Taking aim at so-called "stolen valor" cases, President Barack Obama announced a new initiative Monday to crack down on what he called the "contemptible" practice of lying about military service. Obama's initiative came after the Supreme Court in late June struck down on First Amendment grounds a law punishing the practice in a 6-3 ruling.
"It may no longer be a crime for con artists to pass themselves off as heroes," he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) annual convention in Reno, Nev. "But one thing is certain: It is contemptible."
"So this week we will launch a new Web site, a living memorial, so the American people can see who's been awarded our nation's highest honors. Because no American hero should ever have their valor stolen," he said.
An administration official, describing the plan on condition that he not be named, said the Web site would launch Wednesday. It will list the names of people who have received military awards after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The site will at first include only recipients of Medals of Honor and Service Crosses, listed by service. The White House has been working with the different branches of the military to collect data for recipients of Silver Stars and is assessing the feasibility of having the database stretch back before Sept. 11, 2001.