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Inquiry clears SOCom leader

Anonymous allegations that the MacDill-based special forces commander manipulated contracts are unsubstantiated, a Pentagon report says.

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN
Published September 2, 2006


A Pentagon investigation has cleared the leader of the U. S. Special Operations Command of accusations of wrongdoing made last fall in an anonymous letter.

The Pentagon's inspector general's office called the allegations against Army Gen. Bryan "Doug" Brown unsubstantiated in a brief statement released Friday.

The letter alleged that Brown directed lucrative defense contracts to friends and former SOCom commanders, interfered with internal investigations and violated federal spending laws.

The letter attracted widespread attention because SOCom at MacDill Air Force Base is the military unit charged with leading the nation's war on terrorism.

Col. Samuel Taylor, a public affairs officer for SOCom, said he was pleased with the results.

"Gen. Brown's career - which spans more than three decades - has been one of great distinction without any hint of impropriety, so the allegations lacked credibility from the beginning," Taylor said. "The results of the investigation were exactly what we expected."

Taylor said he learned Friday that the investigation was completed Aug. 25. Brown was visiting with special forces units out of the country, Taylor said.

A Pentagon spokesman said late Friday that he could not obtain a copy of the completed investigation. But Taylor provided the St. Petersburg Times with a brief statement from the inspector general's office saying the investigation was over and that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

The investigation began in October after the anonymous letter was sent to the Times as well as to Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. C.W. Bill Young and the Pentagon's inspector general, the agency's investigative branch.

The letter accused Brown of "conflicts of interest, preferential treatment and undue command influence." The letter also said Brown operated a secret program involving body armor and other equipment that has "been falsely briefed to Congress."

It was signed, "A few former and present USSOCOM Employees" and used both "we" and "I" to identify the author or authors.

Taylor, the SOCom spokesman, said he did not expect any further investigations to discover who made the allegations.

Times staff writer Paul De La Garza contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or 727 893-8472.