The intelligence chief for the US Navy is named Twig Branch, and he hasn't been allowed to see any major intelligence for more than two years. This isn't a lost chapter from the satirically bizarre Catch-22—it's the truth behind the scenes of a major military corruption investigation, the Washington Post reveals. Vice Adm. Ted Branch ("Twig" is his nickname) has been barred from accessing classified info since November 2013, which is when the Navy got wind from the Justice Department that Branch may be entwined with a case involving bribery of Navy officials by a Malaysian defense contractor. Deciding it was too risky to keep him abreast of the most top-secret info, the Navy stripped him—and one of his deputies, Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless—of that access in anticipation of his possible indictment. Meanwhile, the investigation drags on.
While Loveless was moved to a lower-level position, Branch was kept in place—a move that has baffled military analysts. "I have never heard of anything as asinine, bizarre, or stupid in all my years," historian Norman Polmar tells the Post. (Polmar has begged the Navy to rethink this arrangement.) It does seem, at the very least, unwieldy: Not only is Branch barred from meeting with other top US intelligence officials about sensitive projects, he can't hear updates about them, either—and even strolling into a co-worker's office to say hi means that colleague has to "make sure any classified documents are locked up," per the Post. A Navy spokeswoman simply says that the bribery probe "has not impacted the Navy's ability to manage operations" and that Branch's sensitive tasks are managed by his deputies. (Read the entire odd story here.)