Spy? Adulterer? Both?

I blogged about the arrest of Chaplain Captain James Yee who was charged with disobeying an order for allegedly taking classified material from Guantanamo and improperly transporting it. Now, his case has taken a strange turn.

The U.S. military on Tuesday charged a Muslim chaplain accused of taking classified material from the U.S. prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with adultery and storing pornography on a government computer.

The new charges include making a false statement, storing pornography on a government computer and having sexual relations outside marriage, which violates military law.

Does the US military prosecute adultery allegations? Does that happen often? I am completely ignorant here, so help me out.

Raul Duany, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command, said the military released Army Capt. James Yee from custody and will allow him to return to duty at a base in Georgia.

He’s being released. Does that mean he’s not a dangerous spy? He’s also starting regular duty. Seems strange to me, but I know nothing about the military.

Yee will be prohibited from having contact with prisoners at Guantanamo, the spokesman said.

Do the previous charges still stand? Or have they been dropped?

Since I have no idea about military law, I checked Phil Carter’s weblog. Phil is a former army officer and currently a law student.

The case of CPT James Yee, the Muslim chaplain suspected of espionage at Guantanamo Bay, took a strange turn today when the Army decided to release him from the military brig at Charleston to regular duty at Fort Benning, GA. The Army also added new counts to his current charges of mishandling classified information, including allegations of adultery, storing pornography on a government computer, and disobeying a lawful order. The next step for CPT Yee is an Art. 32 hearing, which is somewhat like a grand jury hearing, and then he may face a general court martial for his actions. Suffice to say, the stakes are much lower than when I wrote this article arguing for capital punishment in this case. But I still think there is more here than meets the eye. I expect we’ll see more charges in the near future — more to follow.

I hope he has more because I am thoroughly confused.

(Via Talking Points Memo.)

UPDATE: Also, see this NY Times article.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. I am very confused as well. I thought the U.S. was superior to Muslim countries in that we don’t prosecute people for adultery and possession of pornography?

    Yee was previously stationed in Washington state, and his wife is staying in this area. I met her briefly at an iftar the other week and I can only imagine how she must be feeling.

    It’s hard for me to take this seriously.

  2. The US military legal code does prohibit adultery. The law is rarely enforced, and there was some controversy a few years ago when it was seen to be used to target senior ranking women, while men were allowed to quitely retire.

    I expect, like that old Abdullah el-higazy case, and the four muslim med students, that this whole affair will turn out to be paranoia and overreaction.

    Phil Carter thinks that the US gvt does have a real case against Yee, but is not mentioning it. I think there is no case, and the gvt is looking for charged to throw at him. I wonder if the US military impartially enforces the ban on storing pron on all members of the armed forces? (The charge of improperly storing classified docs is what the gvt eventually used agaisnt Wen-ho Lee, and was also something done by the former head of the CIA.)

    The net result: Muslim-American in the armed forces should be very very cautious about directly helping the US gvt in the war against terror. It may result in them being targetted for porn, adultery, and improperly storing classifed docs. Selective prosecution against perceived internal enemies?

    Now perhpas I’m overreacting.

  3. I had a good laugh about this. If it was not so serious, it’d make for a good joke.
    But seriously, can you imagine. Adultery is a violation of military law!!???!!! I am thinking of Clinton particularly, wasn’t he Commander-In-Chief?
    The US war on terror is getting curiouser and curiouser. From spying to adultery.

    Now I am holding my breath for Pipes and Mark Steyn to come out and correct their handling of this story. Ok, after I update my will.

  4. It does seem that usually the military stacks on the adultery charge to other charges but the adultery charge alone almost never happens.

  5. The US military does file adultery charges not infrequently, particularly against officers, because it’s seen as prejudicial to god conduct and discipline and also as conduct unbecoming an officer. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

    OTOH, see a recent Washington Post story on a prosecution for adultery in Virginia. Adultery is still illegal in many states, and legislators are unwilling to actively strike it off the books because they can then be ataccked by the religious right (Christian and otherwise) for being anti-family, immoral, and encouraging “sinful” behavior.

    Democracy doesn’t always mean toleration or openmindedness, and the US is one of the best examples of that, though not the only one.

  6. I am in the military, enlisted. I was accused of rape that was later found to be consensual. the catch is, that my command is enforcing the adultery charge even though my wife testified that we were separated at the time. I am stationed overseas where dependents cannot be located, and there are several people on this whole base that are committing this “crime against the military law”. I am begining to feel like I am the example boy, to warn others.

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