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Police Academy in the Alps | The Nation

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Police Academy in the Alps

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The IG report, issued on August 14, marked yet another attempt at damage control. Seven of twenty-seven women interviewed by the IG reported sexist remarks by McCarthy, including four senior women with whom he developed "contentious relationships" during his first six months on the job. No male officials reported similar problems. The center's former spokeswoman told investigators that McCarthy repeatedly referred to women as "a bunch of whiners" and called him "the most direct misogynist I have ever seen." The report also criticized McCarthy for seeking the tougher penalty against Parson, and said most witnesses had described her as "a professional, dedicated, and compassionate officer." Yet the report dismissed most of the specific allegations made by the three primary complainants, saying that any actions McCarthy had taken were due to "his genuine displeasure with their performance," not gender bias. And investigators made no recommendation to soften the penalty against Parson.

Research support was provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute.

About the Author

Ken Silverstein
Ken Silverstein is a Washington, DC–based investigative reporter.

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The report was sharply critical of McCarthy's management style, saying he had "resorted to threats of career harm on occasion as a tactic to obtain compliance with his guidance." One military officer said that the deputy director threatened to "crush him" if he ever betrayed a confidence. The report also said that many people interviewed, even those who made no complaint against McCarthy, "acknowledged that the work environment at the Marshall Center was dysfunctional to a degree that they had not experienced in other Government organizations," and described "a persistent state of employee apprehension" at the center. McCarthy took "strong exception" to the report's findings about his leadership style, but investigators stood by their conclusions.

But once again the IG failed to call for any remedial action. The report stated that "McCarthy's forceful leadership style was well intended, [but] he failed to appreciate the impact of that style." It concluded that General Ralston of EUCOM should "take appropriate corrective action with respect to Mr. McCarthy," even though the report made clear--and various sources confirmed to The Nation--that Ralston and McCarthy are close. (McCarthy denied to The Nation that he treated female employees unfairly and termed Parson's actions in the Denike case "unacceptable.")

Beinhart, who now resides in Bethesda, Maryland, is still seeking to clear his name. He has lined up support from retired generals, active-duty officers and senior Pentagon civilians, including Lieut. Gen. Robert Chelberg, Alvin Bernstein's former deputy director. In December 2000, ten of Beinhart's backers wrote incoming President Bush, saying, "On moral and legal grounds, we appeal to you...to redress wrongs done an exemplary military officer." They have yet to receive a reply.

Spokeswoman Walz calls the complainants "a vocal minority" (as did several Marshall Center employees that she had asked to contact me) and said that a recently completed survey, administered by an independent contractor, showed that most workers were happy. Director Kennedy says that the school "spends an extraordinary amount of time...making sure that people are treated fairly." He also defends the center's record on financial management, saying he has made a number of changes in recent years to insure that funds are spent wisely. "We are incessant stewards of taxpayer money," he says.

The majority of center detractors, even the most vociferous, want the college to stay open but believe that it needs to be overhauled and held accountable. They say that an independent outside investigation is necessary, as the Pentagon has shown itself to be more interested in protecting the Marshall Center's reputation than in policing abuses. "I arrived here full of optimism and idealism," says one staffer. "I thought we were going to help [Eastern European nations] by teaching democracy and transparency. Instead, we're setting the worst possible example."

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