Two Admirals Caught In Widening Bribery Scandal

VADM Ted Branch

The chief of naval intelligence and his main deputy have now been caught up in the widening Navy bribery scandal involving hookers, port visits, and an alleged fixer known as "Fat Leonard."

In a statement Friday night, the Navy said that the security clearances and access to classified material of Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the director of Naval Intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, the director of Intelligence Operations, had been revoked and both had been placed on leave.

The statement from Rear Adm. John Kirby, the chief of Naval Information, said "the decision to suspend their classified access was made based upon the nature of allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless in connection with an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into illegal and improper relations with Leonard Francis," the head of the Glenn Defense Marine firm.

"The allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involve inappropriate conduct prior to their current assignments and flag officer rank," Kirby said. He did not detail the inappropriate conduct but said "there is no indication, nor do the allegations suggest, that in either case there was any breach of classified information."

Neither officer has been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

The Singapore-based Francis allegedly bribed Navy officers with prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets, limo service, and cash for classified information on the scheduled port visits of Navy ships that could be serviced by his company.

Two Navy commanders and a senior NCIS agent have already been arrested under charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego in connection with the case, and a Navy captain was relieved of his command for his alleged involvement.

San Diego prosecutors have alleged that Francis' schemes to service ships and submarines defrauded the Navy of at least $10 million. He is currently being held without bond in San Diego after prosecutors argued that, as a Malaysian citizen, he posed a flight risk.

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