GOP Rep. On Sexual Assault At Airforce Base: There's 'No Evidence Of A Widespread Problem' | ThinkProgress
Rep. Mac Thornberry, HASC vice chairman, recently discussed the Lackland issues with Gen. Edward Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command. “My understanding is there is no evidence of a widespread problem,” said Thornberry, a Republican from Clarendon. “It seems to be very limited, and he seems to be moving out very aggressively to deal with it.” If the problem turns out to be limited, then the military system can probably best deal with it, Thornberry said. Whether the the GOP controlled Armed Services Committee agrees to an investigation, the vice chair’s “no evidence” comment indicates that it will look no deeper into the base than whatever has already been uncovered by the Air Force. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta himself acknowledged the seriousness of the problem, and has issued a new directive to deal with such assaults which includes changing the reporting structure of sexual assault cases. There were 6,350 reported cases of what the armed forces call “military sexual trauma” last year, but independent studies estimate (PDF) that there were 19,000 cases total last year, most of which went unreported.