Badpuppy Gay Today

Tuesday, 20 January 1998


New Testimony Shows Snoops Had Insufficient Evidence on Cyber-Sailor
Help Stop Tomorrow's Discharge! --- E-mail the HRC Action Line Now!

Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday


Dr. Charles Moskos, the author of the original "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, said on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation Monday afternoon that if the Navy violated federal privacy law in obtaining key online information about Senior Chief Timothy McVeigh, the case against McVeigh should be dropped.

In addition, Dr. Moskos said that McVeigh's imminent discharge should be delayed, pending the results of a full investigation of how DOD investigators handled themselves, and he expressed concerns about the Navy's "pigheadedness" in investigating McVeigh.

When asked by caller John of Washington, DC "If the navy violated federal privacy law in obtaining key evidence in this case, then shouldn't the Navy drop the case and send a clear signal that this kind of thing wont be tolerated?", Moskos answered "Yes, I think the military has to watch that it doesn't inadvertently undermine don't ask don't tell. The threat to the policy is now coming from the Armed Forces' pigheadedness on enforcing it."

John then asked Moskos "shouldn't the military hold off on the discharge until we resolve all these issues?" Dr. Moskos responded: "I would agree." Moskos reiterated his concern that "pigheaded enforcement of this rule is going to undermine 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"

Dr. Moskos, of Northwestern University, testified at the original "Gays in the Military" hearings back in 1993, chaired by Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA). Moskos is widely known to be the author of the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

"Even the guy who wrote the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy thinks the case should be dropped," said John Aravosis, a lawyer and Internet consultant working with Mr. McVeigh. "Moskos said very clearly that the military should not discharge McVeigh until there's been a thorough investigation of the Navy's actions in this case."

Newly-available testimony shows that Navy officials feared they did not have enough evidence against Senior Chief McVeigh, and that is why they decided to seek his confidential account information from America Online (AOL). Internet advocates familiar with the McVeigh case charge the Navy with orchestrating an elaborate cover-up of its wrong-doing.

In a CNet exclusive, Janet Kornblum reported on Friday, January 16, (,4,18203,00.html) that newly released sworn testimony shows a second Navy investigator admitting she "didn't know" if the AOL email account under investigation was really McVeigh's, contradicting all Navy public statements to date.

Kornblum quotes the Navy investigator: " 'I planned to establish by whatever means I could think of whether or not this profile belonged to the screen name or not and whether or not the screen name belonged to Senior Chief McVeigh,' said Lt. Karen Morean. 'I didn't know what it was going to take. I didn't know if AOL was going to give me the information that I was looking for or if it was going to take some other kind of research. I didn't know at that point what it was going to involve, but I suggested obviously that the first step was to call AOL, and that's obviously as far as I needed to go.'"

"The Navy's been caught with their hand in the cyber cookie jar," explains John Aravosis, "They've now admitted they could not prove if the email account was Tim's without illegally going to AOL."

Internet legal experts say the Navy and AOL violated the federal Electronic Communications Project Act (ECPA) by requesting and receiving McVeigh's confidential AOL account information. "It is probably the most clear-cut example we have of a violation of this statute on the part of the government," said David Sobel, general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, to the New York Times (Saturday, January 17).

"This is the Internet version of illegal search and seizure," said Bob Hattoy, gay Clinton appointee. "The evidence should be thrown out, this patriot should be set free, and AOL and the Navy should be investigated because it's the fourth amendment that's being threatened, not national security."

"This entire affair has been about lies, cover-ups and official denials," charged Aravosis. "It's high time the Navy came clean with the American people -- what did they know, and when did they know it?"


Day of Online Action - Tuesday, January 20, 1998

Go now to and send a fast message to The White House and the Pentagon, using HRC's easy-to-use action page!

I am writing to ask that you immediately revoke the administrative discharge orders for ETCS (SS) Timothy R. McVeigh, U.S. Navy. I understand that he is scheduled to be discharged on January 21, 1998, based on a purported statement of gay orientation contained in an America Online (AOL) profile.

Urge the White House and the Department of Defense to Revoke Discharge Procedures Against Senior Chief Timothy R. McVeigh. HRC's Online Action Center will send a fax and/or an email to each of their offices. The Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, and the Commander-in-Chief, President William J. Clinton, retain discretion to stop the discharge and avoid potentially embarrassing litigation. They, however, need to hear from you that you are concerned about the government's actions in this case.


Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton, has indicated that the Navy will discharge Senior Chief Timothy R. McVeigh despite evidence that the Navy potentially violated both the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue." The discharge will occur on Wednesday, January 21, 1997, unless a federal court orders the Navy to freeze the discharge pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by McVeigh on Thursday, January 15, 1997.

The first concern is that the Department of Navy and Department of Defense violated ECPA by obtaining McVeigh's subscriber information from AOL without a warrant, subpoena or McVeigh's consent. That is a violation of U.S. law.

The second concern is that McVeigh's command initiated an inquiry against McVeigh based only on a suspicion that the AOL profile was his, thus compelling the Navy to confirm McVeigh's identity through AOL. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" specifically states that suspicions are not credible information to start an inquiry.

President Clinton stated in announcing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" that the policy would provide "a decent regard to the legitimate privacy and associational rights of all servicemembers." Former Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin, said that servicemembers would have to work hard to get on the radar screen under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue." Those promises have failed in this case.

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