The Navy has taken away the Silver Star from its former deputy assistant secretary in the Clinton administration who is serving time for child pornography, officials confirmed Thursday.
The Navy stripped Wade R. Sanders of the military's third-highest honor in 2010, according to an Aug. 9, 2010, memorandum to the chief of naval personnel from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus obtained by The Associated Press.
The Navy did not publicly disclose at the time that it had taken the medal from Sanders. The Associated Press first learned of the action from a person with knowledge of the situation who asked to remain anonymous.
Sanders received the Silver Star in 1992 for his courage in battling the Viet Cong in 1969. However, in his memorandum, Mabus cited new facts and evidence surrounding the incident for which the award was made and the processing of the award itself as the reasons it was taken away.
Navy spokeswoman Lt. Alana Garas said the decision was made after information came to light in late 2009 and early 2010.
"If those facts would have been known to the Navy secretary in 1992, they would have prevented the award of the Silver Star," she said.
She declined to give details.
It was not clear whether the decorated Vietnam veteran's criminal record played a role in the decision.
Sanders, a San Diego attorney, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and was sentenced in 2009 to three years in federal prison.
Court records state there were more than 600 images of child pornography on his computers.
Sanders was deputy assistant secretary of the Navy under President Bill Clinton. He was senior adviser for veterans and military affairs to U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., when he served as the state's lieutenant governor in 2008.
AP National Writer Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.