A military watchdog says the Senate should confirm an Air Force general – who has been a target of the #MeToo movement – to become the nation's second-highest ranking military officer.
General John Hyten (USAF) (pictured) has been nominated to become the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But the four-star general has been accused of sexual misconduct by a subordinate officer, prompting an exhaustive probe by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. But the OSI probe found no evidence to corroborate former aide Army Colonel Kathryn Spletstoser's accusations against Hyten, and multiple witnesses said they had never seen Hyten act inappropriately or unprofessionally toward his accuser.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, says it "just was not credible" how the general's accuser portrayed him.
"But the OSI is known for doing thorough investigations based on facts and evidence," she continues. "We need to recognize that some accusations are not substantiated for good reasons; and a person's innocence should be protected – they are innocent until proven guilty."
Donnelly says she finds it unfortunate that politics came into play with Hyten's nomination.
"Confirmations are always political because confirmations are voted on by politicians," she states bluntly. "In this case, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) asked some questions of the general [in which] she implied that … facts don't matter. She [essentially] said even if there is no evidence, that doesn't mean that the accusations aren't true."
Senator Hirono is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, before whom Hyten appeared in late July.
But Donnelly predicts that if members of the Senate review all the facts, they will approve the nomination of Hyten to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.