Air Force Responds to Congressional Inquiries on Weinstein

A few weeks ago it was noted that the Air Force reacted to Michael Weinstein — a civilian critic of religious freedom in the military — nearly instantaneously, while it had failed to respond to Congress — the governmental body that writes its rules and authorizes its paychecks — in weeks.  In fairness, it is worth noting the Air Force did eventually respond.

US Rep Doug Lamborn (R-Co) had co-signed a letter demanding explanations for the April meeting the Air Force held with Weinstein.  The response from the Air Force explains that Weinstein met with nine Air Force staff members, including TJAG LtGen Richard Harding and Deputy Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (BrigGen) Bobby Page. The one “gotcha” — the Congressional inquiry whether the Air Force was “aware” of Weinstein’s history of vitriolic attacks on Christians — was vaguely answered by Acting Secretary Eric Fanning: 

I am familiar with both Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF, and I am confident the Air Force professionals who attended the meeting are exceptionally well-suited to determine the appropriate weight and consideration warranted by the concerns Mr. Weinstein raised.

The Secretary’s letter closes with a stern reassurance:

General Welsh and I take seriously the responsibility of safeguarding the First Amendment rights and free exercise of religion of our Airmen.

Interestingly, based on the official government response, it seems someone isn’t being truthful about how the meeting came to be.  Secretary Fanning said

Mr. Weinstein requested the meeting…

But Weinstein said

We were invited GUESTS of the Pentagon…

So who is telling the truth?