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Photo: US Air Force

It's been just over a year since Eric Greitens finally resigned as governor of Missouri, following accusations that he had tried to blackmail a woman he was having an affair with, and that he'd illegally used donor lists from a veterans nonprofit for political fundraising. It also didn't help that all the scandal surrounding Greitens was starting to hurt the Senate prospects of then-state AG Josh Hawley, so Greitens eventually removed himself, though not without whining he was being unfairly witch hunted.

In a sane world, Greitens would then have disappeared into shame and obscurity, resurfacing only as a trivia question that would make people say "Oh Christ, why'd you have to remind me of him?" But in this worst of all timelines, he has friends in the Trump administration who pushed the Navy to give him a job, even though the Navy isn't at all pleased with having him back, as the Washington Post reported Friday. Doesn't the military understand its duty to provide jobs for friends of the administration, even if they're just a little bit sexual assaulty?

Greitens, you'll recall, was accused of tying up and blindfolding his hairdresser, with whom he was having an extramarital affair, then threatening to release seminude photos of her. A statement from the woman's attorneys went into the horrifying details of what sure as hell looks like a sexual assault, not consensual BDSM. The then-governor was charged with a felony count of invasion of privacy, but the charges were later "dismissed amid allegations of prosecutorial misconduct," as WaPo puts it. Ultimately, it was the misuse of donor records from The Mission Continues, his charity for vets, that led him to give up and resign after a judge ordered him to turn over emails between his campaign and the charity. The resignation led to the dismissal of another felony charge for "computer tampering" in that caper.

Under the logic of Team Trump, that means Greitens had absolutely no ethical troubles at all, and as emails obtained by the Post show, a Pentagon official went to bat for the former Navy SEAL back in January:


Joseph D. Kernan, a retired admiral and Navy SEAL, knew Greitens from their time in the military. Now the Pentagon's undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Kernan wanted to know whether there was a way in which Greitens could return to military life. [...]

Four months later, the Navy is still weighing what to do with Greitens and how it should handle other cases involving alleged misconduct in the future.

It turns out the Navy, which is already suspected of disloyalty for not scuttling the USS John McCain in the Marianas Trench, isn't entirely sure that "wasn't actually charged" is good enough to give a fellow a high-ranking job, like maybe on the National Security Council, a position that one "former senior defense official" made inquiries about for Greitens. But the Navy, to its credit, seems at least vaguely aware of the publicity risks of taking on even an accused-but-not-formally charged creeper, particularly given the last few years' focus on rape going under-reported and unpunished in the military

Emails viewed by The Post outline a case in which some admirals expressed concerns about Greitens. In January, an early assessment of whether the service should bring Greitens back on active duty prompted the senior officer in charge of recruiting, Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, to recommend against it.

"The sexual nature of the charges are not in line with our Navy Core Values, and the campaign finance violations not only do not inspire trust and confidence in his integrity, but also represent a real risk from a security clearance perspective," McLane wrote.

Greitens was informed he would not be able to transition to active duty. He shared afterward that the charges had been dropped and asked whether he could actively serve instead as a reserve intelligence officer, documents show.

Greitens was ultimately allowed to re-enter the service, sorta-kinda, as a "general unrestricted line officer at a support center in St. Louis at his current rank, lieutenant commander." But the Post adds it's "not clear" what exactly he's doing, if anything, in the job. The story also notes that while Greitens built his political career on having been a Navy SEAL, the SEALs were not interested in bringing him back, citing his age and concerns about his character. No big, said Warren Lockette, a pal of Greitens who served at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, because Greitens didn't want those sour SEAL grapes anyway.

If you want to take a glass-half-full (of creepy grifty disgraced not quite formally charged possible rapers) view of all this, at least one semi good development came of the attempt to reward Greitens with a nice job, as the Post points out:

[In] a move that has not previously been reported, the case also has prompted the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, to call for a new 30-day review of how the service handles personnel cases involving personal misconduct allegations, including Greitens's.

Richardson, writing May 26 in an email to other admirals, said the "recent events involving the transition of Mr. Greitens" have "excited a persistent frustration of mine that I want to address more comprehensively." The Navy's policies and practices for addressing personal misconduct are "too cumbersome and slow," creating situations where officials end up retaining people "we'd rather see dismissed from our ranks."

Such decisions, Richardson concluded, weaken "the ethical fiber of our Navy" and put the service "in a situation that is hard to explain to ourselves, and even more difficult to explain to the American people."

Richardson told the Post he thinks the Navy really needs to put in place more efficient procedures to deal with officers who are credibly accused of wrongdoing but not quite criminals. Or perhaps that will have to wait for a saner presidential crew. The story notes the admiral will retire this summer, ideally before Trump can find an excuse to shitcan him a day or two short of a full pension.

Hmmm... "Chief of Naval Operations Eric Greitens" has a plausible ring to it.

[Washington Post / US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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