Southern Command nominee defends Navy record

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WASHINGTON – The Navy admiral nominated to lead U.S. Southern Command is defending his decision to attend a dinner party in Hong Kong sponsored by a defense contractor who later pleaded guilty to bribery and defrauding the U.S. military.

Vice Adm. Craig Faller told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he attended only after the invitation was reviewed and approved by a Navy ethics counselor. Faller, who has been Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ senior military assistant, says nothing unprofessional happened and that the Navy cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that Faller had been under investigation for more than three years.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, told Faller the episode did not pass what she called “the smell test.”

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