WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he will fix the problem that led to men under his command sharing nude photos of female Marines online.
General Robert Neller told the panel that changes are needed in the Marine Corps culture and he plans to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Angry and skeptical senators said the military hasn’t done enough.
“So, I — I have to say when you say to us “it’s got to be different,” that rings hollow. I don’t know what you mean when you say that. Why does it have to be different? Because you all of a sudden feel that it has to be different? Who has been held accountable? I very much align myself with — with Senator Fischer’s comments. Who has been held responsible,” question Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand? “Have you actually investigated and found guilty anybody? If we can’t crack Facebook, how are you, we supposed to be able to confront Russian aggression and cyber hacking throughout our military? It is a serious problem when we have members of our military denigrating female Marines who will give their life to this country in the way they have with no response.”
“I’m still in the — I mean, I don’t have a good answer for you. I’m not going to sit here and duck around this thing, I’m not. I’m responsible, I’m the commandant, I own this and we are going to have to you know, you’ve heard it before, but we’re going to have to change how we see ourselves and how we treat each other,” replied Neller. “That’s, that’s a lame answer, but ma’am, that’s all — that’s the best I can tell you right now. We’ve got to change, and that’s on me.”
Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen pointed out that military leaders have vowed to correct sexual abuse and harassment problems in the past and nothing has been done. She asked Neller why anyone should believe it will be different now.
Neller said the photo scandal undermines everything the being a Marine stands for – discipline, honor, professionalism and respect amongst each other.
The Center for Investigative Reporting, which first reported the investigation, found that since January 30th, more than two dozen women, including active duty, had been identified by their rank, full name and military duty station in photographs posted and linked to from a private Facebook page called “Marines United,” according to CBS News.