A story by the Omaha World-Herald today could spell deeper trouble for the mysterious naval officer who produced a fake memo at the request of U.S. Senate candidate and former Navy pilot Shane Osborn.
The World-Herald reported that television station KETV in Omaha declined to run a 60 Plus Association ad featuring retired service members who disapprove of Osborn because he created and circulated a fake memo. KETV refused to air the ad after a (likely empty) threat of lawsuit by the Osborn campaign. Breitbart’s Frances Martel has more on how this is playing out here.
The threat hinges on the ad’s use of the word “create.” The Osborn campaign insists that, although Osborn requested, circulated, and took responsibility for the memo, he did not create it because he did not write it. Just like Barack Obama didn’t create Obamacare and Aaron Sorkin didn’t create The West Wing.
Osborn’s friend who did write the memo–and according to the Osborn campaign, the creator of the memo–could now be in serious trouble. The World-Herald reports today that, “Osborn didn’t write the memo himself. He said he asked the help of a former Navy officer and fellow survivor who supports him politically. The supporter approached a mutual friend in the Pentagon about writing the memo.” Osborn is hanging his “friend” out to dry by admitting that the memo was politically motivated and political in nature.
The memo is a direct and obvious violation of DoD Directive 1344.10 “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty.” DoD Directive 1344.10 states that “A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not…Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election, affect the course or outcome of an election” it also states, “Activities not expressly prohibited may be contrary to the spirit and intent of this Directive. Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security (in the case of the Coast Guard) or any component of these Departments with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this Directive shall be avoided.”
Issuing a memo, on official Navy letterhead, not authorized by the Navy, to support the campaign efforts of a US Senate candidate violates this directive. If Shane Osborn makes good on his lawsuit threats, he’ll ruin his friend’s career if he hasn’t done so already. Is Shane Osborn really that selfish? I guess we’ll find out.