One of the more sordid moments in recent congressional history came during last December's lame-duck session. Democratic majorities on both sides of Capitol Hill rammed through a controversial repeal of the 1993 statute (wrongly described as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell") which prohibited avowed homosexuals from serving in the armed forces.
The Senate and House leadership did so with scarcely any hearings and extremely limited opportunity for debate. This action amounted to a raw abuse of power, a last gasp by an Obama administration able and determined to appease gay activists - a key political constituency - before the setbacks of November's elections made doing so vastly more difficult.
We now know, however, that it was a gambit made possible by deliberate efforts by senior executive branch officials to mislead the Congress into taking a step that the administration's own surveys had established would be deeply injurious to the U.S. military. Thanks to the release of a previously undisclosed Defense Department Inspector General investigation report, recently analyzed by the invaluable Center for Military Readiness (CMR), legislators now have the proverbial "smoking gun" revealing politically motivated misconduct at the highest levels of government.
Evidently, this misconduct was deemed necessary because, even with control of both the House and Senate infriendly hands, President Obama required Republican votes in the upper chamber to secure passage of his repeal initiative. In order to garner the support of swing GOP senators, they would have to be given political cover on a key question: How would the military respond to such a dramatic change in its traditions, culture and code of conduct?
The IG report makes clear that a skewed response was manufactured and leaked to friendly journalists by top Pentagon and White House officials. Specifically, an executive summary of a Defense Department survey was written by the department's General Counsel, Jeh Johnson, before the survey was even begun on July 7, 2010. It prompted one reviewer - a "former news anchor" whom Johnson allowed to see his draft over the July 4th weekend - to tell the IG he was "struck by how many members of the United States Armed Services thought this was just fine."
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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