The US navy’s head of intelligence has for more than a year been banned from viewing any classified information due to an investigation into his possible misconduct, the Navy Times reported on Monday.
Vice Adm. Ted Branch cannot attend meetings where secret information is discussed and any such material must be cleared away from the desks of subordinates before he walks into their offices. He is also not able to join other intelligence top brass when they meet with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
According to the report, if Branch, 57, is at a meeting where classified information is brought up, he must leave the room.
The navy suspended Branch’s security clearance in November 2013 over his connection to Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a company that provides services for the fleets ships in ports, and that is at the heart of a suspected large-scale bribery scandal. Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, the director of intelligence operations, was also stripped of his classified authorization for the same reason while the Justice Department investigates the affair.
However, in the year since the two men were downgraded, the investigation has not progressed, leaving them in limbo. In the meantime, Branch, a former F-18 pilot, focuses on workforce management as well as a navy cyber-security project.
GDMA CEO Leonard Glenn Francis is accused of bribing Navy officers to bring their ships to ports where he could allegedly overcharge for services. Bribes offered reportedly included junkets, prostitutes, and tickets to shows. Francis hoped to also obtain information about ship movements and schedules, which is classified.
Navy authorities have stressed that neither Branch nor Loveless are suspected of leaking classified information. According to the New York Times, they are suspected of accepting gifts that my have made them targets for blackmail.
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