THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Thursday, November 3, 1994 TAG: 9411030428 SECTION: FRONT PAGE: A1 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY JACK DORSEY, STAFF WRITER LENGTH: Medium: 85 lines
Adm. Henry H. Mauz Jr., the former Atlantic Fleet commander whose retirement was held up by a Senate panel for 3 1/2 months, lashed back Wednesday at the freshman senator who was chiefly responsible for the delay.
``You have commented on the need to hold our senior officers accountable. I suggest that a U.S. senator has the same code and that in the case of your actions during my confirmation you should also be held accountable,'' Mauz said in a letter to Sen. Patty Murray. ``You showed little interest in the truth.''
Mauz's letter was dated Tuesday, his first day as a civilian after a military career that spanned more than 35 years. Monday was the effective date of his retirement from the Norfolk-based Atlantic Command, one of the Navy's largest with 200,000 service personnel, 220 ships and 1,500 aircraft.
Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, had sought the delay to allow more investigation into complaints against Mauz by two Navy personnel - a lawyer who said the admiral mishandled her complaint of sexual harassment and a whistleblower who said Mauz exerted undue influence in court-martial proceedings against him.
``The allegations were absolutely false,'' Mauz wrote. The Senate Armed Services Committee eventually agreed that Mauz's actions were appropriate and the full Senate, voting Sept. 20, approved his retirement 92-6 despite a floor speech by Murray.
In a statement Wednesday, Murray said she had sought further investigation because she believed the Navy and the Armed Services Committee had dismissed the two complaints too quickly.
``Adm. Mauz's letter reflects my experience that when I raise questions related to sexual harassment and whistleblowing, in response, I get don't get answers, I get personal attacks,'' she said.
Murray said her interest in Mauz's retirement was heightened by a discussion she had with Adm. Jeremy ``Mike'' Boorda, chief of naval operations, in which ``very serious questions'' were raised about one of the individuals involved. But minutes afterward, she said, Boorda's staff retracted information she had been provided.
``To this day, I remain deeply troubled by how difficult it is for me to get straight information and straight facts from the Navy. If it is difficult for a U.S. senator to get important information from the Navy, imagine what it is like for military personnel to get answers when questions persist regarding their own cases.''
She sought a public hearing on the complaints, which is rare in military retirements. The Senate is required to confirm the retirements of top military officers, which originate with presidential nominations.
Even in the case of Adm. Frank B. Kelso II, who retired early as chief of naval operations because of the Tailhook scandal, the only public testimony was by senior defense officials speaking on Kelso's behalf.
Without Senate approval, Mauz, 58, would have been able to retire with only two stars. The demotion would have cut $1,275 per month from his pension.
Murray's state is home to several Navy installations, including a submarine base, naval station, naval air station and shipyard.
Mauz maintains that all the information Murray or any of the senators needed was available in the Armed Services Committee and that nothing was withheld.
``Despite the reams of data clearly proving the allegations groundless, you voted against my confirmation,'' along with five other senators, most notably Barbara Boxer of California who also spoke on the floor of the Senate.
Mauz said people have advised him to view the lopsided Senate vote as vindication. ``Maybe so,'' he wrote, ``but I consider the six dissenting votes to be an injustice that should not be allowed to stand without comment.''
The other senators casting negative votes, all Democrats, were Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Howard M. Metzenbaum of Ohio, Carol Moseley-Braun and Paul Simon of Illinois.
Murray, in her Senate floor arguments, won a concession from Sen. Sam Nunn, the Georgia Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to overhaul the committee's approval process. One result may be a longer wait for military promotions and retirements as the process becomes more thorough.
Mauz concluded his letter to Murray by suggesting she could improve her accountability rating by visiting his former command. ``If I were still with the Atlantic Fleet, I would invite you,'' he said. ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
Adm. Henry H. Mauz Jr. to Sen. Patty Murray[b/w photo], below: ``You
showed little interest in the truth.''