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8 Sep, 2016 11:37

Army ‘waited’ for media reports on ‘swinging’ general before suspending his security clearance

Army ‘waited’ for media reports on ‘swinging’ general before suspending his security clearance

An Army general who was fired for his role in a ‘swinging’ sex scandal, in which he used a government cellphone and email to conduct an affair, kept his security clearance for five months until the revelation emerged in the media, USA Today reports.

An investigation revealed in April that Maj. Gen. David Haight – who was previously in charge of plans and operations for the Pentagon’s European Command – had been leading a double life.

The probe found he was involved in an extra-marital affair, with allegations of a “swinger lifestyle.” He was also found to have used a government cellphone and email address to conduct the affair.

Following the investigation, Haight was stripped of his post and brought back to Washington.

But despite the apparent crackdown on Haight by the Army, the general was still allowed to keep his clearance to review classified information for five months after the Army Inspector General discovered details of Haight's secret, according to documents cited by USA Today. The media outlet noted that his clearance wasn’t taken away until a day after the paper published details of the scandal and put the suspension in actual connection with their report.

“The Army waited to suspend the security clearance… until a day after revelations of his double life were published in USA TODAY, the Army has acknowledged,” the outlet writes.

Citing two unnamed Army officials, the newspaper also said that Haight did not take a lie detector test at any point, as it was not a requirement for his job. Hence, he was allowed to keep his double life a secret for over a decade and was promoted three times during that time span.

According to Haight's long-term girlfriend, Jennifer Armstrong, the general was a regular at swingers’ clubs and had multiple sexual partners. Government officials have raised concerns that his lifestyle would have made him susceptible to blackmail or espionage.

Extra-marital affairs are banned in the US military, and therefore Haight was forced to retire early. A board of directors will investigate the last rank he served honorably. Losing rank could cost Haight tens of thousands of dollars per year in retirement pay.

Meanwhile, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the Haight case shows the need for greater scrutiny of those with access to the country’s top secrets.

“We’ve got to take a holistic look at the entire process and determine how best to fill gaps that have become painfully evident in the system we’re using to ensure we can continue to trust those privy to the highest levels of secrecy in our government,” said McCaskill, a known critic of the military’s clearance process.