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In Hopeless Election, Michigan GOP Attempts to Smear Dem Candidate's Military Record

Gary Peters' campaign photoRepublicans could have given up the Michigan Senate race gracefully, admitting that their candidate wasn't anyone's choice in the first place, or they could have gone out digracefully. Guess which path they chose?

Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) has exaggerated and misrepresented his military service record on the campaign trail for U.S. Senate in Michigan, military community leaders including one of his former commanding officers told Breitbart News for an exclusive investigative report.

Peters’ military service record jacket, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Department of the Navy and provided exclusively to Breitbart News, shows a man who had a broken service record that was substandard, one of his indirect commanding officers, retired Navy Commander Jim Semerad, said in an interview with Breitbart News.

Two red flags pop up immediately. The first is that this "report" is a Breitbart exclusive. If Breitbart is the only outlet "reporting" something, deep suspicion is the proper approach to take to it. The second is that their primary source is referred to as Peters' "one of Peters' former commanding officers" in the lede and in the second paragraph as "one of his indirect commanding officers."

Just so we're clear on this, in the military there is no such thing as an "indirect" commanding officer. That's not how the military operates. Someone is either in your direct chain of command or someone is not.

It's unusual for former commanding officers come forward, in public and on the record, to contest a politician’s description of their military service record.

So unusual that in this case, it didn't actually happen.

And Semerad is not the only one speaking out. Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, is raising concerns about Peters’ record as are Retired Navy Captain Joseph John, the head of the group Combat Veterans For Congress, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) military expert.

So a Tea Party ex-Congressman best known for spreading horrendous conspiracy theories about the president and who himself was cashiered out of service for mistreating POWs, and some guy employed by the Republican Party are his two other sources in attacking Gary Peters' service record.

So, how do you judge whether they are correct? By getting performance evaluations, which for military officers are called fitness reports (or, Fit Reps, if you're in the military and don't have time to sound things out).

Excerpts from Peters’s fitness reports, written by his commanding officers between in 1994 and 2004 and provided by his campaign, describe the senatorial candidate as a “recognized expert” who “perform[s] exceptionally” and has “unlimited potential.”

“LCDR Peters is an outstanding Supply Corps officer…” says one one fitness report from 2004. “LCDR Peters’ attention to detail, along with his working relationship with Air Force officers, has been instrumental in the continuation of a very successful and visible joint service operation while providing first class training.”

If you're a media person considering whether you need to cover this story, this is where it starts and it ends, with the paper trail. By the way, who writes these evaluations? The direct commanding officer, not someone who calls himself an "indirect commanding officer."

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