Shane Osborn describes the collision of his aircraft with a Chinese military jet, after his return to the U.S. in 2001
Whoa. Nebraska's open Senate race doesn't get a lot of attention, largely because it's a safely red seat where all the action is in the Republican primary, but this is definitely one of those "read the whole thing" links, stat. Here's the extraordinary, eye-popping lede
to whet your appetite:
Dogged by questions about his 2001 decision to land a crippled Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane in China, U.S. Senate candidate Shane Osborn has distributed an official-looking Navy memo supporting his account.
The memo, written Aug. 8, 2013, on Navy letterhead, is titled "Disposition of actions by EP-3E flight crew on April 1, 2001." It explains that Osborn's plane was authorized to land on China's Hainan island "due to the extreme circumstances and condition of this aircraft."
But The World-Herald has learned that the unsigned memo was not authorized by the Navy, or vetted through normal channels, and was written as a favor to Osborn by a Navy buddy working at the Pentagon.
"We cannot confirm the authenticity of this document," said Lt. Cmdr. Katie Cerezo, a Navy spokeswoman. "We couldn't discuss a memo that we can't authenticate."
Just wow. Osborn forged a memo to cover his ass, and the Navy is dismissing it on the record? That's not something you see often, to say the least. But the story gets even more incredible. The author remains anonymous because, according to the paper, "his career could be jeopardized" if he comes forward, and his actions "could potentially lead to a criminal charge of violating orders or dereliction of duty." Here's a thought: If you have to shield your identity while helping your buddy in order to avoid prosecution, then maybe you're not really "helping" him after all.
Faking up military documents is a pretty grave sin, and entire campaigns have gotten derailed for less. Osborn is locked in a competitive Republican primary against Midland University President Ben Sasse, and while he's had small leads in recent polling, these revelations could alter that state of affairs in a hurry, particularly since Osborn's running heavily on the EP-3 incident and has even been running ads touting his deeds. But again, go and read it all for yourself—"hard to believe" doesn't even begin to describe it.