DOD uses undisclosed files to defend sex assault testimony

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is relying on information it won’t make public to dispute an Associated Press investigation that found the military misled Congress about sexual assault cases to blunt support for Senate legislation.

In a report sent Thursday to a bipartisan group of senators, the Pentagon refers to undisclosed files about several of the cases to challenge AP’s findings. But the response, which faults AP for inconsistencies and misunderstandings, fails to conclusively counter the investigation.

The Pentagon opposes the legislation, authored by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, because it would strip military commanders of their power to decide whether sexual assault cases should go to trial.

AP’s investigation centered on internal military records obtained last year through the Freedom of Information Act by the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders.