Army Reprimands Ex-General Turned Religious Right Leader

Back in 2003, President Bush repeatedly rebuked then-General Jerry Boykin for giving public speeches framing the war on terror as a holy war between Christianity and Islam, speeches that also violated military rules.

Boykin then retired from the military and has since become a full-fledged Religious Right activist who campaigns against the rights of Muslim-Americans and gay people in his role as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

The Washington Post reports today that last year the Army issued “a scathing reprimand following a criminal investigation that concluded [Boykin] had wrongfully released classified information" in a book he published in 2008.

The reprimand [PDF], released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, says that Boykin “violated [the] Uniform Code of Military Justice” for his “wrongful disclosure of classified information” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces.”

The Department of the Army found that Boykin’s book, “Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom,” had “disclosed classified information” and failed to undergo a “classification review before the book’s publication.” The reprimand goes on to cite Boykin’s “gross lack of judgment” and “unprofessional behavior.”

Boykin, however, insists that the reprimand was driven by politics:

Asked why he was reprimanded, Boykin questioned the Army’s motivation, insisting that he had received approval to write his book before it was released and that all information in it had been disclosed previously in other books, movies and news reports.

“You draw your own conclusions,” Boykin told The Post. “Why would they reopen it? What was the purpose of reprimanding me basically five years after they started an investigation? Did it take that long to determine whether I had written anything classified?”

Boykin told The Post that if he “realized there would be this many accusations hurled against me,” he probably would have submitted “Never Surrender” for a Pentagon review before it was published. He didn’t fight the reprimand because he was retired and did not see a point to doing so, he said.

“Any reprimand has to be taken seriously, so I don’t want to come across as flippant about it,” he said. “But at this stage in my life, it really hasn’t had any impact on my life like it would have if it had happened when I was on active duty.”

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