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By Tim McMillan – The Debrief
As the Pentagon’s Director for Defense Intelligence and a senior executive in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security OUSD(I&S), Garry Reid was in charge of all counterintelligence, security, and law enforcement operations within the Department of Defense.
This, in addition to heading up the Afghanistan Crisis Action Group, the office tasked with evacuating Afghan refugees during America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Now, in an exclusive, The Debrief has learned that Reid was recently dismissed from his responsibilities within the U.S. government.
Before his ousting as Director of Defense Intelligence, Reid had been the subject of a nearly two-year-long investigation by The Debrief. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, multiple current and former Pentagon employees told The Debrief Reid had engaged in wide-ranging misconduct and corruption for years.
In the past four years, the DoD’s Inspector General’s Office had investigated Reid on numerous allegations, including maintaining a sexual relationship with a subordinate employee, sexual harassment, and fostering a hostile work environment.
In 2020, the IG Office found that Reid had violated Joint Ethics Regulations by creating an appearance of an inappropriate relationship or preferential treatment with a female subordinate and mishandling of Controlled Unclassified Information.
In May 2021, Reid was named in yet another formal IG complaint, this time involving former Director of National Programs Special Management Staff at OUSD(I&S), Luis Elizondo.
In his complaint, Elizondo accused Reid of playing a central role in obfuscating information regarding the Pentagon’s intriguing newfound interest in “unidentified aerial phenomena,” more commonly known as UFOs. Reid was also accused of maliciously misleading the public about Elizondo’s involvement with the DoD’s quasi-secret UFO program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
It’s not entirely clear what led to Reid’s recent dismissal. However, multiple defense officials familiar with the situation told The Debrief they believed the weight of the numerous past allegations, the disastrous withdrawal of refugees from Afghanistan, and current investigations into misconduct were too significant, and ultimately led to his dismissal.
In an email, Senior Spokesperson for the Department of Defense’s Public Affairs Office, Susan Gough, did not refute that Reid had been dismissed. However, the DoD declined to provide any further comment on the matter at this time.
According to a “Report of Investigation” obtained by The Debrief via the Freedom of Information Act, in late 2019, Reid was investigated by the DoD’s Inspector General’s Office regarding four separate complaints of him having sexual affairs with subordinate employees, sexual harassment and creating a “negative work environment.”
Two of the complaints accused Reid of having a sexual affair and providing preferential treatment to a female subordinate, identified in the report as “Employee 1.”
Various witnesses told IG investigators they had observed Reid and Employee 1 engaging in questionable behavior, including kissing, hugging, and close personal interactions. “They definitely stand closer to each other than I would stand next to any of my [colleagues],” one witness told investigators.
In 2018 and 2019, Reid and Employee 1 took personal trips out of town together on at least two occasions. During a third official trip to Europe in 2018, investigators said Reid and Employee 1 took two days of personal leave to go “sightseeing.”
Daily lunches between Reid and Employee 1 also raised eyebrows among co-workers.
According to witnesses, Reid and Employee 1 frequently enjoyed office lunches together, with some accounts saying the door to Reid’s office was often seen closed. Several witnesses also described the lunchtime powwows as “very weird.”
“[There were] two place settings, like … a restaurant” complete with “salt and pepper shakers, a side table, and some sparkling water,” witnesses were quoted saying.
IG investigators determined that for more than a year, Reid and Employee 1 regularly commuted to work and went to the gym together. One witness described the couple’s carpooling as “odd.”
“He’s the boss, and she’s a subordinate,” said one witness. “[I have] never seen that type of relationship between a supervisor and subordinate.”
Out of twenty witnesses interviewed by IG investigators, only three said Reid and Employee 1’s relationship was “solely professional.” The remaining witnesses described the couple as “close,” “very close,” “perceived close,” or “inappropriately close.” Several witnesses told investigators the relationship between Reid and Employee 1 made them feel “awkward.”
Then-Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Kari Bingen told IG investigators she had heard “rumors” that Reid and Employee 1 spent a lot of time together and had even raised the issue with him sometime in 2019. According to the report, Reid told Bingen he was merely “mentoring” Employee 1.
Independent investigation by The Debrief revealed the perception that Reid and Employee 1 were involved in an inappropriate relationship extended far beyond just the offices in OUSD(I&S).
Former senior officials who worked directly for former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and in the White House during the Trump administration told The Debrief it was “common knowledge” that Reid and Employee 1 were involved in an inappropriate, assumed romantic relationship.
One official who worked within the Office of the Secretary of Defense said they had heard a rumor that Reid and Employee 1 had been caught engaging in some type of sexual activity in the Pentagon parking lot. The official, who still works for the Department of Defense, reiterated this was only a rumor
During interviews, both Reid and Employee 1 denied allegations of being in a sexual affair, both describing their relationship instead as merely a very close friendship.
Employee 1 told IG investigators that she referred to herself as the “[Reid] whisperer and [Reid] interpreter” because “people bring things to me first, and they make me deliver the bad news,” which is “kind of my role.” For his part, Reid described his interactions with Employee 1 as being akin to a mentor and mentee.
Both Reid and Employee 1 admitted that on occasion, they may have kissed on the cheek or briefly hugged each other, but in a strictly platonic manner. Employee 1 told investigators that all of the kisses she received from Reid were “never uncomfortable” and didn’t “feel aggressive or inappropriate or meaningful.”
Reid denied providing preferential treatment, saying any added responsibilities or inclusion on travel trips outside of Employee 1’s scope of employment were part of his mentorship. Reid said this was done based on guidance by Deputy Undersecretary Bingen to “build up a bench” as part of talent management efforts by the DoD.
Though unmentioned in the IG report, The Debrief learned in its independent investigation that Employee 1 was promoted to a high-level executive position with OUSDI.
Ultimately, the IG Office concluded that Reid had violated DoD Joint Ethics Regulations by “establishing and maintaining a close and unduly familiar relationship with Employee 1, creating a widespread perception of an inappropriate relationship and favoritism.”
In a rebuttal to the IG Office’s conclusions, Reid said his frequent interactions with Employee 1 were due to an administrative reorganization in February 2019.
Short of flatly accusing Reid of lying, IG investigators said his statements “minimized his interactions” with Employee 1 by failing to highlight they had taken personal out-of-town trips and were commuting, eating lunch, and attending the gym together daily, in at least 2018.
While there was considerable circumstantial evidence, the IG’s Office ultimately said they could not substantiate that Reid and Employee 1 were engaged in a “sexual affair.” Investigators, however, noted they uncovered “many instances of conduct by Mr. Reid and her that were unduly personal and not professional or performance-related.”
The report’s authors underscored their conclusion by highlighting that Reid kissed Employee 1 on at least one occasion in her office and “routinely in the morning and evening hours during their commute together.”
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