The Navy has commissioned an investigation examining how it manages personnel cases for those with personal misconduct allegations after it was reported former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens may deploy to the Middle East.
Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, resigned from his post in 2018 after he was charged with invasion of privacy and computer tampering. The charges were subsequently dropped, and the Kansas City Star reported this month that Greitens’ request to return to active status as a general unrestricted line officer was approved by the Navy.
He also reportedly told those close to him that he will deploy to the Middle East in the fall.
Greitens is now based out of the Navy Operational Support Center in St. Louis, but Navy officials told the Washington Post it was unclear if the service will permit Greitens to take a position outside of Missouri.
After the Kansas City Star report, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson issued an email to other admirals calling for a 30-day review looking at how the Navy manages personnel cases related to personal misconduct allegations, such as the case of Greitens.
Richardson said in an email to other admirals obtained by the Post that recent developments concerning the former governor have “excited a persistent frustration of mine that I want to address more comprehensively.”
He argued current Navy policies for handling personal misconduct are “too cumbersome and slow” and that causes those who should be dismissed from the military to remain. Richardson said situations similar to Greitens’ damage the “ethical fiber” of the service and put the Navy “in a situation that is hard to explain to ourselves, and even more difficult to explain to the American people.”
Richardson confirmed he authored the email and said that Greitens’ case was the catalyst for investigating the matter further.
“It’s a much more broad thing that I think might have been stimulated by this discussion of the Greitens case, but it’s really been simmering,” Richardson said. “We have been poking at this issue at different directions for some time.”
Greitens’ invasion of privacy charge was connected to accusations that he blackmailed a woman with whom he was involved in an extramarital affair. He admitted he was involved in an affair with the woman, but denied he blackmailed her.
The computer privacy charges were related to allegations that he knowingly deceived the state ethics commission on how he obtained a veteran charity’s donor list. The charges were dropped and he resigned last May.