A Democratic lawmaker in the US House of Representatives has censured the House Armed Services Committee for downgrading its public hearing over a scandal, involving nude photo sharing by US military personnel, to a subcommittee hearing on social media policies.
California Democratic Representative Jackie Speier made the comments on Tuesday.
“Framing the issue as military social media policies misses the point,” said the 66-year-old (pictured below). “No one has ever gone on Facebook, looked at non-consensually posted intimate photos, typed a rape threat and then stopped and said, ‘Oh, I better not make rape threats. That’s against the military social media policy.'”
Some service members recently posted nude photos of female Marines without their consent in a Facebook group called “Marines United,” with around 30,000 followers.
The scandal led to an ongoing investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which has apparently found evidence of it in other branches of the US military.
Commandant of the General Robert Neller attended a close hearing over the matter last week but Democrats at the Armed Services Committee want a full committee hearing on the matter with him and other service chiefs present.
After that hearing, Texas Republican Representative Mac Thornberry said there was no plan for an open hearing with Neller.
“It is appalling that the committee is treating it as such in this hearing,” Speier said. “And it is appalling that we are not hearing from any service members or veterans who have been victimized by nonconsensual pornography.”
She concluded later that “We don’t need to talk about social media policies… We need to talk about how to end this hatred and misogyny.”
In its annual report in 2016, the Pentagon said it received about 6,000 reports of sexual assault in 2015 alone.