“Ready, fire, aim” is not a good plan for fighter pilots or interviewees.
The Washington Times today has a story about Navy Reserve Captain Tim Dorsey who has been nominated for promotion to rear admiral. Such an honor usually means the nominee has had a remarkable career.
Dorsey’s record includes having shot down a plane.
Unfortunately it was one of ours.
According to the Times, in 1987, as a mere lieutenant junior grade, Dorsey was flying an F-14 and engaged in a training exercise and inexplicably fired a missile at a U.S. Air Force RF-4C reconnaissance jet — destroying the aircraft. The crew of two narrowly escaped death by ejecting.
The subsequent investigation declared the incident “not the result of an accident, but the consequences of a deliberate act” and a “disregard of known facts and circumstances.” Those kind of evaluations are not normally career builders.
After the investigation said his conduct “raises substantial doubt as to his capacity for good, sound judgment,” Dorsey turned in his wings and became an intelligence officer and a lawyer in the naval reserve. He is now the inspector general for a Navy Reserve detachment in Norfolk, VA.
Not surprisingly, the media wanted to talk to Dorsey about his career rising from the wreckage. In our view, he demonstrated continued bad judgment by engaging. He didn’t say much — but how he said it shows that he is still a little quick on the trigger.
“I’m going to have to decline to talk right now, based on the kind of job I’m going to be taking,” he explained. “I’m not really big on talking to press for anything.”
So what his this new job? According to the Times, he says
“It means heading up some intel factions. So it’s not something I would typically do. I (would) rather not see my name in the paper at all now because of the job I’m getting ready to take. A lack of press is good on what I’m getting ready to do.”
Dorsey had an easy escape route — when someone whose nomination is under consideration by the Senate — the right course is always to simply decline to comment out of respect for the approval process. Simply saying: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment while my nomination is under consideration” is all he should have said.
He should have stowed the rest of his shaky excuses. Telling a reporter that you would “rather not see your name in the paper” and implying that there is some operational secrecy need because of your impending assignment in the naval reserve is just another demonstration of continued bad judgment.