Sunday, December 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

By
From page A10 | August 21, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — At least 34 sailors are being kicked out of the Navy for their roles in a cheating ring that operated undetected for at least seven years at a nuclear power training site, and 10 others are under criminal investigation, the admiral in charge of the Navy’s nuclear reactors program told The Associated Press.

The number of accused and the duration of cheating are greater than was known when the Navy announced in February that it had discovered cheating on qualification exams by an estimated 20 to 30 sailors seeking to be certified as instructors at the nuclear training unit at Charleston, South Carolina. Students there are trained in nuclear reactor operations to prepare for service on any of the Navy’s 83 nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.

Neither the instructors nor the students are involved in handling nuclear weapons.

After further investigation the Navy determined that 78 enlisted sailors were implicated. Although the cheating is believed to have been confined to a single unit at Charleston and apparently was not known to commanding officers, the misconduct had been happening since at least 2007, according to Adm. John M. Richardson, director of naval reactors. The exact start of the cheating was not pinpointed.

“There was never any question” that the reactors were being operated safely, he said in an AP interview, yet the cheating was a stunning violation of Navy ethics.

Richardson said he was “loaded for bear” at the outset of the investigation, unconvinced the cheating was confined to a single training unit. But he now believes that it had not spread, and that this was one reason that the ring managed to operate so long without being discovered.

In addition to the 34 enlisted sailors who were removed from the nuclear power program and are being administratively discharged from the Navy, two more who were implicated as “minimal” participants had their non-criminal punishment suspended due to their “strong potential for rehabilitation.”

Also, 32 sailors were implicated by investigators but later exonerated by Richardson, and he gave one officer a verbal warning. The officer, whom Richardson declined to identify by name or rank, was not accused of participating in the cheating. He was faulted for “deficiencies” in his oversight of the exam program, but Richardson said this was not severe enough to merit punishment.

The Navy investigation also concluded that commanders were not directly at fault. “It was not the result of ‘wishful blindness,” it said.

The 68 implicated sailors are in addition to the 10 whom Richardson said are believed to have been “at the center” of the cheating ring and remain under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The scandal rocked the Navy, but details until now had remained under wraps as senior Navy officials sought to determine the scope of the cheating — including whether it was happening elsewhere — as well as the root causes and possible remedies.

Unlike an Air Force exam-cheating scandal that came to light in January at a Montana base that operates land-based nuclear-armed missiles, the sailors involved in the Navy cheating had no responsibility for nuclear weapons.

Navy investigators did, however, find one key link between the two episodes. Their investigation report said “a triggering event” for the unidentified sailor at Charleston who alerted superiors to cheating on Feb. 2 was media reports a few weeks earlier about exam cheating at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

“This increased his concern enough about being caught to outweigh the group behavior of his peers,” the report said, apparently alluding to peer pressure this unidentified sailor may otherwise have felt not to report the misconduct.

Richardson said he met individually with each of the accused and heard at least two common themes: a belief that there was little risk of getting caught, and a work environment at the nuclear training site that created stresses and pressures on the approximately 300 sailors who serve as instructors.

In an interview in his Navy Yard office Tuesday, Richardson said he is taking steps to ease the pressures and to strengthen ethics training.

Richardson said the accused at Charleston fell into two main categories:

—Sailors who cheated on the tests.

—Sailors who enabled the cheating by providing answers in advance to others taking the test and tipping them off about what test they would be given.

Richardson called the latter group of 10 sailors the ringleaders and said their offenses are considered more serious because they had facilitated the illicit transfer of classified test answers.

An extensive investigation ordered by Richardson and led by Rear Adm. Kenneth M. Perry found that an electronic master file of “engineering watch supervisor” tests and answers was illegally removed from a Navy computer “sometime before 2007.” Investigators failed to identify who took it or exactly when.

The set of test and answer keys became known among the cheaters as the “Pencil Files.”

These files were secretly passed via personal email accounts, compact disks, thumb drives and other non-official electronic systems. Richardson said the Pencil Files contained all 600 answers to questions on five sets of tests.

Also, a “Pencil Number” was passed to sailors to tip them to which of the five exams they would be given.

“The result was a deliberate scheme to cheat …,” the report said. It found no evidence of espionage.

Exam security was weak. For example, investigators found that the five tests were used in a predictably rotating order and the questions had not changed significantly since 2004, even though written rules require they be changed frequently.

NCIS investigators interviewed four people thought to have knowledge of the origin of the Pencil Files. Three of them denied involvement in the scheme and the fourth invoked his right to remain silent and requested an attorney.

“Thus, no further evidence of the origin of the ‘Pencil Files’ was obtained,” the investigation report said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JimboAugust 21, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    I have a strong feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg considering cheating in high school and college has become so rampant that many parents assist in it thinking it gives their child an equal advantage. Then the world wonders why we have so many people with paper diplomas who have little clue to how to do the jobs they later con their way into.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksAugust 21, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    Jimbo, I agree what a wonderful education they're providing. Probably the same parents that drive around town with their kids in the car, acting like the laws weren't written for them flipping people off and cussing all the way! ;)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

New circulation director for Daily Republic has California roots

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suisun’s transformation launched 25 years ago

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
AARP tax program seeks volunteers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Holiday shopping continues after Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Kwanzaa educates, celebrates African-American heritage

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Rush Ranch plans birds of prey workshop

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Winter feeding of backyard birds

By Launa Herrmann | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

Weather for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Projects to watch in 2015

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

Market predictions for 2015

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
County graduates complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

Shoppers brawl inside Northern California mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 7 Comments

 
Death penalty states unmoved by botched execution

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
San Diego sees costs balloon for outdoor public toilets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Arizona police officer, suspect killed in shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
School error takes money from staff bank accounts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Protester in St. Louis area charged with arson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Spokesman: George H.W. Bush remains in hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 small planes collide in Maryland; no injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lava creeps 15 yards closer to Hawaii marketplace

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Drought, plastic bags prompt new California laws

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Del. WWII vet honored with medals 70 years later

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Snow, ice sweep Europe, stranding drivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Families take future war dogs into homes as foster pups

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Woman uses quilt to help those in military

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Wanted extremist leader surrenders in Somalia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Pilot recalls last flight to Cyprus airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Redrawn districts made for some tight races

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Putin’s epic annual news conference, condensed

By Ishaan Tharoor | From Page: A8

Leaders fan flames of racial hatred

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 42 Comments

 
Sound Off: Dec. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Bethel Community Church buys Temple Baptist site

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Why do we celebrate Christmas, part two

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

Comforting immigrants is nun’s mission

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Pope’s role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My son’s cat is being neglected and I don’t know what to do

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Blagojevich brother: I was fed ‘pawn’ to get then-governor

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Company loses bid for rights to Marvel superheroes

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jonah Lehrer working on book about digital life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

No. 1 Kentucky holds off No. 4 Louisville 58-50

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vanden’s Koss named 2014 DR Male Athlete of the Year

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Broncos see a much better Raiders team this time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cardinals have hopes of division crown, 12 wins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors shake off skid, beat Timberwolves 110-97

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Authorities question Cubs’ Castro after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Browns suspend receiver Josh Gordon, Manziel late

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sports deaths: elegant Tony Gwynn, Jean Beliveau

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Cousins leads Kings past Knicks 135-129 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Anze Kopitar leads LA Kings past Sharks, 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sam: Coming out was right thing to do

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vikings stadium builders work on career highlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Devils replace DeBoer with 3-headed coaching staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Virginia Tech beats Cincy 33-17 in Military Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

S Carolina tops Miami 24-21 in Independence Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Arizona State beats Duke 36-31 in Sun Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Penn State tops Boston College 31-30 in OT in Pinstripe Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Kessler leads No. 24 USC to 45-42 win over Huskers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Jameis, Marcus and Mickey: Rose Bowl week starts at Disney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Bowling report for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

First Step seeks players, help for 2015 season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Devil Dawgs retiring after run of success

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

 
Top business stories of 2014: US grows, world slows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

BP appeals rejection of removing spill claims head

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Ruling opens door for cruise malpractice lawsuits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

6 US cities: Good jobs but hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

 
Why areas with good jobs have hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

US company to open tuna cannery in American Samoa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

 
.

Obituaries

Frances Cruz Pangelinan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Oriole Ernestine Cohen

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

John Benjamin Calvin Adams

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Rae Jean Malveaux

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Judy Zamora Rogers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Concordia Albang Lichauco

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
.

Secrets of Success 2014

120 Years: Fentons still a treat after all this time

By Susan Winlow | From Page: SOS2, 1 Comment | Gallery

80 Years: Gillespie’s adapts to meet customer needs, thrives

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS5 | Gallery

60 Years: Ryan’s Automotive hits milestone of service

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS6, 1 Comment | Gallery

55 Years: Mary’s Pizza Shack keeps dishing the pies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

50 Years: Cal Yee Farms marks half-century – and counting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

40 Years: Floors To Go weathers recession, bounces back strong

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS8 | Gallery

40 Years: Vaca Valley Auto Parts a Fairfield mainstay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS9 | Gallery

35 Years: Scandia Family Fun Center roots run deep

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Vogelpohl prides herself as problem solver

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Medic Ambulance rolling strong

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

30 Years: Sportabout all about tennis – and shoes of all sorts

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

30 Years: North Bay Pediatrics serves children, parents

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

35 Years: More than 1,700 home sales – and counting – for Watson

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

25 Years: It’s always showtime for Fairfield’s Finger

By Tony Wade | From Page: SOS12 | Gallery

25 Years: Feins helps build memories through Air Land & Sea Travel

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS13 | Gallery

25 Years: The Hair Place celebrates quarter-century of cuts

By Susan Hiland | From Page: SOS13, 1 Comment | Gallery

20 Years: Quality breeds success for Universal Painting

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS14 | Gallery

10 Years: By the People helps with basic, complex legal issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: SOS15 | Gallery