Gates Launches Investigation of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Review Leak

By MichaelJames

Nov 12, 2010 6:52pm

ABC News' Luis Martinez reports:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is condemning Thursday’s leak to the Washington Post of the results of the Pentagon’s review of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military and has ordered an investigation to find out who leaked details to the paper.

The Washington Post reported that 70 percent of the respondents believed that allowing gays to serve openly in the military would not have much an effect.  

In a statement released by the Pentagon tonight, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates is “very concerned and extremely disappointed that unnamed sources within the Department of Defense have selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release.”

To that end, Gates not only “strongly condemns” the leak, but he has “directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of department policy and his specific instruction.”

The group’s work has been closely held since Gates tasked the body with reviewing how the Defense Department would implement a repeal of the DADT law.  Gates intended to preserve the integrity of the review given how politically charged the idea of repealing the law has become.  

In his statement, Morrell said the group’s work remained private since then, but "anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of the process."

The final report still will be presented to Gates on Dec. 1 as originally intended.

According to tonight’s statement, the full report will be made public shortly thereafter. 

“Until then, no one at the Pentagon will comment on its contents,” said Morrell.

As part of its review, the working group commissioned the first-ever survey of military servicemembers and family members to determine their attitudes about the DADT law.   Surveys were sent to 400,000 servicemembers and 150,000 spouses. Each survey had close to a 30 percent response rate.

The group also held town hall meetings at U.S. military bases around the world and looked at what changes needed to be made to implement a repeal of the law.  

Late last week, the 370-page draft report was distributed on a close-hold basis to the military service chiefs and a small number of their staffers.  They were to  provide comments and responses that were to be included as part of the final report.

–Luis Martinez

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