- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2000

Maj. Gen. Larry G. Smith, a Vietnam combat veteran and career armor soldier, is the officer Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy has accused of groping her in her Pentagon office in 1996, The Washington Times has learned.
Military sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, identified Gen. Smith as the subject of an investigation prompted by a complaint late last year from Gen. Kennedy, the Army's highest-ranking female officer.
Gen. Smith's appointment as deputy Army inspector general was derailed by Gen. Kennedy's accusation, the sources said. He is now serving as a special assistant to the commanding general of U.S. Army Materiel Command in Alexandria, Va.
The Army and Pentagon have refused to identify the officer since The Washington Times first disclosed the investigation last Thursday.
The Times also learned yesterday that Gen. Kennedy, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, never wanted the full-blown investigation now under way by the Army inspector general. She raised the issue only when she learned last fall that Gen. Smith was about to be named as the No. 2 inspector general.
"She told the wrong person," said one informed source. "The system ran away with it, and it was not what she intended."
This source's version of events explains the three-year gap between the time the incident supposedly occurred in 1996 and her filing of a complaint late last year.
Said the source: "She was playing in the general officer dialogue: 'Is this officer right for this job?' She thought it would be helpful in general officer assignments, but she had no desire to go through the investigative process because she felt she had dealt with the problem herself."
The Army inspector general is said to be in the final stages of the investigation.
Gen. Smith did not return a reporter's phone call to his office on Tuesday. Yesterday, an Army spokeswoman said she had conveyed a message to Gen. Smith that The Times planned to publish a story saying he is the subject of the IG probe. The general did not return that phone message.
An Army spokesman at the Pentagon declined to comment.
The incident reportedly occurred in October 1996, when Gen. Kennedy was a major general and Gen. Smith was a few weeks away from promotion to two-star rank.
Late last year, Gen. Smith, then commander of the Army Security Assistance Command in Alexandria, was picked to be the next Army deputy inspector general. That job would put him in charge of all investigations into personnel misconduct.
His official Army biography states that he concluded his Alexandria command in October. Instead of going to the IG's office, he was named a special assistant to the four-star general at Materiel Command, a post he currently holds. It was about this time that Gen. Kennedy filed her complaint.
The winter 2000 Congressional Quarterly's "Federal Staff Directory," which is based on information supplied by agencies, lists Gen. Smith as the Army deputy IG. The post is now being held by an acting deputy.
In October 1996, Gen. Smith managed the Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program in that country. Army experts say someone in that position would have made regular trips to Washington.
The Army declined yesterday to say whether Gen. Smith's name is on Gen. Kennedy's appointments schedule during the time in question. A spokesman suggested a reporter file a Freedom of Information request.
Gens. Smith and Kennedy have spent their long Army careers in different fields. She chose intelligence and is now the Army's top intelligence officer. Gen. Smith is an armor officer and has served in various land combat units and armor development offices.
Their careers did cross paths for three months in 1993. He was deputy director of operations at Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga. She was director of intelligence at the same command.
Some details have emerged on how Gen. Kennedy handled the purported incident in 1996. One source said she reported it to a senior officer on the Army staff, but told him she had handled the matter privately.
She did not report it to the Army's highest-ranking officers at that time: Gen. Dennis Reimer, Army chief of staff, and Gen. Ronald H. Griffith, the vice chief of staff.
"She did not come to me," said Gen. Griffith, now retired, who handled all cases of general officer misconduct.
"I would trust Claudia Kennedy's judgment," he said. "I think clearly it was her call, no matter how she wanted to deal with it."
Gen. Griffith said he would have vigorously pursued an investigation based on her wishes.
"I would have said, 'Are you sure you don't want an investigation?' and I would have honored her wishes," he said.
Gen. Kennedy's immediate superior in 1996 is now retired. He declined to speak to a reporter.
Gen. Reimer was one of Gen. Kennedy's biggest boosters and recommended her for promotion to three stars in 1997, making her the Army's first female lieutenant general.
When Gen. Smith was slated to become the next deputy IG in 1999, Gen. Reimer had retired, succeeded by Gen. Eric Shenseki.
Some sources have suggested Gen. Kennedy filed the complaint as a protest against Gen. Smith gaining such an important post one that would likely require him to oversee investigations of sexual harassment.
In February, Gen. Kennedy, 52, who had been mentioned as a candidate for several higher intelligence posts, told her staff she was retiring this summer. Gen. Kennedy has declined comment since the investigation became public.

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