentagon itself. Geren spoke of how important Christian Embassy had been to his life, calling it "a rock" that helped him in his "walk with Christ."
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:25 AM
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