April 23, 2004
Democrats Seek Probe of Army Chaplain's Treatment
Former Chief of Staff of the Army General Eric K. Shinseki, Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, Former Anti-Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke, Former member of the office of the secretary of defense staff Retired U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski. Who will be next to defect: head of the CIA George Tenet or Secretary of State Colin Powell?
As if 9/11 and the war with Iraq weren't enough, now with Chaplain James Yee it looks like the administration has even more "splaining" to do. Peace, Ian
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Democratic members of the Senate Armed Services Committee called on Friday for the Pentagon to conduct an investigation into its treatment of a Muslim Army chaplain who was suspected of spying, detained for months and then quietly released.
Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, senior Democrat on the committee, and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said the manner in which Capt. James Yee was detained and prosecuted "raises serious questions about the fair and effective administration of military justice."
They urged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a letter "to give this issue your immediate attention."
The military initially held Lee, 36, on suspicion of espionage at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, where he was a Muslim chaplain ministering to terror suspects.
He was arrested last September and placed in solitary confinement for 76 days.
When the military finally brought charges, Yee was accused only of "mishandling classified documents," not espionage. Then, earlier this year, that charge and all other criminal counts against Yee were dropped and he was released.
In a non-criminal hearing in March, Lee was found guilty on lesser charges of adultery and possessing pornography and received only a written reprimand from the Army.
The senators said the Pentagon should investigate the Army's handling of the case, "including whether the extensive pre-trial confinement and the charges against the chaplain were supported by the evidence."
They said the probe should look into "how and why information in the case was released to the press," noting that media reports had cited anonymous government sources saying Yee was suspected of espionage, aiding the enemy and treason.