The Caine Mutiny Comes to Life

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The Washington Post reports today on Rear Adm. Brian Losey, the guy in charge of SEAL teams, who apparently went completely nuts when someone filed an anonymous complaint against him for a minor travel-policy infraction:

The turmoil began in July 2011….Enraged by what he saw as an act of disloyalty, the admiral became determined to find out who had reported him, according to the inspector general reports.

Several staff members testified that Losey drew up a list of suspects and made it known there would be consequences….One witness testified that Losey told his staff to send a message to any malcontents: “If you continue to undermine my authority as a commander, I’m going to bury each one of them. I’m going to come after them, and I’m going to [make] it very unpleasant.”

About the same time, Losey began cracking down on people whom he saw as potentially disloyal, according to the inspector general. He fired an officer who had been on his list of suspects, alleging that he had committed a handful of minor transgressions, such as using the admiral’s auto­pen without permission to sign routine paperwork. He got rid of Jones, his chief of staff, who was stripped of his title and moved into a basement office, and then moved again to an even more remote outpost at a military airfield.

Later, Losey ordered an investigation into whether civilian staff members on his enemies list had committed time­keeping and ­attendance-sheet errors that affected their pay, according to the inspector general reports. At least three staff members faced discipline as a result, although their punishment for the time­keeping irregularities was ultimately overturned. Some staffers also received poor performance reviews, which affected their compensation and careers.

….In the end, it turned out that Losey had the wrong people on his list of suspects. Investigators determined that none of the people he retaliated against had filed the original complaint about his daughter’s plane ticket.

I’m not going to be the first (or even the hundredth) to make this comparison, but this is fiction come to life. It sounds eerily like Captain Queeg’s famous shipwide search for the pantry key in The Caine Mutiny. But Losey is making out better than Queeg did: after a long investigation, he’s being “counseled,” but nothing more. His promotion to two-star admiral is now on the way.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate