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“Now, I’ve always done my best to be up front with you and in return you’ve always given it to me straight - the good, the bad, and the ugly — just like I’ve asked you to do,” he said. “Many of you have very strong views about this matter; I have taken the time to read your posts and emails to try to understand your views and opinions. For those of you who do not agree with the decision I made, it would be helpful to read the statement I provided to the media (below) to learn the reasons behind my actions.”

In a subsequent e-mail, Cmdr. Sims said Adm. Harvey had received the photo in an e-mail from a retired chief petty officer before the admiral made his decision on Capt. Honors.

“The email was rather directive in nature,” Cmdr. Sims said. “He felt that the idea behind the email could be interpreted as ‘Don’t take action on the Capt. Honors issue or I’ll send this photo to the media.’ “

Cmdr. Sims said Adm. Harvey immediately informed Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, to ensure he understood the photo would have no influence on his decision.