Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 26 January 1998

Making Big Suckers of the Pentagon's Snoopers

By Jack Nichols


No matter what his sexual orientation may be, 36-year old Navy veteran, Timothy R. McVeigh knows how to fight like a titan when sick macho bullies push him up against the wall.

Senior Chief Petty Officer McVeigh, a submarine Chief of the Boat, began swinging in earnest when he learned, upon returning to his Honolulu port, that he'd been grounded, suspected, he was told, of being gay.

Dazed at first, he sat down to his computer and began talking into cyberspace looking for help from anyone who cared about his predicament. In violation of all servicemembers legal rights under the Pentagon's own questionable policy-- Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue—a team of U.S. Navy investigators had pursued him, he explained.

They'd pursued a man, in fact, whose stellar 17-year career they'd hoped to end without further ado, expecting no hints of struggle from someone they believed to be a mere "fag" and who'd probably—they thought-- do little more than whimper, or cry out for mercy.

Now, fortunately, it appears that it is the sadistic Navy investigators themselves who are doing the whimpering. On the very day they'd scheduled a heartless discharge for McVeigh, he socked them with a powerful legal suit, showing them up for the military's bureaucratic vermin they are.

Tim McVeigh has also exposed the numbing hollowness of Secretary of the Navy Dalton's mid-December claim—in the face of long-mounting evidence—that the Navy is conducting no "witch hunts" in violation of its own "Don't Pursue" policy. In fact, as seasoned observers know, expulsions of gay and lesbian military personnel have risen dramatically since this deranged policy went into effect.

McVeigh (whose surname was dubbed "inconvenient" in last Saturday's Washington Post editorial-- since he's no relation to the accused Oklahoma bomber) has more than himself to protect. In the principled battle he's valiantly waged, he's also protecting his ailing mother --a heart attack victim— forced to move into his Honolulu apartment and dependent on his serviceman's salary for her daily sustenance. Thus, there is more than his own life hanging in the balance. Her health and security are at stake too!

Last year, McVeigh's performance evaluations (between mid-April and mid-September) described him in the following terms:

"As Chief of the Boat, he has been a superior leader whose innate ability to motivate, inspire and train personnel significantly improved productivity and command performance…His stellar appearance and positive influence make him an outstanding role model and his embodiment of Navy Core Values guarantees success….(McVeigh) superbly handled all personnel matters in his role as advisor to the Commanding Officer."

After 17-years of dedicated military service, the Awards and Decorations given McVeigh are even more impressive. He's received the Navy's Commendation Medal, three Navy Achievement Medals, a Navy Unit Commendation, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, three Battle Efficiency "E's", four Good Conduct Medals, a Navy Expeditionary Medal, a National Defense medal, a Southwest Asian Service medal, four Sea Service Ribbons, an Arctic Service Ribbon, and a Piston Ribbon with Sharpshooter Device.

McVeigh entered active duty in 1980. He graduated in Pearl Harbor at the top of his 688 Class Submarine Electronic Surveillance Measures "C" School at the Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific. Until 1984, he remained at the Training Center as an Instructor. Thereafter he transferred to the USS Providence and in 1989 was advanced to the rank of Chief Petty Officer, transferred again—this time to the Trident Refit Facility at Kings Bay, Georgia. There he was assigned as Electronics Repair Assistant Division Officer and Leading Chief Petty Officer.

In 1992 McVeigh was transferred to the USS Asheville for tour as the Navagation/Operations Department Enlisted Advisor. During that same year he was advanced to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer and in 1997 he was selected for Chief of the Boat, the USS Chicago.

All went well until autumn when he exchanged E-mail on his private America Online account with a civilian Navy employee with whom he'd been organizing a Christmas charity toy drive for needy Honolulu kids.

In The New York Times, Frank Rich, one of that paper's outstanding columnists, noted on January 17 that McVeigh's "good deeds did not go unpunished." The civilian employee snooped about in his AOL member profile where she found that his marital status had been filled in as "gay". On this same profile, however, there was no indication of McVeigh's occupation, nor of his last name. He'd disclosed, in fact, only that he was "Tim" residing in Honolulu.

The civilian snoop, however, notified Navy investigators: you just may have a homosexual in your midst! The Navy's Keystone Cops smelled "faggot" blood and, with no consideration for the illegality of their procedures, went into a thoughtless bed-room- snooping-frenzy themselves. They got what they considered "confirmation" through nothing more than a random telephone call to AOL that "Tim" of Honolulu –the Navy man whose marital status listed "gay"—was none other than Timothy R. McVeigh. Privacy, where art thou in cyberspace?

Both AOL and the Navy, as a result, are now sinking in deep legal quicksand. Last week, just when these bureaucratic zombies expected McVeigh to go quietly, to exit after a lifetime of dedicated service, his right-on suit caught them completely unawares.

By the weekend, AOL subscribers were being told—in a special message by AOL's CEO, Steve Case-- that his online company had indeed erred by allowing the Navy's gay-male pursuers access to information in McVeigh's private AOL account. Case pleaded, "We handle over one million calls each week in our customer service centers and we protect the privacy of our members with great care and with stringent rules."

Yeah. Sure. Now its clear why GayToday's elite writer, Dave Evans, calls AOL "the Trailer Park of the Internet."

AOL's Mr. Case—what a very perfect name-- fails to mention to his subscribers—in admittting that AOL "compromised the privacy of one of our members"-- that AOL's customer service representative also compromised Timothy R. McVeigh's 17-year career and his ailing mother's only means of support. Further, although Mr. Case now promises his members strict privacy in the future, he makes no mention of what, if anything, AOL is doing to ensure that McVeigh doesn't lose his livelihood. AOL is placing blame for its shenanigans on the Navy. Please.

As for the Navy? Yup, its been caught this time in a blatantly illegal pursuit! Its clear that McVeigh holds no bitter grudges against it as an institution, however. He regrets only, he says, that his Alma Mater has failed to follow its own rules, which, perhaps, is about as damning an indictment as can be made in military terms. If military rules aren't followed, after all, what guarantee do we civilians have that nuclear missiles won't go vaabooom because of some idiot-bureaucrat's errant pinky-fingerings?

Last week McVeigh's case was heard before a District of Columbia court which has still not ruled on its merits, but should do so within days. But if the judge has not yet made up his mind, columnists and editorialists nationwide have already seen the handwriting on the wall.

The very author of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue policy is outraged. The Navy's grossly inept pursuit of McVeigh, he says in a court deposition, is destroying the intent of his carefully crafted policy. Good. It couldn't happen to a worse policy. The judge in this case has advised the Navy not to expel Tim McVeigh until his ruling on the case has become public knowledge.

While the self-defense battle Senior Chief Petty Officer McVeigh is waging unfolds, it is clear that it is marked by his forthright dignity. To all who've helped him wage it, no matter their sexual orientations, he's shown his appreciation. Badpuppy's GayToday, for example, received the following E-mail from the embattled sailor:



Thanks for the info about the second story. Will try to pull it out of archives. Trying to keep up with e-mail, but so busy.

I wanted to take a minute to thank you and send you this note acknowledging receipt of your message. As you can imagine, with the international press coverage of this case, I have been receiving a large amount of mail. That and the time required to fight for my rights, unfortunately, prevents me from sending you a more personal response to your message which is very important to me.

I also want you to know how much I appreciate your support. The Navy seems to think that they have done every thing "by the book." I, as a leader, know the book as well, and the Navy has not only failed to follow the rules and regulations of the Departments of Defense and Navy but apparently federal law as well. They need to follow the regulations as written or change them.

Again, thank your for your support and help. It makes it easier to fight knowing that people are behind you. So buckle up, we may be in for a bumpy ride. I'm sure that the weather is clear at our final destination.

Tim McVeigh

What reply can be made by GayToday to such a man ? Badpuppy joyfulness comes easily:

It is you, Tim, who deserves our thanks. It is you who stands behind us, protecting us, fighting for our rights, the rights of all people, straight and gay. It makes it easier for us knowing that there are men such as you upon whom we can count.

Yes, it may be a bumpy ride, but your courage and your amazing resilience are inspirational, a pure American tale of inner strength, bravery and wit. You're a man—irrespective of sexual orientation-- of whom we (whether we're heterosexuals or homosexuals) can be justly proud.

Yes, the weather will eventually be clear at our final destination, due in no small part to your brave struggle.


(See GayToday's Top Story January 27, 1998)

Court Hails Threatened Sailor and Torpedoes Navy

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