Murkowski wants release of investigation into Alaska National Guard

Sean Cockerham | Tribune Media Services

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is urging the chief of the federal National Guard Bureau not to bury the results of its investigation into sexual assaults in the Alaska National Guard.

Murkowski brought up the investigation to Gen. Frank Grass at a Wednesday Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on defense spending.

Murkowski told him she wanted an “assurance that when the investigation is concluded there be a level of transparency” with the outcome.

“Yes, ma’am,” Grass replied.

Grass said a federal investigation team first visited Alaska about three weeks ago and is looking at a “broad brush of complaints” about the Alaska National Guard.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said last week that the National Guard Bureau agreed to launch the investigation at his request. Parnell wrote Grass on Feb. 28, saying he wanted the federal inquiry into alleged sexual assaults and how the Alaska National Guard commanders handled them.

Murkowski told Grass on Wednesday that the issue of sexual assaults in the Alaska National Guard is not new and pre-dates the governor’s request for an investigation. Murkowski said it was revealed by a McClatchy Newspapers story in the Anchorage Daily News last year, and that she spoke about it on the Senate floor and forwarded allegations to the inspector general of the Department of Defense.

“The failure to find closure with respect to these allegations really leaves a cloud out there,” she told Grass.

Grass replied that this is the exactly the type of issue the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations was created two years ago to address.

It allows the federal National Guard to send investigators from outside the state, Grass said, and provide a report to the governor, who oversees the Alaska National Guard.

By Sean Cockerham
McClatchy Washington Bureau