Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Regarding the death of BG Thomas Tinsley--I don't know what the Air Force considers "undue stress"...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Regarding the death of BG Thomas Tinsley--I don't know what the Air Force considers "undue stress"...

...as it was stated in the press conference after his death (likely suicide) that BG. Thomas L. Tinsley "wasn't under any undue stress."

However, on top of being in command of Elmendorf's 3rd Wing during "wartime," I'd say there were some very significant issues brewing, all of which are listed at the POGO (Project on Government Oversight) website, "More Shake-Up at the Air Force," posted the day Tinsley's death was announced.

According to his biography:

August 2005 - May 2007, executive officer to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

According to the documentation, most of the huge scandals rocking the Air Force now were under recently fired Chief of Staff General Moseley's purview during that time. Understanding the role of the XO (executive officer) would make one realize that BG Tinsley easily had contact with or information about any number or all of these scandals. As a matter of fact, someone considered to be "a good XO" (and word is that Tinsley was) digests as much of the information as possible, briefing the Chief of Staff on the highlights and allowing his boss to do the bulk of his job unfettered...which is mostly running from meeting to meeting.

The most encompassing of these issues (and one that has already led to other high-ranking resignations and suicides) involve the Air Force procurement procedures and some of the projects. One of the most controversial of those is the SLICC, the Senior Leader In-transit Conference Capsule...changed (during BG Tinsley's watch) from the "Comfort Capsule." This story was featured in the Washington Post once a detailed memo from POGO containing all of the information they'd found on the project was sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and CCed to the Post. The memo was dated July 17th and the story went public in the Post on July 18th, 9 days before BG Tinsley's death by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Coming to a head at exactly the same time is another Air Force procurement debacle, awarding the contract for refueling tankers. According to another article in the Washington Post, dated June 19:
Federal auditors said yesterday that the Air Force bungled its decision to award a multibillion-dollar contract for new refueling tankers to a team that includes the European company Airbus, touching off calls for a congressional probe and putting yet another twist in the years-long, scandal-plagued effort to replace the aging tanker fleet.
This is the second attempt at awarding this contract, the first in 2003 was bungled so badly it was retracted in 2004 and led to 8 months of jail time for former Air Force procurement chief, Darleen A. Druyun:
...the Air Force's procurement chief at the time, Darleen A. Druyun, admitted that she favored Boeing while negotiating for a job with the company. Druyun and Boeing's former chief financial officer went to prison, and Boeing agreed with the Justice Department to pay $615 million -- the biggest penalty ever paid by a defense contractor -- to settle allegations of misconduct on the tanker deal and others.
The mop-up of the previous process and the groundwork for the new contract was occurring through BG Tinsley's watch in the Chief of Staff's Office as well.

Another huge issue has been the lax security and mishandling of nuclear weapons by Air Force personnel. The nuclear blunders (if they are blunders and not intentional, per "wild speculation") were the reasons given for forcing out Chief of Staff Moseley and Air Force Secty Wynne. That scandal has led to some more "wild speculation" over the deaths of people related to those incidents.

(It should be stated that there are others who believe the forced resignations of Mosely and Winn are actually tied to strong disagreements they had with Defense Secty Gates over the AF Budget. However, that's another post.)

Worth mentioning is that the day after BG Tinsley's death there were Hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Armed Services related to the nominations of Michael Donley as the new Air Force Secretary and Gen. Norton Schwartz to be the AF chief of staff. There were also more hearings related to "confidential matters" scheduled for two days afterwards.

We'll never know whether or not BG Tom Tinsley was contacted to participate in any of those. We'll never know if he received information of potential testimony in future investigations. Even if that is not the case, it's rather foolish to say that Tinsley was not under any "undue stress" when logic dictates otherwise.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for keeping this "suicide" from disappearing off the face of the earth. I realize the importance of respecting the family in this time of mourning, however there is definitely something more to it and hopefully we will find out what it is.

8/03/2008 6:28 PM  
Blogger CelticDiva said...

I worked for the military for a long time...long enough to know that we'll probably never know.

My pure speculation: I believe that it was a suicide, not some black ops deal. However, I absolutely believe there is something here, though I doubt it has anything to do with specific charges against Tinsley (XOs don't really have that power). I think he knew some really damaging information and couldn't bring himself to testify against his friends.

8/03/2008 7:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home