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*** UPDATED x1 - Kirk campaign responds *** Department of Defense concerned about Kirk’s political activities while on duty

Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Nitpicker has been a prime behind the scenes player in finding some of Mark Kirk’s military embellishments. And now the blogger appears to have yet another scoop by obtaining a December 18, 2009 Department of Defense “Exception to Policy” memo regarding Kirk’s then upcoming active duty tour in Afghanistan. Kirk needed a waiver because as a member of Congress he wasn’t supposed to be sent to combat areas.

Click here to read the full memo from Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Gail McGinn. Pay special attention to this last paragraph and the highlighted text…

As a candidate for the vacant Senate seat in Illinois, Commander Kirk must complete the appropriate acknowledgment of limitations required for all candidates on active duty (DoDD 1344.10, paragraph 4.3.5.). Ordinarily this acknowledgment must be completed within 15 days of entering active duty. Because of the short period of active duty and concerns arising from his partisan political activities during his last two tours of active duty, Commander Kirk must complete this form prior to his entry on active duty. [Emphasis added]

Partisan political activities during two tours of active duty? Yikes.

The Nitpicker thinks one of those prohibited activities mentioned in the memo might be that Twitter escapade I wrote about last July. Kirk appeared to be posting to his campaign Twitter page while on duty at the National Military Command Center. At the time, the campaign claimed that Kirk did not post while on duty and implied that a staffer may have posted the Tweet. Kirk said later that he would not do it again.

Whatever the case, we are not talking about a little thing

And those violations are, in fact, a prosecutable offense. As the regulation states, “Violations of paragraphs 4.1. through 4.5. of this Directive by persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice are punishable under Article 92, ‘Failure to Obey Order or Regulation…’” A violation of Article 92 is punishable by up to two years of confinement and a dishonorable discharge. [Emphasis added.]


Also, if you scroll down to pages four and five of the pdf file, you’ll see Kirk’s response, where he swore to play by all the rules. I checked with the Kirk campaign and they’re still formulating a response. I read this post to them before I published it. I’ll post the response when I get it.

*** UPDATE *** The Kirk campaign responds…

Statement by Spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski:

“Mark Kirk has served our nation in the U.S. Navy for two decades and has done so honorably. The fact is, Congressman Kirk never violated Defense Department policies. He has misspoken about his record, acknowledged it and apologized. Mark Kirk left for Afghanistan and he did not engage in political activities - even in the face of radio commercials accusing him of being gay. The memorandum in question is simply off the mark. Furthermore, this raises grave concerns and questions about who gained access to Kirk’s confidential records. The document in question should be viewed for what it is - a baseless political ploy by partisans bent on defending a U.S. Senate seat at any cost.

“Going forward, we will be submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for all correspondence between Administration officials and Democratic campaigns or political operatives regarding Mr. Kirk’s personal military records. We will not stand by and allow partisan attacks invalidate two decades of military service, both here and overseas.”

Below find a timeline related to both of Mr. Kirk’s deployments to Afghanistan:

1. Governor Blagojevich was arrested morning of December 9, 2008 for the potential sale of the Obama Senate seat.

2. On December 10, Senator Durbin raised the issue of a special election for the senate, instead of a governor’s pick.

3. That day, the Illinois media began calling all Illinois congressmen and other figures asking if they could run. Congressman Kirk was doing pre-deployment training as a reservist in Springfield, Virginia, each day, then working in his congressional office each night. DoD rules allow congressmen to perform duties incident to their congressional office while on reserve duty. Kirk gave interviews with WIND, WLS, WFLD, MSNBC. He mainly commented on the arrest of the Illinois governor and when asked, said he would not rule out a run.

4. On December 11, Congressman Kirk was interviewed by Politico, Fox National TV, WLS and WFLD.

5. CDR Kirk then went dark and departed the United States on the night of December 13, 2008 for Afghanistan. He served for two weeks in Afghanistan and did not give interviews.

6. Hearing of the new discussion of a potential Senate special election in Illinois, the Navy tracked Kirk down and reminded him not to give interviews while deployed in Afghanistan. Kirk said he had not declared a candidacy and would not speak with the press.

7. Senator Durbin changed his mind and no special election was held. Senator Burris was appointed to replace Senator Obama.

8. When CDR Kirk deployed a second time, the Obama administration changed the original waiver to reference the Navy call to Kirk. Kirk also talked to SECDEF CoS Rangel and confirmed no public statements would be made from Afghanistan, like the first time.

9. CDR Kirk served in Afghanistan for two weeks a second time in December 2009 and January of 2010. During that service, a Kirk GOP political opponent, Andy Martin, accused Kirk of being gay and bought $60,000 of radio time to spread this message. Kirk took no action, gave no interviews and returned to the US. From his home in Illinois, Kirk called CoS Rangel and asked for permission to begin public speaking. Rangel approved and Kirk delivered his first speech in three weeks the following day.

10. The regulations are clear on this issue: please see paragraph 4.4 and subparagraph 4.1.2:

DOD Directive Number 1344.10 of February 19, 2008 is entitled “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.” It can be found here:

Paragraph 4.4 is entitled “Holding and Exercising the functions of a U.S. Government civil Office Attained by Election or Appointment.” Under Paragraph 4.4.3.,”A…Reserve Component member on active duty under…[an[ order to active duty for 270 days or fewer, may hold and exercise the functions of a civil office provided there is no interference with the performance of military duty.” Subparagraph 4.4.5 states that such officeholders on active duty are still subject to the list of prohibitions contain in subparagraph 4.1.2.

Subparagraph 4.1.2 contains a list of prohibited activities among them not participating in any radio, television, or other program or group discussions “as an advocate for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.” (Subparagraph The regulation does not prohibit all participation, just participation that is as an advocate for or against a party, candidate or cause. Commenting on news events while in civilian clothes and not onboard a military installation should not give rise to a violation even if the Reserve component member is on active duty.

Paragraph 4.6.4 identifies DoDI 1344.10 as a lawful general regulation. This is required, under military law, if the regulation is intended to be punitive, i.e., military members can be prosecuted for violations. thus, the reference to article 92 of the Uniform code of Military Justice. Of course, one cannot be punished under the UCMJ unless found guilty of each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. the Deputy secretary’s memo is not intended to adjudicate any previous issues and her use of the word “concerns” does not amount to a finding that any law was broken.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile, the AP reports that Treasurer Giannoulias embellished his record

A banking group says Democrat Alexi Giannoulias didn’t serve on its board of directors like he’s claimed on his Senate campaign website.

The Community Bankers Association of Illinois said Wednesday that Giannoulias served on its Committee on Legislation and Regulation.

Attention is being paid to candidates’ claims after Giannoulias’ Republican opponent, Congressman Mark Kirk, recently acknowledged embellishing his military record.

Giannoulias’ Senate website has been changed to match his official Illinois treasurer’s website, which included committee service. A campaign spokesman calls it a simple mistake.

…Adding… Some of you are not reading that AP story very well, and it may be my fault for the way I introduced it. His state website had the facts right, but his campaign site had it wrong. So, it’s not a total embellishment.

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  1. - train111 - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 3:47 pm:

    All this back and forth about Kirk and Giannoulias. Good God it almost makes me wish Roland Burris was actually running for election. Even if it wasn’t much, at least we know what we had.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 3:48 pm:

    Yeesh, If I were Alexi I’d take a story like the banker’s group every day if I could get one like this with Kirk.

    Before the partisan tinfoil hats jump in, check out McGinn’s DOD bio. Born in East St. Louis, she’s an Army kid who’s had progressively higher appointments in DOD, and has worked in the Secretary of Defense’s office since 1988.

  3. - Greg B. - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 3:51 pm:

    Is it a appropriate for a political appointee to write such a memo?

    This would strike me a chain of command issue, not a policy issue. And if the appropriate rule governing the time frame for when he has to fill out the rule is 15 days, how does the DUSD get to change that?

    Having staffed numerous correspondence though the Pentagon, I wonder about this one. Questions should be asked of DOD/PA about the memo, as well. Was it leaked?

  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 3:54 pm:

    ===Was it leaked? ===

    Nitpicker claims it was obtained from a source close to the Kirk campaign, if that helps.

    Whatever the case, the content of the memo ain’t exactly a good thing for Kirk.

  5. - Ramsin - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 3:58 pm:

    Man, these two candidates. What is wrong with our nomination process?

  6. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 3:58 pm:

    Kirk having a bad day puts a smile on my face. Lets go Alexi!

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:01 pm:

    LiO, try to keep the bumper sticker slogans out of the comment section. Thanks.

  8. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:03 pm:

    Both of these new political charges fall within the same storylines previously plowed by their political opposition. You can only mine so long in the same hole before folks lose interest.

    So, this isn’t “new”.

  9. - Berkeley Bear - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:04 pm:

    The Twitter may be one of the issues, but I suspect this goes back to when he was in Italy and Turkey in 1999-2000. Kirk made the fact he was running for Congress enough of an issue that his CO mentioned it in his fitrep. In a really weird narrative note, the same Capt. Fearnow who has backed him on the Taylor stuff mentioned the fact Kirk took time off from running for Congress as somehow being a positive. Struck me as really odd, and I doubt Kirk was able to avoid doing something campaign related during those six months.

    The pdfs of the fitreps are on Kirk’s Senate website. Generally Fearnow demonstrates a massive recurring mancrush on Kirk, but in the middle of it comes the Congressional campaign mention.

  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:10 pm:

    –”…concerns arising from his partisan political activities during his last two tours of active duty,”

    A smackdown from the DOD strikes me as “new.” They’re not saying he embellished his record.–

  11. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:11 pm:

    As I recall Rich reached out to the military over the twiter thing and never really heard back from them…

    looks like they tried to handle it internally by letting it slide. I am a bit concerned by the side issue of the military letting politicans in military jobs get away with conduct they would not allow from regular grunts

  12. - Chathamite - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:16 pm:

    Sounds pretty serious for Kirk. If only our primary were yesterday like half of the rest of the country, I really think that David Hoffman would have had a more solid campaign than frankly either Kirk or Giannoulias. And I would actually trust the guy.

  13. - Dooley Dudright - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:19 pm:

    Geez, what’s with these two guys? Don’t they get it?

    The more they bloviate and obfuscate and dissemble — the worse they make it for themselves!

    And whew!, this new DOD info is serious. EXTREMELY serious.

    Commander Kirk will do well to retire from the Navy. Honorably.

    While he still can.

  14. - CHICAGO-DEM - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:26 pm:

    Alexi ‘misremembered’…thus the reason for misstatement…I wish this blog would move on and perhaps deal with the real issues of the campaing…yes, both men, and perhaps all of us at one point in our lives attempt to look better on paper by stretching the truth just a bit…it’s time to move on…hey, does anybody even care that Bubba is only the second impeached President in the history of the US because he lied to the American people on national TV…at lest Kirk and Alexi are lying on paper????

  15. - Objective Dem - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:28 pm:

    Vanilla Man,

    I disagree with your assessment that this isn’t new. The prior story line was that Kirk “embellished” his record. This story is saying he engaged in partisan activity as a soldier. These are completely different charges unified only by the fact that both cases of Kirk’s misbehavior relates to the military.

    A related comment is most people who have been around in government know about the Hatch Act (which forbids certain political activities by people paid with federal funds) and take it very seriously. This is not a minor offense.

  16. - John Bambenek - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:36 pm:


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:42 pm:

    Bingo, John!

  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:43 pm:


  19. - Joe from Joliet - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:54 pm:

    I live for the day an honest person runs for Governor or US Senator. Given this is Illinois, we probably won’t get that for awhile.

    To paraphrase Firesign Theater album title: “I think they’re all bozos on this bus.”

    They do it all for (to) you, Illinois.

  20. - 10th Indy - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 4:57 pm:

    On Kirk - The waiver was granted, the DoD hasn’t started court marshall proceedings, or disciplined Kirk, in fact he has been regularly promoted. Maybe we should all take a breath before we start inventing the substance of the “concerns.” The way its written it is unclear if the political activity in question happened during his tour of duty or if the Navy’s concerns during his tour had to do with political activity that was entirely permissable.

    On Alexi - His official site says he served on the board of directors of the Community Banker’s Association of Illinois Legislative Committee.
    Is that right? Does the committee have a board of directors?

  21. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:08 pm:

    Stick a fork in Mark Kirk. Is that Kirk Dillard I see walking out to the bullpen?

    The good thing about that substitution is they’ll only have to whiteout half the signs. lol

    On a serious note, has anyone brought this one up again? From last year but has renewed significance. Chuck Sweeny’s column from last July. Helped Kirk then, now not so much. Seriously, a combat veteran? In TWO armies?

    “We’ve sent three armies to the Middle East and I’ve fought in two of them. As combat veterans, we get to ask, ‘Are we going to still being doing this 20 years from now?’ So I’ve been in favor of anything that gets us to energy independence,” said Kirk, an intelligence commander in the Naval Reserve who was deployed in December to Afghanistan.

  22. - shore - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:12 pm:

    1. Gray does not even begin to describe how murky the rules are on what you can and can not do while in a national security job in dc. During the bush era there were a ton of bureaucrats in the national security apparatus who openly violated hatch act rules in supporting democrats in the office while on the job. This is not new.

    2. This memo is not a piece of literature of kirk’s positions on israel that they have lying around at campaign hq, I would take it to be among the most heavily guarded campaign memo’s. how it got to a liberal blogger is not a good sign. My real belief is that a pentagon stuffed with democrats would be more likely to leak this.

  23. - 10th Indy - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:20 pm:

    JS - Kirk served in Operation Allied Force (Kosovo), Operation Northern Watch (Iraq), Afghanistan and the National Military Command Center - that’s 2 missions in the middle east.

    Shore - I’m not sure the Hatch Act applies to this situation.

  24. - 10th Indy - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:29 pm:

    Back to this Community Bankers Association Board thing for a minute -

    There is no Legislative Committe listed in the IBA Boards and Committees

    There is a Government Relations Committee that has a Chair, Vice Chair and Committee Members and then there is the Illinois BankPac Board that does have a board of directors. It might be something worth digging into given Alexi’s professed distrust of PACs.

  25. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:39 pm:

    I would take it to be among the most heavily guarded campaign memo’s. how it got to a liberal blogger is not a good sign.

    Well, I finally agree with shore! lol

    From a “national security” perspective, you’d hate to think it was someone around Kirk on a daily basis, wouldn’t you?

  26. - Bubs - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:43 pm:

    Perhaps I am missing something, but this strikes me as kerfluffle.

    A vague reference to “concerns” about political activity in a memo? No more than that, no details, but now he is tried and convicted in the blogosphere on a Court Martial, and packing his toothbrush for prison?

    The Silly Season is coming early this year, I see.

  27. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:44 pm:

    Why would someone with “connections to the Kirk campaign” leak this memo to Nitpicker?

    Does someone want Kirk to quit the race?

    Former John Edwards staffers claimed there was a plan to scuttle Edwards’ presidential campaign if he got close b/c he was too flawed a candidate.

    Could something like this be happening to Kirk? What shoes are there left to drop?

  28. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 5:53 pm:

    Commander Kirk will do well to retire from the Navy. Honorably.

    Who knows? Maybe there’s a surprise coming up (a good one), like that promotion that people “close” to Kirk have been dropping “hints” about for the past couple of months. You never know.

  29. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 6:07 pm:

    10th Indy, Afghanistan is not in the Middle East.

  30. - shore - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 6:14 pm:

    afghanistan is south central asia. middle east is egypt to iran/iraq

  31. - southwest sally - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 6:48 pm:

    Carl has a point. It’s possible the Obama Administration leaked it and Nitpicker is claiming a Kirk source for cover. That could be a huge scandal for the Administration if they not only inserted a claim into a personal military document, but then leaked it for political purposes. Think they’ll order an IG investigation?

  32. - Are ya Kiddin' Me? - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 6:51 pm:

    10th Indy you are looking at the wrong Banking Association.
    There are 2: Il. Bankers (Big Banks)
    and the 1 being discussed is the Il. Community Banks (small banks)
    anyway, isn’t the Legislative Committe part of Board and why would the Community Bankers get involved with this?
    I bet they lose some members (who support Alexi)..

  33. - shore - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:00 pm:

    Set against the backdrop of the other messes this compounds the issue.

    the note about the prior problems means more digging.

    more messes

    not good

  34. - bored now - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:01 pm:

    wow. the kirk campaign completely overlooks the tweet that most people believe violated DoD rules. sounds like kirk’s hubris continues unabated, as the rules clearly don’t pertain to him (in kirk’s, and his campaign’s, mind)…

  35. - Returning Dog - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:05 pm:

    Kirk has brought the pedantry on himself, but Middle East is understand by most people to be the region with ‘hot, sandy, Muslim countries’(and Israel). Afghanistan does fall into some broader definitions of ‘middle east’.
    It borders Iran, so you ought to be forgiven for thinking of it as M.E., without looking it up.

    His embellishments have already sunk him for me, but being told to file a memo [_early_] doesn’t exactly sound like the Navy was going too far toward a Captain’s Mast with this.

    (I _would_ like to see the part of the UCMJ that reads ‘Twitter penetration is enough to complete the offense’.)

  36. - Returning Dog - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:14 pm:

    If you read between the lines, it sounds like he has to jump thru hoops to even go. 3 Weeks ‘training’ is a lot different than ‘12-15 months’ other service members have been getting.

    His Tours look like Tourism.

  37. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:17 pm:

    Hey, pup…one could refer you to shore’s 7:00 pm, I suppose.

  38. - Berkeley Bear - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:18 pm:

    10th Indy, I believe the issue is about Kirk calling himself (again) a “combat veteran.” Plenty of people who serve honorably in our military are not in the combat specialties. It is highly inappropriate to say you have “fought” or are a “combat veteran” when your mission, as important as it is (intelligence), is not a combat specialty and the closest you got to “combat” was taking one ride in an unarmed aircraft.

    Also, at the risk of repeating myself (but in line with prior stories) Kirk’s training deployments and weekend duties are not “tours of duty” as far as the military defines such things. His deployments to Italy for Allied Force and Turkey for Northern Watch are, and happened while he was actively campaigning in the Illinois 10th CD. It may well be that the concerns relate to that time period rather than anything happening more recently.

  39. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:20 pm:

    Didn’t Kirk say he was going to release all his military records? Was he lying about this too?

    Now he’s whining that someone connected with his campaign released info from the records Kirk claimed he was releasing voluntarily.

    Man-up, CDR Kirk. You’ve made some big mistakes. Quit blaming others.

  40. - Sarge - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:21 pm:

    I thought my six months was a short tour to Afghanistan. How do I get a Mark Kirk two week tour?

  41. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:23 pm:

    the kirk campaign completely overlooks the tweet that most people believe violated DoD rules.

    Seems just like yesterday that we were talking about that, “crab apples” (was it?), and cute little puppies, doesn’t it?

  42. - oneman - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 7:42 pm:

    Just because he says he got it from someone close to the campaign means that’s true.

    I think the response is good, interesting to see if the foia thing goes anyplace

  43. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 9:10 pm:

    Just got around to watching the ABC GOP Primary Senate Debate (I know, I’m waaaay tardy) where Kirk had a “prior commitment” and the other three attacked him most of the time. The funny thing is that Andy Martin’s entire closing statement was accusing Kirk of embellishing his military record. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  44. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 9:15 pm:

    OK, I’ve been lazy with my new handle here and there. The 9:10 was NOT mine. (Oy.)

  45. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 9:23 pm:

    And just for the record, way back when we first had the discussion re: Kirk’s “tweets”, the Anonymous post WERE mine. (That was before anyone challenged my claim to “Anonymous”–WillCountyWoman in particular.)

  46. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 9:32 pm:

    Whatever happened to her, BTW? (Don’t scream, I’m not necessarily hoping she’ll return.)

  47. - Joe - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 9:39 pm:

    So let me get this straight: Kirk’s campaign is p.o.’d that someone who might not be a Republican is exercising one of our citizen rights to access information via FOIA? Wow. I thought Kirk was all about freedom & constitutional rights etc. for everyone.

    For some reason, this reminds me of an incident that happened back in October 2006 when one of Kirk’s staffers threatened Robert M. Schrayer national chairman of the Tel Aviv University American Council and on the board of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago by stopping funding for the Tel Aviv University as well as Schrayer’s position therein. Seems like the phrase “revenge is a dish best served cold” rings a bell.

  48. - Joe - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 9:44 pm:

    OK, I reread Kirk’s statement. My mistake. He wants to use the FOIA to find out who has been snooping on him. Well, that certainly is his right.

    But I stand by my sentiment that Kirk & his campaign isn’t innocent in the dirty tricks game.

  49. - Zoble21 - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 10:42 pm:

    So let me get this straight, since Giannoulias doesn’t have any military experience we will just try to tear Kirks apart. Good Job Rich.

  50. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 11:26 pm:

    From Kirk’s response:

    –The document in question should be viewed for what it is - a baseless political ploy by partisans bent on defending a U.S. Senate seat at any cost.–

    Is he accusing the author of the document, Dep. Sec. McGinn, of being a partisan defending a Dem. Senate seat? Her bio doesn’t read that way. She joined the Office of Secretary of Defense in 1988, under Reagan, and has served continually at the Pentagon in different positions under GOP and Dem administrations.

  51. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 11:30 pm:

    Zoble21…you’re absolutely right…Giannoulias’ lack of a military record makes him a better candidate…huh?

  52. - RFK fan - Wednesday, Jun 9, 10 @ 11:43 pm:

    Shore, as a reserve officer and sometime low-level candidate, let me tell you that the rules are not all that unclear. Morever, the spirit is clear–and the Twittering that “all is quiet” from, supposedly, the Pentagon intelligence center is something that would make every thinking military person just wince. And BTW, saying that the rules are unclear for national security folk isn’t quite the same thing as saying the rules are unclear for military folk.

  53. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 12:47 am:

    Awww…aren’t they cute? A through Z?

  54. - nitpicker - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 3:29 am:

    As the person to whom the memo was sent, I would like to direct you to my response to Kirk’s statement, especially his implication that I am a political operative working in collusion with a campaign or the Obama administration. Honestly, folks, I’m just a vet who Kirk first ticked off in 2005 when he claimed to be a veteran of Iraqi Freedom. When I recently discovered he had made numerous false claims, I got back on the hobby horse. Period. Any other suggestion is either a false attempt to shift the focus of this issue or a true attempt to describe the campaign’s own paranoia.

  55. - Team America - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 6:41 am:

    Fair enough, Nitpicker. Next question - care to reveal who sent you the memo? Inquiring minds wannna know.

  56. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 8:08 am:

    TA, are you stupid or do you just play stupid online?

    The source presumably doesn’t want to be publicly known. And the identity of the source doesn’t matter b/c Kirk isn’t contesting the authenticity of the document.

    Kirk supporters want to make it out that his military “experience” is some big plus. But when you study Kirk’s military experience.

    1. he hasn’t spent much time on active duty
    2. he has significant gaps in his knowledge about the military and how it works

    And there are two inferences one can make about Kirk feeling the need to lie about his service.

    1. he’s not impressed with his own record and feels it doesn’t give him the qualifications he should have


    2. he’s a pathological liar and can’t help himself

  57. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 8:40 am:

    Nitpicker, your name is correct. You are picking at nits at a time when we are facing much bigger issues as Illinoisans and as Americans. While it is news that Kirk embellished his record, these new claims are not new. They are merely more garbage to dig through that is little more than subjected conjecture.

    Perhaps you find it distasteful for a soldier to go into politics after what a soldier experiences in war. The bottom line here is that we have a candidate with similar experiences as you, and can use that kind of knowledge and war wisdom in the US Senate. As you pick at nits, we, as voters, must choose someone for a six year term in Congress between a man with similar experiences as you, or a man without. Whom would you choose?

    Your personal attacks may be intentionally meant to set a record straight, however, you are not taking into consideration the larger picture voters in Illinois must consider.

    I do not like to see soldiers attacked by political hacks because they felt that our community could benefit from their war experiences and wisdom. You see, political hacks are clueless regarding war. Unlike you and Kirk, they attack not because of a need to survive for their fellow brothers in combat, but because they find it sporting.

    Stop tearing down a fellow soldier.

  58. - Joe - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 8:54 am:

    I do not like to see soldiers attacked by political hacks because they felt that our community could benefit from their war experiences and wisdom.

    Like Kirk’s experience & wisdom to claim that he knew there were WMDs in Iraq — one of the biggest cons that led our country into this illegal & immoral war? Mark Kirk spread those WMD lies within the district and on the House floor as part of the sales pitch for the war, Kirk having been one of 9 republican congressmen chosen by Don Rumsfeld to sell the war in Congress and at home.

    We can do without that kind of experience & wisdom.

  59. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 8:58 am:


    Did you notice how Kirk casually called Nitpicker a liar?

    Why is it OK for Kirk to insult and dismiss veterans but it’s not OK in your world for veterans to criticize Kirk?

  60. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 9:01 am:

    Yeah - hack jobs like that.

    How many men and women in Congress do we have that have experienced war? Whatever that figure is, we need more of them. We are now fighting our longest war - in Afghanistan. Exactly what makes political hacks who believe that soldiers ought to stay out of political office, believe that soldiers favor warfare? My gut says it is because these critics have no war experiences.

    So here we are once again, reading a policial claim that Kirk and the US knew there were no WMD in Iraq and just wanted us to start a war. How remarkable that after all these years, we are still reading this ridiculous accusation. This is the kind of political hack job, I’d like to stop seeing being perpetrated against our veterans running for public office.

    These boobs attacked Kerry, then McCain, and now think that any veteran should be open to these ignorant attacks. It is time to treat these people with the respect they earned, just as we do if they don’t run for public office.

    Not everything has to become political spin for nitpickers.

  61. - Joe - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 9:04 am:

    VM — did you *really* support Kerry when he was being swiftboated?

  62. - FillB - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 9:10 am:

    “This is the kind of political hack job, I’d like to stop seeing being perpetrated against our veterans running for public office.”

    If you are going to use your military experience as your basis for running for office, you should rightly expect that experience will be scrutinized. Just as if you used your experience as a gadfly or a contractor…or a banker.

    No one is forcing anyone to run for office.

  63. - Peggy SO-IL - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 10:08 am:

    Kirk’s reply sounds very good. But, you know what? I kept thinking, …so long as he’s stating facts accurately and not embellishing. He’s done that to his own reputation. However, I’d still rather have him than a tool of the radical Obama agenda.

    I have to say I am surprised he’s explicitly mentioned the gay accusations. I think that’s rather gutsy. Who wants to mention that kind of slander? I almost believe that is he not at all gay. Some people just don’t do marriage or relationships very well. They’re not always secretly gay. [Though the hillbuzz bloggers in Chicago are obsessed with the theory that all the GOPers are secretly gay.]

  64. - nitpicker - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 12:42 pm:


    While I do find much of what passes for politics in our society generally “distasteful,” it’s no more or less distasteful when the person perpetuating it is a veteran. What I do find horrible is when people sully the uniform for political purposes. I didn’t like Bush’s staged and scripted political events with soldiers. I don’t like anti-DADT activists chaining themselves to the White House fence in uniform.

    And I don’t like Mark Kirk. He lied about that award, about the fact it was an individual award, about when and how he “discovered” the “error,” about being an Iraqi Freedom veteran, about being the only Congressman to serve during Iraqi Freedom, about being a Desert Storm veteran, about taking fire in an airplane, about his trips to Afghanistan, about the Tweets he said he didn’t do (but then said he would “not do again”) and about how he runs the “War Room” on drill weekends.

    You say you want someone with knowledge and war wisdom, but Kirk was stationed in Aviano, Italy, during Kosovo, for two months. I believe he did some great work there, but to claim, as he once did, that he won awards there for his “combat service” when no evidence of his having been in combat is reprehensible.

    He took two week trips to Afghanistan–trips which would not be allowed a non-politician–and acted like he deployed, while every other service member gets orders for a minimum of six months running upwards to a year-and-a-half. I spent a year in Afghanistan and two months just training to go. To compare Kirk’s wartime experience with that of those who’ve earned their campaign medals is to compare throwing a bullet to shooting one.

    There are non-military falsehoods as well and probably more military ones I have forgotten, but I think you get my point.

  65. - nitpicker - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 12:46 pm:

    Look at that list above and tell me you honestly believe you can trust Mark Kirk. Showing that a politician has demonstrated a lack of character is in no way “picking nits.”

  66. - Jeff Y - Thursday, Jun 10, 10 @ 10:10 pm:

    Kirk has no business holding public office anymore. He needs to resign.

    Kirk has had to walk his military resume back three times already. It is virtually all he can claim as an accomplishment. The man is an untrustworthy weasel.

    Kirk’s military exaggerations go way beyond Blumenthal misstating “during” versus “in” once in 2008 - this is a pattern of exaggeration and overselling his qualifications from his first campaign ad for Congress to the present day. Kirk basically introduced himself to the wider Illinois electorate with a series of lies. He went hard right on issues from his prior positions in the GOP primary, and he’s done his best to not say anything about the issues ever since. So now that his lies have been revealed, he quite literally has nothing to say to the general populace.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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