CALIFORNIA: Dismissed gay veterans sue
Three military veterans who were discharged under the law that prohibits gays from serving openly in uniform sued the government Monday to be reinstated and to pressure lawmakers to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law before a new Congress is sworn in. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco seeks to have the ban on openly gay troops declared unconstitutional. "I just feel like this is a necessary step for doing away with this policy," said Anthony Loverde, a former Air Force staff sergeant. Loverde, 31, is working in Iraq for a private military contractor providing the Army with technical support. The suit was also filed on behalf of former Air Force Maj. Michael Almy, 40, and former Navy Petty Officer Second Class Jason Knight, 28. The action comes four days after the Senate blocked a military spending bill that would have repealed the 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops.
CONNECTICUT: Military sex assault records sought
Sexual assault pervades the military, but the Pentagon refuses to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups said in a federal lawsuit that seeks access to the records. Tens of thousands of service members have reported some form of sexual assault, harassment or trauma in the past decade, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in New Haven against the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The plaintiffs include the Service Women's Action Network, the ACLU of Connecticut and Yale Law School students. The groups want information on the number of acquittals, convictions and sentences, the number of disability claims related to sexual trauma that were accepted and rejected, and the number of sexual harassment complaints.
WASHINGTON: Inquiry was a waste, Norton says
Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton says the Obama administration "wasted millions of taxpayer dollars" in a now closed probe of her ties to an oil company where she took a job after leaving government. Norton told The Associated Press that the nearly two-year investigation by the Interior Department's inspector general was "an attempt to find imagined wrongdoing." Norton, Interior secretary from 2001 to 2006, was accused of using her position to steer lucrative oil leases to Royal Dutch Shell PLC, where she took a job nine months after leaving Interior. Mary Kendall, the Interior Department's acting inspector general, said Friday that the investigation failed to prove a conflict of interest.