Mark Kirk’s bad intelligence

Rep. Mark Kirk, Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois, apologized this week for saying that an award he once touted as his own, was instead given to his unit. Photo: Fox News

Illinois Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk continues to explain  inaccurate statements about his military record.

Rep. Kirk has now backtracked on three statements he made about his military record as a Naval intelligence officer.

Were the statements embellished? Were they mistakes? Lies?

“I simply misremembered it wrong,” Rep. Kirk told the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board this week.

Kirk was talking about the “Intelligence Officer of the Year” award he claimed he received from his service during the war in Kosovo.  Kirk listed it on his resume, boasted about on the floor of Congress and mentioned it in a recent television commercial for his U.S. Senate race.

Turned out it was a group medal awarded to Kirk’s Naval unit as a whole.

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate last year alongside former Gov. Jim Edgar. (AP Photo/David Banks)

“I apologize to you and your readers for misstatements made by me and my campaign,” Kirk told the Sun-Times.

The Sun-Times asked:

“How could he have sent out a letter to constituents in recent days saying, “As a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom…” when Kirk served stateside as a reservist in Maryland?

A staffer wrote it, Kirk said.

“I wouldn’t have written it that way,” Kirk said. “These letters go out under my signature, so they are my responsibility.””

The most recent revelation about Kirk-

“The last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet, and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us,” Kirk said in a 2003 speech before Congress that was captured by CSPAN.

Before the Chicago Tribune editorial board Thursday,  Kirk said his 2003 assertions may not be true because there is no record of whether his aircraft was being fired upon.

“I want to be very contrite and say there is a casualness with which I sometimes describe military details,” Kirk told the Sun-Times. “And if it gave the impression that my military record is larger than it was, I want to apologize.”

"The last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet, and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us," Rep. Kirk said in a 2003 speech before Congress. This week, Kirk admitted the statement may be inaccurate. Photo: Kirk for Senate

Kirk also apologized for the repeated misstatements during his meeting with the Tribune on Thursday.

“You should speak with utter precision. You should stand on the documented military record,” Kirk said. “In public discourse, for high office, you should make sure that there is a degree of complete rigorous precision.”

Or what?  I wonder.

What would the honorable thing be for Rep. Kirk to do in this episode?

As a reporter and teacher, I’ve visited the Balkans and Middle East seven  times in the past 20 years.  Along the way, I’ve met, worked with, reported on and traveled with active and reserve members of the U.S. military.   Some served in intelligence capacities.  Some have become good friends. All understood the importance of trust and dependability.

One of my former military friends asked a logical question about Kirk’s TV clip for his U.S. Senate campaign- The one that claims Kirk received the “Intelligence Officer of the Year” award.

“The clip was misleading to me,” said the former intelligence officer who served in Iraq and Kosovo.  He added; “Small details yes, but misleading.  Intelligence officers don’t miss details like that.”

Military intelligence officers are trained to pay particular attention to details.  It’s their stock in trade.  It’s also their responsibility. The intelligence they gather, decipher, analyze and report involves accurate information.  Lives may depend on their work.  For their own credibility, they take this responsibility seriously.

Like good journalists, the quality, accuracy and consistency of an intelligence officer’s work is their currency. The better the “intel,” the more valued, trusted and respected the intelligence officer.

Conversely, if their work is inaccurate,  faulty or poor, intelligence officers get booted.  Some are reassigned. Others get demoted. A few are  strongly encouraged to leave the military.      

What do you think?  Did Rep. Kirk embellish, make mistakes or lie?

Pick any one and you’ve chosen a form of bad intelligence.

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About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm an associate professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
This entry was posted in Defense, Economy, education, Journalism, Kosovo, newspapers, Politics, television, Terrorism, The United States, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mark Kirk’s bad intelligence

  1. It saddens me, that this happened. But in all our lives how many times has ego taken over? I have sinned, and one sin is not greater than another. For was it not one sin that brought down death to all of us? I do not believe Jesus was G-D, ( a son of G-D that put sin out)…….. for… he did state that : “That he over came the world”. We all need to over come the world’s egos. That is the purpose for our first breath, to put sin out, so we may re-turn to G-D. The power of a mistake and the memory, let it arises within our consciousness. Lessons of life are deeply ingrained in our being. Time to grow, and a time to forgive. G-D has seeded His house..Jeremiah 31:27 and for this reason Jeremiah 32:27 and there are: sons of men (male & female) Ecclesiastes 3:18-19-20), and sons of G-D (male & female) Genesis 27:27, who labor putting sin out. Who went and asked G-D alone, for help. Genesis 28:20. There is nothing new under the sun Ecc. 1:10-11 We all can come under the everlasting covenant of day and night(Jer. 33:25) were we light our desire from the burning desire of G-D’S own heart, for us to re-turn asking His help alone to put sin out. Psalm 51:6 and for all those who think they know G-D and are deceived and the lie is rooted in their spiritual befief’s( Jer.10)….G-D must do for them, what they can not do for Him. Jeremiah 31:33. Note: the diffrence—Psalm 51:5 and Jeremiah 31:33. May we all return, and let this “know all generation”, be the generation that wipes away the tears that fall so deep in THE G-D OF ALL MANKIND HEART.

  2. abiodun says:

    Mark Kirk has been caught in so many lies by now, it’s difficult to keep count. And most of it seem to be intentional-especially going on the floor of the US House to make a speech. By now one can just surmise he is a lying sack of pooh.

  3. Great blog and I’m now a follower

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