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Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs
WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has condemned the unauthorized release of draft findings of a working group studying the impact of a potential repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, and he has ordered an investigation into the source, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Nov. 12.
Gates is "very concerned and extremely disappointed" that unnamed sources selectively revealed aspects of Comprehensive Review Working Group's draft findings, Morrell said in a statement, "presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release."
The report is due to Gates Dec. 1.
The secretary launched the review in March to objectively ascertain the impact of repealing the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law on military readiness, effectiveness, recruiting, retention, unit cohesion and families, Morrell noted.
"[Gates] made it clear then and throughout this process that it was 'critical that this effort be carried out in a professional, thorough and dispassionate manner,'" Morrell said. "He has also stated clearly that 'given the political dimension of this issue, it is equally critical that ... every effort be made to shield our men and women in uniform and their families from those aspects of this debate.'"
Morrell noted that the working group has operated for nearly nine months in strict accordance to Gates' mandate. "Anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of this process," he said.
"The secretary strongly condemns the unauthorized release of information related to this report and has directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of Department policy and his specific instruction, Morrell said.
The report is due to Gates Dec. 1, and the full report will be made public early next month. "Until then, no one at the Pentagon will comment on its contents," he said.