Pentagon Reassigns Top Official Arrested in Nanny Parking Dispute

This photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Bryan Whitman at the Pentagon portrait studio in Washington, on March 28, 2014. (Eboni L. Everson-Myart/U.S. Army via AP)
This photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Bryan Whitman at the Pentagon portrait studio in Washington, on March 28, 2014. (Eboni L. Everson-Myart/U.S. Army via AP)

The Defense Department on Thursday confirmed the reassignment of a top official who was arrested in a parking dispute involving a neighbor's nanny.

Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon's top strategic communications officer, was put on administrative leave over the incident, in which he was arrested on charges of stealing the license plates of a Capitol Hill neighbor's nanny and leaving a threatening note.

Whitman is apparently back working at Pentagon, but he has been stripped of a security clearance and reassigned to another area.

"Bryan Whitman has been detailed to perform duties for the Department of Defense outside the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs," Gordon Trowbridge, deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, said in an email to Military.com.

Trowbridge didn't specify where exactly Whitman was assigned or elaborate on the case, which has stunned Pentagon officials and observers alike.

As principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, Whitman was one of the highest-ranking civilians at the Pentagon.

The 58-year-old Army veteran worked in public affairs at the Defense Department for more than 30 years and has often presided at Pentagon press briefings and appeared on television. He was a familiar face during briefings with military generals on the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A lengthy story in The Washington Post portrayed Whitman as having appointed himself the stealthy parking enforcer of his neighborhood east of the Capitol under Washington's Visitor Parking Pass program.

Whitman allegedly thought the neighbor's nanny was abusing the visitor's parking pass and in April left an anonymous note on the windshield: "I know you are misusing this visitor pass to park here daily. If you do not stop I will report it, have your car towed and the resident who provided this to you will have his privileges taken away."

When the nanny continued to park in the area, Whitman allegedly stole the license plates. Then he did it again. The nanny's employers then bought a digital video camera and caught Whitman when he did it a third time, the newspaper reported. When police served a search warrant on Whitman on May 2, he allegedly handed over the stolen plates.

The charges will be dismissed if Whitman pays restitution, completes about a week of community service and keeps his record clean.

-- Richard Sisk contributed to this report.

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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