Family Research Council: Investigate Don't Ask, Don't Tell Leak

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One of the nation's most prominent Christian conservative groups is asking the Pentagon to investigate the leak of its Don't Ask, Don't Tell findings.

The Department of Defense is currently reviewing how an end to Don't Ask, Don't Tell would affect the U.S. military, as it engages in two theaters of war. Though a formal report from the study group is due to President Obama on December 1, defense sources told The Washington Post that the study would conclude that ending the policy entails minimal risk to U.S. war efforts.

That leak has created significant political cover for Don't Ask, Don't Tell's opponents: Congress may try again to end the policy (having failed to do so in September) during the lame duck session that will last for the rest of the year. Given that the official findings, if they were to support an end to the policy, would create similar cover in December, the leak effectively gives Congress more time to push ahead under the guiding assumption that ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell won't endanger U.S. servicemembers or hurt America's war efforts (arguments employed by supporters of the policy) and that the Pentagon is largely okay with its end.

So Don't Ask, Don't Tell's supporters shouldn't be too happy about the leak.

And Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, isn't. Today he suggested the leak "gravely undermine[s]" the Comprehensive Review Working Group's study and asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Defense Department's inspector general to investigate.

Here's the statement Perkins released:

"It's laughable to argue that people who anonymously leak one-sided information to a reporter are less likely to 'mischaracterize the findings' of a ten-month study than are people who wait to read that 370-page study in full.

"We have criticized this study from the outset because the CRWG [Comprehensive Review Working Group] was forbidden to explore the central question before the country-not how to implement a repeal of the current law, but whether doing so is in the best interest of the armed forces. The surveys of servicemembers and their spouses which were conducted as part of this process shared the same flaw, since they never asked, 'Do you believe the current law should be overturned?'

"Despite this critical flaw, Secretary Gates had at least pledged that the effort would be 'carried out in a professional, thorough and dispassionate manner.' That effort is gravely undermined by leaks to the media which are unprofessional, selective and blatantly biased.

"I urge Secretary Gates to have the DOD Inspector General launch an immediate investigation into the source of these leaks, which have seriously damaged the credibility of the CRWG process.

"This is one more reason why Congress will need to have extensive hearings after the scheduled delivery of the CRWG report on December 1, to thoroughly examine both the substance of its findings and the process by which they were arrived at."
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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