If you were to put in prison all the military members and Members of Congress together with staff personnel who have committed adultery, the State of Idaho wouldn’t be big enough to hold them all. This story is simple once you boil it down. A Black woman finds all sorts of skulduggery and fraud. The Navy finds out she had an affair. Then she is tossed in prison and thrown out of the military just a few months before she could have retired.
If there has ever been a travesty of injustice in military history, the Navy’s adultery case against former Navy Lieutenant Commander, Syneeda Penland is the one! This particular case will likely be argued and debated in legal and political forums for decades to come! LCDR Penland is an attractive Black woman who is very intelligent to boot.
Sometimes smart people don’t do well in the military because they continually look for ways to do things better and more efficiently. Penland isn’t only smart, but she has integrity. When she found fraud or malfeasance, she did what she could to stop it. The Navy attempted to twist it around saying that she didn’t report any fraudulent acts until she was charged with adultery. That’s all bullshit.
MilitaryCorruption.com has covered thousands of stories involving military injustices, committed against service members by senior staff personnel, enlisted and officer alike; but the case against LCDR Penland is a classic example of why THE MILITARY JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER JOKE.
The military judicial system is malleable and tractable, capable of being twisted and pressured by military commanders to produce a desired result. Many cases support our assertion THE MILITARY JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS RIGGED. The most recent example is the court martial of a Navy Seal who’s case was tossed out by a military appeals court because of clear evidence of unlawful command influence by a couple of Navy admirals.
President Ronald Reagan established the 1-800 Fraud, Waste and Abuse hotline in the 1980s. It wasn’t established to ferret out criminal misconduct, but to find out the identity of those damn whistle-blowers. In the thirty-eight (38) years since the hotline was established, not a single person has been convicted of fraud, waste or abuse. In thirty-eight years of thousands of people calling the hotline to report fraud, waste and abuse, not single person has ever been charged.
The 1-800 hotline was designed to locate whistle-blowers and destroy their lives. In that regard, the 1-800 Fraud, Waste and Abuse hotline worked out perfectly. Many people had their lives destroyed or detrimentally affected because they trusted the government.
Make no mistake, LCDR Penland was a whistle-blower and she was imprisoned because of her whistle-blowing, not because of an affair as the Navy would have you believe. For nearly a decade, Military Corruption.com has kept you informed about any new developments in the Penland case. The Pentagon’s top brass is doing all they can to make her case go away. Her case continues to be a major thorn in their side, because they know they were wrong to do what they did to LCDR Penland.
Was it a whistle-blower thing, or what it a race thing? MCC does not pull out the race card unless there is reason to suspect that someone in the chain of command is a racist. We only bring it up because of the unusually severe punishment Penland received. As far as we know, Penland is the only woman in American military history to be thrown in prison for an affair. The long knives were out for her, because she was blowing the whistle, but it’s possible race was a factor as well.
Overall, we think the military is doing better in the race department. We remember when there was race riots on-board the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk where the commanding officer literally lost control of his ship. The recent promotion of the first African American female to be nominated for brigadier general in the Marines, (Lorna Mahlock), is an indicator the military is breaking down barriers and opening doors for minorities who serve in the military. But even with an improvement in the race department, the military can still have senior officers throughout the chain of command who have a problem with racial diversity. BTW, they are racist not because they’re White, but because they’re a racist.
Without fair and equal justice under law, the Pentagon makes it clear they have unwritten policies. These policies are different spanks for different ranks, different spanks for different genders and different spanks for people of different races. Even with improvements in the race department, jobs and promotion quotas remain disproportionate throughout the armed forces. How many of the military’s top brass are misogynistic? The military may indeed have a problem with people who exhibit hatred, dislike, mistrust, and promote the mistreatment of women.
There’s a delicate line military leaders have to walk and frequently they have botched one case after another. On the one hand, military commanders are looking throw as many men in prison as they can on virtually any case involving a woman to pacify female Members of Congress. Then, on the other hand, women (and men) continue to be raped and sexually assaulted and nothing is done. Does the case of LaVena Johnson ring a bell? She is believed to have been raped and murdered by a four-star general. Her father is a medical doctor and knows for a fact his daughter was raped and murdered, but the military chose to look the other way.
In the last legal development on Penland’s Civil Action lawsuit against former Secretary of Navy, Raymond Mabus, Civil Action No. 13-1465 (RMC), on April 20, 2016, the court remanded her case to the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR), to determine whether Penland was a whistleblower under the federal Military Whistleblower’s Protection Act of 1988 (MWPA) as amended, if so, whether she is entitled to clemency, which would entitle her to receive her hard-earned pension benefits and most deserving, restitution for pain and suffering she was forced to endure.
Based on thousands of pages of medical evidence, and a recent findings and conclusions by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veteran’s Appeals on June 6, 2018, LCDR Penland clearly suffered terribly. Penland was exposed to such an extremely hostile work environment that anyone else probably would have gone “postal.” Thank God, she kept her cool and endured countless hours of harassment that almost rivaled that received by a prisoner of war.
On October 3, 2018, the Department of Justice (DoJ) legal counsel for the former Secretary of the Navy submitted a 1-page brief, in response to an August 2018 status update request, from Judge Rosemary Collyer, the presiding judge over Penland’s civil action case.
The DoJ legal counsel argued, that it was determined that Penland was a whistleblower, under the MWPA, but the Personnel Actions taken against her did not constitute reprisal; and further concluded that she was not entitled to clemency and her characterization of service, general under honorable conditions, was appropriate. The swamp was digging in their heels.
Attached to the brief was an 11-page final decision letter, from the Department of the Navy, Board for Correction of Naval Records, dated August 11, 2017. The letter was mailed directly to Penland, but not to Judge Collyer. As always, the Navy was attempting to bully Penland to back off, and delayed their response to the remand order, over 2-years.
During our phone interview, MCC asked Penland: “Why do you continue your fight for Justice in a system that does not know the meaning of the word?
Penland: This fight is no longer about me. It’s to ensure the safety and job security of our men and women in uniform, that they are provided a “hazardous free” working environment, free of harassment, retaliation, and racial, gender and sex-orientation discrimination.
As politicians help to anchor key legislation for full equality throughout our armed forces, there needs to be checks and balances of full compliance of the federal Civil Rights Laws, most importantly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act; while preserving the integrity of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. If the Act needs to be amended, so be it. At some point, their needs to be higher oversight over the military’s justice system, to ensure victims of whistle-blower retaliation are protected from suffering the same punish that was inflicted upon me, for simply doing my job!
In their own words, determining whether or not a violation of Civil Rights Laws had occurred, in particular, the Military Whistle-blower Protection Act of 1988 (as amended); the BCNR concluded, using the definition of Protected Communication (PC), considered LCDR Penland’s asserted Protected Communication, based on the Inspector General’s (IG) reprisal investigation, and all documentary evidence.
Similar to the Navy’s IG, 2008 investigation report of Penland’s initial reprisal allegations, where the investigators ignore a large majority of Penland’s allegations—
In their findings, the BCNR concluded that there were at least ten Protected Communications Penland made to the Navy IG and former Congressman, Bob Filner, between Penland’s January 2006 arrival date at former Naval Coastal Warfare Group-One, and her July 2009 discharge.
However, the in-conclusive findings, failed to mention Penland’s Protected Communication with the office of the Secretary of the Navy (reporting ongoing reprisal), the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) (reporting ongoing reprisal and gross mismanagement of war funds); and the office of the Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division, via a June 2009 Qui Tam lawsuit, filed on behalf of the government, against the Veteran owned defense company, Logistic Support Inc. See related stories.
Talk about Courage under Fire. Former LCDR Penland was truly a trailblazer. Her boldness to step outside the boundaries of the Defense Department, to report the findings of their internal IG investigations, ultimately led to her abrupt discharge, in late July 2009. At the time, Penland was a few months shy of her 20-year retirement eligibility and qualifying for her hard-earned retirement benefits. In the Navy we would call such cheap-shot retaliation against Penland as being, “Lower Than Whale Turds.”
In her memoir, Broken Silence, a Military Whistle-blower’s Fight for Justice, Penland gives a detailed chronological account of the blatant abuse of power, gross financial mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse, as well as judicial corruption, and nearly a decade of ongoing reprisal, to document the miscarriage of military justice.
The Navy’s top brass continues to discredit Penland with the Scarlet Letter. The notorious 30-year Fat Leonard bribery-sex scandals, as more indictments comes about, while ignoring reports of extra-marital affairs of more senior officers, Penland remains the only single military officer to have been charged and convicted of adultery, and the married husband in the alleged affair, has since retired from the Navy, and was never charged or prosecuted. They say it takes two to tango, so why the hell wasn’t he held accountable?
We at MCC will continue to offer Penland our support, as she continues her fight for justice against the Navy’s top brass’ JAG Corps, who considers her a threat to their corrupt fiefdom. Protecting the careers of the real criminals will always be a higher priority! We encourage LCDR Penland to keep up the good fight for even a sliver of justice. We will continue to keep our readers informed.
The Whistle-blower Act was made law with the help of Navy Chief Petty Officer Michael R. Tufariello. He caught the commanding officer paying hundreds of reservists for drills they never attended. The amount of fraud totals in the millions of dollars. Four naval officers conjured up a plan to neutralize Tufariello by lying to the doctors of an Air Force hospital saying that Michael Tufariello threatened to commit suicide. It was all a complete lie.
To initiate their plan, the officers lied to Tufariello ordering him to appear and saying the commanding officer wanted to see him. When he arrived, two armed Marines seized him and drove him to a nearby Air Force base where he was incarcerated in the mental ward. After he was released from the mental ward, he was forced into retirement and appeared to testify before a House subcommittee.
The naval officers who perpetrated the crime of wrongful imprisonment and acting under the color of law were given a pass by the base commander, Captain Robert Naughton. The money that was fraudulently paid out was never recovered and the illegal practice of paying reservists for work they don’t do continues. The fraud is ingrained into the military structure.
LCDR Penland invoked the Act that Tufariello helped to pass.
Military Whistleblower Protection Act of 1988 (MWPA), as amended at title 10, United States Code, Section 1034, and elsewhere, is an American law providing protection of lawful disclosures of illegal activity by members of the United States Armed Forces.
The act protects a United States Armed Forces member who makes a “protected communication” regarding a violation of law or regulation. The superiors of these service members are prohibited from retaliating against the service member making the protected statements. The Congressional statute is implemented by Department of Defense Directive 7050.06 (July 23, 2007), which protects:
(1) Any lawful communication to a member of Congress or an Inspector General.
(2) A communication which the Armed Forces’ member reasonably believes evidences a violation of law or regulation, including sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, mismanagement, a gross waste of funds or other resources, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
But the communications must be made to one of the following:
(1) A member of Congress, an Inspector General, or a member of a Department of Defense audit, inspection, investigation, or law enforcement organization, or
(2) Any other person or organization (including any person or organization in the chain of command) designated under Component regulations or other established administrative procedures to receive such complaints.
On December 12, 2013, the United States House of Representatives approved section 1714 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 overhauling the Military Whistle-blower Protection Act of 1988. The Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit public interest group, praised the legislation as the “first significant advance in military whistle-blower rights since they were enacted in “1988” and summarized its provisions as follows:
Statute of Limitations: This period would expand from 60 days to one year, consistent with general best practice whistle-blower protections.
Protected Audiences: Audiences for protected disclosures would expand to include testimony to congressional and law enforcement staff, courts, grand jury and court martial proceedings.
Closing Loopholes for Protected Speech: The reform closes the same loopholes that Congress eliminated in the civil service Whistle-blower Protection Enhancement Act. Such loopholes include: A whistle-blower is not protected if someone previously disclosed the same misconduct; oral disclosures not being covered; whistle-blower motives being challenged, and whether the disclosure was made while on or off duty.
Expansion of Protection against Forms of Harassment: The reforms ban retaliatory removal of duties inconsistent with rank.
Independent Service Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigations: The reforms require service-specific OIG investigations into reprisal to be handled by a higher organizational department than the one where alleged harassment occurred.
Administrative Due Process Hearings: If not satisfied by OIG action, each member has the right to a Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR) administrative due process hearing.
The bill was signed into law on December 26, 2013.