If Security-Clearance Check Reveals Homosexuality, Info Can’t Be Used To Discharge Soldiers, Says Defense Dept

April 8, 2010 - 7:23 PM
The Department of Defense told CNSNews.com that the military will no longer use information about a soldier's sexuality obtained during the course of a "personnel security investigation" as grounds for removing him from the armed forces under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Afghanistan, U.S. troops

U.S. soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – If a “personnel security investigation” reveals that a soldier is homosexual, that information cannot be used as grounds to remove the soldier from the armed forces under the newly revised “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy, the Defense Department told CNSNews.com.
 
Under DADT, the military does not ask new recruits (as it once did) to state whether they are homosexual or not. However, existing law -- Article 10, Section 654 of U.S. Code --  makes it illegal and a cause for separation from the service for a member of the military to reveal that they are homosexual or bisexual or to engage in homosexual or bisexual conduct while serving in the armed forces.  
 
CNSNews.com asked the Department of Defense, “If it is revealed through a security clearance that a service member is a homosexual and/or has engaged in homosexual activity, they would or would not be discharged under these new rules?”
 
Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said: “Under the revised regulations, information about a service member's sexual orientation or conduct obtained in the course of a personnel security investigation will not be used for purposes of discharging a service member for homosexual conduct.”
 
“If a commander received other credible information that the service member had engaged in homosexual conduct (including making a statement that he or she is homosexual or bisexual), then the member could be separated for that,” said Smith.
 
Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the revised DADT regulations during a press conference on March 25.
 
“We will revise what constitutes credible information to begin an inquiry or separation proceeding by, for example, specifying that information provided by third parties should be given under oath, and by discouraging the use of overheard statements and hearsay,” he said.
 
“We will revise what constitutes a ‘reliable person’ upon whose word an inquiry could be initiated,” said Gates, “with special scrutiny on third parties who may be motivated to harm the service member.”
 
During his remarks, Gates listed the type of information that will no longer be used in “support of discharges” from the armed forces, as follows:
 
“Information provided to lawyers, clergy, and psychotherapists; information provided to a medical professional in furtherance of medical treatment or a public-health official in the course of a public-health inquiry; information provided in the course of seeking professional assistance for domestic or physical abuse; and information obtained in the course of security-clearance investigations, in accordance with existing Department of Defense policies.”
 

 
 
The Department of Defense did not return CNSNews.com’s follow-up inquiries on the DADT policy changes.