Two senior U.S. Navy officers and an Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) official are under investigation after allegedly accepting bribes of prostitutes, luxury hotel rooms, and even Lady Gaga tickets in exchange for sending ships to certain ports in Asia.
The ships were sent to so-called "Pearl ports" where Officer Leonard Francis would overcharge for their services, sometimes by more than twice the normal cost. Commander Michael Misiewicz would provide Francis with information about the ship routes and help to steer them to the ports in exchange for bribes.
How was Francis able to get away with all of this? John Bertrand Beliveau, a top official in the NCIS, which monitors illegal activity within the Navy, warned Francis of impending fraud investigations, according to reports. Beliveau was also bribed and is facing charges.
Let's rewind for a second. Bribes of prostitutes and luxury items are not new in the world of scandals. But Lady Gaga tickets?
I get it: we're all human. We're not perfect. But if the people in charge of one of the world's largest naval fleets are being bought with concert tickets, it's time to rethink how much trust we put in them.
For too long, the U.S. military and its officers have been considered infallible. The sad truth is that they're only human. Some of them apparently enjoy listening to Lady Gaga, and will do anything to get to see her perform.
I'm not here judge anyone's taste in music. My point is that this revelation calls for more oversight in our military. Beliveau, the person in charge of overseeing Francis and Misiewicz, was also corrupt despite being a recipient of the NCIS Special Agent of the Year in Combating Terrorism. It's unclear who was surpervising Beliveau. In light of the scandal, one official said, "Allegations of bribery and kickbacks involving naval officers, contracting personnel and NCIS agents are unheard of."
As true as that may or may not be, even Jordan Tama, a specialist in national security, emphasizes the scandal "underscores that even the people who do investigations in the Navy and elsewhere in the federal government themselves need to be monitored."