U.S. Department of Defense
Press Briefing
Thursday, March 29, 2001

[Excerpts on the Daniel M. King Espionage Case]

Presenter: Rear Admiral Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA


Q: When did the Pentagon's IG begin looking at the Navy spy or not-spy case --

Adm. Quigley: Two days ago, I believe. Two days ago, I believe.

Q: Why?

Adm. Quigley: The request was made to consider that. Held a meeting two days ago to do just that very thing. And it was considered a reasonable request, and the IG will have a look. Now, the -- it was a member of the Congress, and I don't remember -- I don't remember who it was. Let me take that. I don't have that right now.

Q: Shelby?

Adm. Quigley: I don't remember. We can get that for you. The review that the DOD IG is going to take a look at is about the process that was followed, if you will, during the period of time between the start of Petty Officer King's pretrial confinement and the time that all charges were dropped and he was released.

I believe the Navy is going to continue to look into other aspects of it as well, so you're going to have both a DOD IG as well as Navy taking a look at different aspects; not duplicative, but complementary aspects of it.

Q: Well, what's at issue here? Why this thing dragged on so long before they decided not to -

Adm. Quigley: That's one of the questions that will be looked at.

Q: How long was he in confinement, and what --

Adm. Quigley: Five hundred and some days, if I remember correctly, Jim.

Q: His plight wasn't really a secret at the -- I mean, it's been reported ongoing. Why did it take the Pentagon nearly two years to decide to take a look at this?

Adm. Quigley: Well, I think the final event, if you will, would be the decision by the Navy to not refer charges after that lengthy period of pre-trial confinement, Vince. And after all was said and done, there were no charges filed. And I think it's a fair request, to take a look at that and see what sort of a process went into that, what sort of a deliberative thought process went into that at each step along the way.

Q: Craig, why was he held? On the basis of what?

Adm. Quigley: The allegation, from the beginning, was of a compromise of national security information, and during that period of time -- I'm certainly not privy to the day-in, day-out details, but during that period of time, the Navy was trying to ascertain evidence and get to ground truth in his activities and what he may have done. At the end of the day, after that lengthy pre-trial confinement period, that goal was not achieved. And so charges were dropped and he was released.

Q: And the allegation was based on simply -- I think it was a -- lie detector tests?

Adm. Quigley: I don't have that detail. I'm sorry, I don't.

Q: Do you know what the allegation was based on?

Adm. Quigley: No, I don't.

Q: But by "goal" you mean the goal of charging him, or the goal of reaching the truth?

Adm. Quigley: The goal of gathering evidence that would support the original allegation or refute the original allegation. And during that lengthy period of pre-trial confinement, those goals were not achieved.

Q: Craig, is there some strange aspect of military law that allows someone to be held for such a long time, almost two years, without being charged with anything?

Adm. Quigley: Yes. It's called "pre-trial confinement" -- (laughter) -- and there are certain particular circumstances that have to be put in place.

You cannot do that without those particular circumstances existing. And it's either a concern of flight of the individual or further damage that an individual could do to national security. That was the circumstance in this case. And --

Q: But in all cases -- military, civilian, and other courts -- there's a thing called due process. And isn't there a question here of whether this fellow received due process if he was held for nearly two years while all these things were investigated?

Adm. Quigley: One of the issues that will be looked at. Yes, indeed.

Q: The Court of Military Review, as the highest U.S. military court, almost a year ago urged that this case proceed in a speedy fashion. And you know, again, why did it take the Pentagon now such a long time?

Adm. Quigley: Well, I think the Navy would be probably better suited to answer that one than I am, quite honestly. This is not a case that the Department of Defense, DOD, has been actively involved in from the beginning. In this particular case, at the end of the process, the DOD IG has been asked to take a look at certain particulars, and we will do that.

Q: Why weren't you involved in an espionage case?

Adm. Quigley: We're not good at getting involved in every legal case that the services are in charge of. There are a variety of very serious cases ongoing at any given point in time. And when we have a sense that something is not being done properly or that a service is not handling it properly, we'll certainly let our feelings be known. I don't think that was the circumstance in this case. But we'll take a look, after all is said and done, as to the process that was followed.

Q: Craig, to go back to those criterion for keeping someone in pre-trial detention, is one of the special circumstances that if a person is held on national security-related charges, that there are no limits on the length of pretrial detention?

Adm. Quigley: I don't know. Let me see if I can take that and find out if there's a specific limit. It was -- the letter was from Senator Shelby. I think somebody said that it was.


Q: Does this sailor -- does he have any legal rights to compensation or anything, given that pre-trial confinement is allowed under military law?

Adm. Quigley: Don't know that one, either. I'm sorry.


Q: Change of subject?

Q: Well, yeah. One more question on this. Is -- in the Navy, has any been -- any action been taken against the investigators who were involved in this? Have they been suspended from duty or anything like that pending this investigation?

Adm. Quigley: Not that I'm aware of. No. It's -- no. Not that I'm aware of.


Source: DoD