WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army’s top general said Wednesday his service has failed in a “significant amount” of cases to alert the FBI to soldiers’ criminal history.
“It’s not just an Air Force problem. This is a problem across all the services where we have gaps in reporting criminal activity of people in service.”
The statement by Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, was the most concrete indication that the problem is not confined to the Air Force. That military branch acknowledged last week that it had failed to tell the FBI about the assault conviction of Devin P. Kelley, a former airman who killed 26 people in a Texas church on Nov. 5. That failure made it possible for Kelley to acquire weapons that federal law prohibited him from buying or possessing after his 2012 conviction.
The day after the Texas church shooting, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis ordered the Pentagon’s inspector general to review the handling of criminal records in the Kelley case. The airman was convicted of assaulting his then-wife and stepson. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail and given a bad conduct discharge, which was completed in 2014.
“There are gaps and failures on our part to report in to the FBI,” Milley said, “We have a significant amount of omissions. It clearly tells us that we need to tighten up.”
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