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07-30-2005, 03:02 PM
Arizona National Guardsmen Punished For Blogger


By Joseph R. Chenelly
Times staff writer

An Arizona National Guardsmen who had been openly critical of the war in Iraq on his Web log, has been punished for violating operational security and for 11 counts of disobeying orders, according to Multinational Corps — Iraq.

Spc. Leonard A. Clark was busted down one rank to private first class, fined $820 per month for two months, and sentenced to 45 days restriction and 45 days of extra duty. The restriction and extra duty were suspended for five months.

In an unusual move, MCF-Iraq released the details of Clark’s Article 15, which is nonjudicial punishment.

In response to a query by a reporter with National Public Radio, MCF-Iraq public affairs released a written statement saying that Clark had been found guilty of 11 specifications of Article 92, failure to obey an order, and two counts of Article 134, reckless endangerment.

Clark violated Article 92 by “releasing classified information regarding unit soldiers and convoys being attacked or hit by an improvised explosive devices on various dates, discussing troop movements on various dates,” according to the statement. He also was found to have released tactics, techniques, procedures and rules of engagement, MCF-Iraq said.

The two Article 134 specifications had to do with releasing specific sensitive information “that the enemy forces could foreseeably access … such that with that information it was likely that the enemy forces could cause death or serious bodily harm to U.S. forces engaged in the same or similar mission,” the statement said.

Clark and his site’s Webmaster did not return several e-mails and phone calls seeking comment.

It is unclear what information was actual put online. Clark’s blog has been purged of all past posts. An entry claiming not to be on behalf of Clark and offering links to articles about Clark remains on the site.

In civilian life, Clark is a kindergarten teacher, activist and perennial candidate for public office. In the Guard, he is a member of the 860th Military Police Company. The Arizona Republic reported Clark, a Democrat, filed papers to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Jon Kyl. Clark previously ran for the Arizona House of Representatives and state Senate.

Typically, Army officials cite privacy rights and will not release nonjudicial punitive proceedings because the practice is restricted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Col. Bill Buckner, the chief of public affairs for Multi-National Corps-Iraq, acknowledged Article 15 information is not normally released but said it is often released when a request is filed under the Freedom of Information Act. Buckner said the decision was made to release the information without a FOIA request in part because of allegations Clark was making in the media.

Clark’s wife told The Arizona Republic that he told her he was arrested for “having a big mouth about his politics.”

In a post on his site July 5, Clark responded to questions about a report that he is being investigated for his writings: “Folks, I have decided to write you this email in response to those who are wondering in their own views why I am apparently violating the ‘rules.’ Since I don't have much time here is the gist of it: I believe American soldiers (my brothers and sisters) are being killed needlessy [sic] over here in this lie we call ‘the Occupation of Iraq.’"

Clark is the first known case of a blogger getting in trouble since a theatre-wide policy went into effect in April that requires all Defense Department personnel blogging from Iraq to register their sites with their commands.