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Friday, August 1, 2008

The DOD is trying to protect rapists and cover their own incompetence. As usual.

Yesterday, the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, held a hearing on sexual assault in the military. During the hearing, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) explained that “women serving in the military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than be killed by enemy fire in Iraq.”

As part of their investigation, the subcommittee invited and then subpoenaed Dr. Kaye Whitley, the director of the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, to testify. But Deputy Defense Undersecretary Michael Dominguez ordered her not to appear before the committee, claiming that the responsibility “rests with me.”

Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) responded by asking, “What is it you’re trying to hide.” Waxman then took him to task, even threatening to hold him in contempt:

WAXMAN: We subpoenaed her. You’ve denied her the opportunity to come and testify and put in a situation where we have to contemplate holding her in contempt. I don’t even know if we could hold you in contempt, because you haven’t been issued a subpoena. […]

According to the Defense Department website, Whitley’s office is the “the single point of accountability for the Department of Defense sexual assault policy.” Subcommittee Chairman Tierney explained, “Whitley has testified in Congress before, in fact, before this very subcommittee two years ago, also on sexual assault in the military.”

Dominguez said no claim of executive privileged was invoked, the department simply chose to ignore the subpoena.

Think Progress » Defense Department Defies Supoena, Blocks Testimony Of Key Sexual Assault Prevention Official

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