“Army Officer Speaks Out: Uncovering His Harrowing Story of Retribution Following the Capitol Riot
In a shocking report, an Army officer who was on guard at the US Capitol has alleged that he experienced reprisal from his superiors due to giving an account of how he and other officers responded to the January 6th Capitol riot.
According to Michael Stenger, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and a Maryland resident, he and other officers were ordered to remain passive and in defensive positions during the insurrection. On January 8th, Stenger published an account of the events on the blog for the University of Maryland where he has been an adjunct professor since 2016.
When his superiors learned of his post, they allegedly launched a counterintelligence investigation into his social media accounts and tried to force him to sign a non-disclosure agreement about his “observations and opinions” regardless of whether they subpoenaed him or not. This agreement demanded that Stenger never publicly discuss or discuss publicly the events of the Capitol insurrection or the response of law enforcement that day.
Stenger and his lawyers filed a complaint to the Department of Defense Inspector General and the US Army Reserve Command claiming that he had experienced reprisal.
The Inspector General for the Army found that Stenger had indeed experienced reprisal from his superiors for bringing attention to his account of the Capitol riot. The Inspector General reported that it was in direct violation of Army Regulations.
Despite the finding, Stenger’s lawyers stated that the US Army Reserve Command has yet to take any action to address the retaliatory investigation, harassment, and potential gag order he experienced for writing the blog post.
In a statement to the Washington Post, a spokesperson for the US Army Reserve Command said that they could not comment on the details of the investigation given the ongoing proceedings, but that they are working to ensure that all service members are treated with dignity and respect.
The Inspector General’s report could potentially serve as a beacon of hope for some, as it shows that the military can and will investigate any reprisal claims brought forth by service members. Furthermore, this report is proof that service members feel safe enough to speak out against injustices they have experienced, even if it means standing up to those in power.
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