New York Democratic congressional candidate Jackie Gordon’s military records show she was subject to two investigations during her time in the U.S. Army, resulting in two separate recommendations that she be relieved of command, one of which was acted upon in Afghanistan, according to two Department of Defense sources with direct knowledge of the investigations.
The Daily Caller obtained an unredacted Department of Defense document from a source with direct knowledge of an investigation into Gordon’s behavior as a lieutenant colonel from December 2011, as well as a redacted Department of Defense document (described as “interim findings”) that shows Gordon was again under investigation in Afghanistan and was subsequently relieved of duty.
One of the reports outlines how Gordon purportedly left her battalion without permission to campaign for local office in 2012, saying she posed a “significant threat to the Battalion’s ability to perform an incredibly stressful and sensitive wartime mission.”
Two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation confirmed the authenticity of the documents outlining the investigations into Gordon to the Daily Caller. The first investigation started after Gordon made a complaint about “four horsemen” when she was serving as a battalion commander. She alleged the four white men under her command were causing trouble, however, the investigation says there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by the four and that others on the base had never heard of the “four horsemen.” The report then concluded Gordon should be relieved of duty.
“LTC Gordon’s relationship with her current command team is becoming increasingly dysfunctional, causing a sensed polarization of her Battalion and impacting the Battalion’s cohesiveness. It appears that ever since the Battalion’s leadership conducted their Pre-Deployment Site Survey in Afghanistan, the Battalion Commander has increasingly estranged herself from her entire command element,” the investigation document into Gordon’s behavior states.
“The existing climate involving the Battalion Commander and her staff cannot be described as anything less than toxic and nonconducive to the efficient execution of the Battalion’s wartime mission,” the document reads. “Based on the above facts, I recommend that LTC Gordon be removed from the battle roster and relieved from command. I base this recommendation on the leadership deficiencies identified above, as well as the inability of LTC Gordon and… to function effectively as a command team,” one of the investigations concluded.
READ THE FIRST INVESTIGATION OBTAINED BY THE DAILY CALLER HERE:
READ THE SECOND INVESTIGATION OBTAINED BY THE DAILY CALLER HERE:
“Over her 29-year career in the Armed Forces,” her site reads, “Jackie served our country overseas as a platoon leader in Germany during Operation Desert Storm, as an operations officer at Guantanamo Bay during the Global War on Terror, as a battle captain in Baghdad during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and as Commander of the 310th Military Police Battalion in Afghanistan in 2012. She retired from the Army Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2014.”
The first investigation uncovered a number of allegations against Gordon, offenses ranging from minor to serious, including members giving false sworn statements to investigators and the attempted cover-up of the suspected loss of a service weapon. The investigating officer recommended that Gordon be relieved. She was not relieved at that time due to a technicality wherein she was under an interim command gearing up to deploy, the sources said.
“The results of the sensing session included a comment regarding loss of accountability for an M203 grenade launcher assigned to HHC. This incident occurred when a rifle was submitted to ECS for service, and the HHC Supply Section failed to properly document the transfer of the attached M203. This lack of accountability was identified during the next monthly Sensitive Items Inventory and was reported through the chain of command. The unit was then able to verify that the M203 had in fact been submitted to ECS with the rifle,” the first investigation states.
Gordon deployed to Afghanistan shortly after, where she found herself under investigation again. She was relieved of command and sent home as a result, the two sources told the Daily Caller. The documents into the second investigation obtained by the Daily Caller are redacted.
Two Department of Defense sources with direct knowledge of the investigation say she was unfit for her position and that she had lack of mission and leadership during her time in the Army. (RELATED: ‘Organized Election Fraud’: 4 People, Including Texas County Commissioner, Charged In Mail Ballot Fraud Scheme)
“If you’re looking at the report, the report is 100% valid, an investigation was conducted Lt. Col. Gordon at Fort Bliss while she was at the mobilization station at the direction of the commanding general of the 200th military police command,” one source with direct knowledge of the investigation told the Caller. “And I can tell you that if you have the actual report, those findings are accurate.”
While a bureaucratic technicality prevented her relief at that time, the problems continued during deployment, DoD sources indicate.
“While in theater, those problems came to a head again, there was a lack of discipline, a lack of leadership, a lack of mission effectiveness on the part of that commander in theater. There was a subsequent investigation by the theater commander. She was relieved of her command while in theater and replaced because of a lack of effectiveness, lack of leadership, and because of the issues that were in theater,” the source continued.
The other source familiar with Gordon and the investigation questioned her experience as a “combat veteran,” saying she was never issued a rifle and explained that she had previously refused to go on a mission to Iraq because it was too dangerous. The source says Gordon stayed behind in Kuwait and never saw combat.
“She was part of the unit that was involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal. While she didn’t have great involvement with it, she was actually left behind in Kuwait, because General [Janis L.] Karpinske was moving the group up to Iraq, and she wouldn’t go. She said ‘why won’t you go’ and she said ‘because it’s dangerous up there’. So they left her in a cube in Kuwait you know reading magazines serving as a liaison officer to Third Army,” the other source told the Daily Caller.
The source went on to explain that in his opinion she should have been charged for refusing to go to Iraq with her unit. (RELATED: Sen. Jim Inhofe Says He Will Fight To Make Sure Congress Does Not Remove Confederate Names From Military Bases)
“I mean that should’ve been a charge for cowardice or something right there. So I was shocked as well as everyone was. And then there was one thing that I thought was important, in one of her political ads she had a stance on gun control because she said she’s used machine guns in combat, uh, I confirmed through… from that unit, the commander’s not even issued a rifle. She’s only issued a pistol, and she never saw a day of combat,” the source continued.
Timothy Parlatore, a defense lawyer who focuses on military law, reviewed the case for the Caller and said there is no way Gordon should have been in command.
“This is a complete and total disaster of a command, as a defense attorney I wouldn’t be too happy about a client giving me this and saying ‘Hey, what can you do to save me here?,'” Parlatore told the Daily Caller. “If you want to tout your record as a commanding officer, you’ve got to be able to back it up.”
“All the stuff going on in this command, it’s crazy,” Parlatore said, “one of the primary functions of a commander is to maintain good order and discipline and unit readiness. So all this stuff is going on under her nose and she’s not really doing anything about it, again, that means she shouldn’t be in command.”
“I often look at these cases and I frequently make the argument on behalf of my client that, ‘hey, ok, maybe this person shouldn’t be in command, maybe this person shouldn’t be an infantry officer, maybe this person shouldn’t be flying jets anymore.’ But it doesn’t mean you should put them in jail,” Parlatore continued but added that it does not mean Gordon should be an elected official.
“That being said, when you have someone with this failure of leadership that also doesn’t mean that they should be an elected official,” he said.
Gordon is running against Republican Andrew Garbarino after incumbent Republican New York Rep. Peter King announced his retirement in November 2019. Gordon’s campaign did not respond to multiple inquiries from the Daily Caller when asked about the investigations and her time in the military.