May 27, 1996 in Nation/World

Lehman Blames Media For Navy Turmoil


Turmoil and low morale in the Navy are consequences of reporters too focused on the peccadillos of senior officers and the White House insistence on political correctness, former Navy Secretary John Lehman said Sunday.

Lehman, appearing on ABC’s “This Week With David Brinkley,” also lashed out at the Senate Armed Services Committee, normally regarded as a stalwart ally of the military, for not defending officers whose careers were tainted by the 1991 Tailhook scandal.

Lehman, who served as Ronald Reagan’s Navy secretary from 1981 to 1987, said the suicide earlier this month of the Navy’s highest-ranked officer, Adm. Jeremy Boorda, resulted from media attention on Navy scandals.

The Navy has been rocked in recent years by a series of incidents, including the Tailhook sexual assault scandal, an alarming number of F-14 crashes and allegations of drug use, larceny and cheating at the Naval Academy.

Asked about reports that he too had participated in public lewdness during a 1981 Tailhook convention, Lehman, while not denying the story, said it was unimportant.

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