Two U.S. admirals Vice Adm. Ted Branch, Director of Naval Intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, Director of Intelligence Operations were placed on a temporary leave Friday, and had their access to classified material suspended amid an investigation as part of a bribery scandal implicating a Singapore-based defense contractor.
“The decision to suspend their classified access was made based upon the nature of allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless in connection with an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation into illegal and improper relations with Leonard Francis, CEO of Glenn Defense Marine,” the Navy said in a statement.
NCIS initiated this investigation in 2010.
The allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involve inappropriate conduct prior to their current assignments and flag officer rank. Neither officer has been charged with any crime or violation and both of them retain their rank and security clearances.
The release further read that “there is no indication, nor do the allegations suggest, that in either case there was any breach of classified information.”
“The Navy appreciates the support we have received from the U.S. Attorney’s office and other law enforcement agencies. We will continue to make public as much information as we can without prejudicing the conduct of this investigation,” the release concluded.
In connection to the same case, a senior Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and two Navy commanders were arrested in September for delivering classified information to the said contractor in exchange for various benefits, including prostitution services.
Naval Today Staff, November 11, 2013