U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (WA-09) and Mike Honda (CA-15) today submitted a letter to Thomas F. Gimble, Acting Inspector General for the Department of Defense, requesting a quick completion of the investigation into the Army’s treatment of Captain James Yee.  Yee was arrested in 2003 on espionage charges and held in solitary confinement for 76 days, only to be released and honorably discharged from service. 

Smith and Honda, along with Reps. Ike Skelton (MO-04) and Vic Snyder (AR-02), requested in June 2004 that the Department of Defense investigate the Army’s treatment of Yee.  The department began an investigation in December 2004.  The Defense Department has still not completed its inquiry despite repeated requests by Members of Congress for an expeditious resolution.

“Our servicemembers deserve to be treated fairly by the Department of Defense.  Captain Yee’s arrest, incarceration, and release raise serious questions as to whether the department follows its own rules when troops are accused of a crime,” Smith said.  “The Department of Defense needs to conclude its inquiry into this matter as quickly as possible.  This investigation has already taken too long.”

Below is a copy of the letter that Smith and Honda sent to Acting Inspector General Gimble.

August 31, 2006

Thomas F. Gimble
Acting Inspector General
Department of Defense
400 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-4704

Dear Mr. Gimble:

We write to urge you to complete, as expeditiously as possible, your office’s evaluation of the Army’s handling of the criminal investigation of Army Chaplain, Captain James Yee.

As you know, in September 2003 Captain Yee was arrested on suspicion of espionage and other treasonous conduct, later charged with separate crimes, held in solitary confinement for 76 days, and ultimately released, with all criminal charges dropped.  Captain Yee was later honorably discharged from the Army in January 2005.

Due to the unusual facts surrounding Captain Yee’s case, in June 2004 we requested that your office investigate the Army’s handling of the case to determine whether Captain Yee was treated appropriately and in accordance with applicable military regulations, policies and procedures.  In December 2004, your office initiated such an evaluation.

We write to inquire as to the status of the evaluation and to urge your office to complete it in a timely manner. A recent written update from your office indicated that the evaluation is still ongoing, and gave no target completion date.  In response to earlier telephone inquiries from our offices, your staff had indicated that the evaluation would be completed during the spring of 2006.  Most recently, your staff indicated that there has been a delay in the evaluation and that the new tentative target completion date is mid-October 2006.

We hope that you will be able to complete this evaluation expeditiously and meet this October 2006 target completion date.  The completion of a fair and thorough investigation is critical not only to bring closure to Captain Yee’s case, but to ensure the integrity of our military justice system.

Thank you for your continued work on this matter.  We look forward to the results of your evaluation.

Adam Smith                            
Member of Congress

Mike Honda
Member of Congress