Fw: Brown Death Case: Gag Order Broadened

James Daugherty (daugh@home.msen.com)
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 08:04:35 -0500

This is your government:

-----Original Message-----
From: RuddyUpdate@ruddynews.com <RuddyUpdate@ruddynews.com>
To: Lloyd Miller <lloyd@a-albionic.com>
Date: Thursday, December 11, 1997 3:35 PM
Subject: Brown Death Case: Gag Order Broadened

|Brown Death Case: Gag Order Broadened
|By Christopher Ruddy
|December 11, 1997
|WASHINGTON - The chief medical examiner for the U.S.
|armed forces, reacting to press criticism of his
|agency's handling of the death of Commerce Secretary
|Ron brown, issued a sweeping gag order Wednesday on
|military and civilian personnel in his office.
|At approximately 1 p.m., Dr. Jerry Spencer, chief
|medical examiner for the Armed Forces Institute of
|Pathology, hand-delivered a memo signed by himself to
|approximately 20 AFIP staff members. The memo placing
|restrictions on those staffers comes in the wake of
|allegations by two AFIP forensic pathologists that the
|agency did not properly investigate Brown's death.
|The pathologists, Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Cogswell and
|Army Lt. Col. David Hause, have criticized AFIP for not
|conducting and autopsy on Brown's body upon its return
|to the United States from the site of a military jet
|crash in Croatia in April 1996.
|Both men allege that AFIP did not properly investigate
|a suspicious head wound that both agree may have been
|caused by a gunshot. The Two forensic pathologists also
|claim that x-rays of Brown's head have mysteriously
|disappeared from the case file.
|Spencer informed his staff in the memo that "a command
|investigation" was underway "regarding procedures and
|individual actions related to the (Tribune-Review)
|article 'Experts disagree on Ron Brown Head Wound'
|authored by Christopher Ruddy and other related
|Cogswell's concerns were detailed in the article.
|Hause's supporting comments were reported in a follow-
|up article this week.
|Chris Kelly, a spokesman for AFIP, said the internal
|investigation does not include a review of official
|findings that Brown died of "blunt force injuries"
|suffered in the crash. Kelly noted that an experienced
|medical examiner ruled the circular wound on Brown's
|head was not caused by a gunshot.
|The investigation, he said, would focus on "policies
|and procedures on the Brown case."
|He declined to comment on whether the missing x-rays
|would be part of the investigation.
|Spencer's memo laid out very specific restrictions on
|AFIP staff during the investigation:
|** All Staffers are to refer press calls to the public
|affairs officer. "Do not make any statements to the
|press without prior public affairs coordination,"
|Spencer wrote.
|** All staff members are to stay at their duty stations
|in AFIP's Rockville, Md., offices for the duration of
|their working day. Staff, including ranking military
|officers, must seek approval to leave the building for
|**Staffers are to turn over "slides, photos, x-rays and
|other materials" relating to the Brown case.
|In the past, AFIP medical examiners have been allowed
|to keep such case materials at their homes for use in
|The widely distributed memo mirrors one that placed
|similar restrictions on Cogswell alone last week. Last
|friday, Cogswell was escorted to his home by an Air
|Force police officer who demanded entry to his house
|while Cogswell retrieved case materials in his
|One AFIP staff member told the Tribune-Review that the
|treatment of Cogswell was "unheard of" for a military
|officer and likened the restrictions on his movements
|to "house arrest."
|Spokesman Kelly took umbrage at that description and
|said Cogswell and other staff members are free to go
|home at the end of their work day.
|Another staff member told the Tribune-Review that
|yesterday's Spencer memo indicated "there is a lot of
|panic" among senior military officials concerned about
|negative publicity in the case.
|In a previous interview, Hause told the Tribune-Review
|that AFIP actions against Cogswell ignored concerns
|over the handling of the Brown case.
|Kelly reiterated that AFIP stands by its conclusion of
|accidental death and said the internal inquiry is being
|conducted to "make sure things administratively were
|done properly" in the Brown case.

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