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July 17, 2016

Allen West: Navy to Prosecute LCDR White?

There are no charges yet, but, by law, Navy JAG will be obligated to review this case.

My friend Allen West, whose congressional campaigns I supported twice, has a substantial conservative following because he is an outstanding spokesman for American values and for a strong national defense. Over the weekend he published a claim that he had received confidential information confirming that charges would be filed against a Navy officer who defended himself with a personal firearm during the July 16 Islamist assault on the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

According to Allen, “Resulting from the text message I received, I can confirm that the United States Navy is bringing charges against Lt. Cmdr Timothy White for illegally discharging a firearm on federal property.”

After an Islamist assailant took the lives of four Marines and one Navy Petty Officer in our hometown, we noted in our analysis that our sources advised there were at least two personal weapons belonging to military personnel recovered at the Reserve Center. (There were also two hundred assault rifles belonging to the Marine Corp, but no way to get to those in the moment of the attack.) We strongly objected to the federal restrictions against possession of personal weapons at thousands of military facilities and recruiting stations across the nation, which otherwise have no security personnel. However, we also noted that, unfortunately, if any of the military personnel were in possession of personal weapons in the Chattanooga case, that would be a UCMJ violation and Navy JAG would be obligated to review this case.

Indeed, Lt. Cmdr. Tim White confirmed that he was in possession of a personal weapon and returned fire — either suppression cover fire to allow his personnel to take cover, or perhaps he fired directly at the assailant. His actions likely prevented additional casualties. We would hope that, under the circumstances, White would not suffer any disciplinary action after the case is reviewed as mandated. There are a number of ways he might be absolved — clearly there was an elevated security risk status at all military installations at the time of the attack and perhaps he can be credited with taking personal initiative in this case. Perhaps it will be determined that as Commanding Officer of the Reserve Center here, he has discretionary powers that would precluded any further disciplinary action. Perhaps he has a legal carry permit in Tennessee and JAG can dismiss further action on that basis.

Allen has personal experience with military disciplinary actions — he came under review for a UCMJ violation in 2003 while in Iraq. At that time, The Patriot Post was first out of the media gate defending West’s actions, which like White, were to protect his troops. But we did not publicize his case until clearing with him that such publicity might help. We sent a petition to President George Bush with more than 130,000 signatures, in support of West’s case. West was subject to an Article 15 administrative correction, and was relieved of his command, rather than be subject to a court-martial, which would have had much more serious consequences.

For the record, The Patriot Post has been asked by military personnel under investigation for UCMJ violations to withhold mention of cases because publicizing the JAG review could have jeopardized their exoneration. Of course, we have obliged those requests because such publicity can politicize a case and then a Leftist CINC like Barack Obama might insist on charges.

West’s report set off a firestorm. The Navy has released a statement indicating that they have not charged White, have not prepared charges against White, and are a long way from making any such determination about this tragedy.

When first posting his claims last Saturday, Allen wrote, “I never like to be reactionary and follow anything that may just be hyperbole or conspiracy theory.” Today, West backed off his claims, citing only a report that the Navy has not “ruled out charges” in this case. Again, we think Lt. Cmdr. White’s actions were heroic and saved lives, and certainly hope the JAG review will determine no grounds for disciplinary action.

(UPDATE: Lt. Cmdr. Tim White will not face charges for possessing a firearm on a military installation – the handgun he used to defend his Marines and Navy personnel.)

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