The Air Force said Thursday that a “junior individual” improperly released House GOP candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green’s private personnel file that contained information about a sexual assault she suffered in Iraq — which she claims her Democratic opponent used against her.
“Based on the preliminary findings of an investigation, it appears information from Jennifer-Ruth Green’s service record was released to a third party by a junior individual who didn’t follow proper procedures and obtain required consent,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told The Post Thursday.
It’s the first time the service is publicly acknowledging its role in the leak of the file, which Politico reporter Adam Wren used in an Oct. 7 profile outing the candidate’s assault despite her pleas to keep the information private.
“We said, ‘No, please don’t [publish the assault]’ — and they did it anyway,” Green said of Politico and Wren during an interview with Fox News Digital earlier this month. “At one point in my life, I said to my assailant, ‘No, please stop, don’t’ and he did what he wanted to do. This is the exact same situation all over again, all because there was a man who wanted some sort of gratification.”
Green’s assault happened while she was assigned to a special investigations unit in Iraq working to neutralize terrorist and espionage threats, Politico wrote. The personnel file included an evaluation of the incident in which her superiors faulted her for “wandering away” from the group before her assailant exposed himself to her. The criticism hindered her ability to rise in the ranks.
Politico spokesman Brad Dayspring told The Post Tuesday that the information was “obtained by a public record request and provided to Politico by a source.”
After Green was outed, she accused incumbent Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan of “fishing” her assault story to news outlets, “asking them to share misinformation to portray me as a failed military officer who lacks integrity.” She also told Fox News Digital she suspected Politico would have handled the situation differently if she were a Democrat.
“If I were on the other side of the ticket, they would weep for me; they would mourn for me,” she told the outlet. “Only because I’m a Republican do they feel this is acceptable.”
The Air Force statement comes a day after Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) said in a joint statement that Air Force watchdog Lt. Gen. Stephen Davis had told them the service took “full responsibility” for the release of Green’s confidential records to an unnamed political research firm.
“On [Tuesday’s] call, the Air Force took full responsibility for improperly releasing Lt. Col. Green’s confidential personnel records to an opposition research firm just weeks before the midterm election,” the congressmen said. “Lt. Gen. Davis informed us that the leaker has been identified and will be held accountable.”
Stefanek declined to say how the unnamed person will be held accountable.
Five US congressmen and former military fighter pilots are pressing the Air Force for more information. Reps. August Pfluger (R-Texas), Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), C. Scott Franklin (R-Fla.) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah) sent Davis a letter Thursday calling the incident “illegal.”
“The timing of the leak indicates that this illegal act was politically motivated with the intention of interfering in the upcoming November election,” the congressmen said. “As former military pilots, we find the leaking of a veteran’s personal information by the Air Force for political purposes is especially egregious and should not be tolerated.”
The group asked Davis to reveal the status of the investigation, if they intend to forward the unnamed leaker’s case to the Justice Department for prosecution and if his office is “recommending to the Department of Justice that they also pursue charges against the
organizations who knowingly disseminated these illegally obtained records.”
The veterans also want to know what steps the Air Force will take to ensure a similar situation does not happen again and if it has identified any other victims whose confidential personnel records were improperly accessed.
“We ask that you respond to the following questions in writing by Nov. 4,” the lawmakers wrote. “This gross and illegal violation of Lt. Col. Green’s privacy must be dealt with immediately, and the individual(s) involved must be held accountable.”