MSNBC's Rachel Maddow brought on former Air Force Major Mike Almy, a gay soldier discharged under "don't ask, don't tell," to refute recent claims made by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that the military was not "seeking out" servicemembers who were gay.
Almy, a 13-year veteran of the Air Force, was kicked out of the armed forces after superiors investigated his personal emails and found a correspondence between he and his partner. He told Maddow that he was "dumbfounded" by McCain's insistence after Tuesday's filibuster that the military was not looking into the sexual orientation of its soldiers.
Here's what Almy had to say on "The Rachel Maddow Show":
I testified before the Senate Armed Forces Committee in March and told my story. Senator McCain was there. He sat 20 feet away from me and he listened to every word of my testimony. For him to make that statement today, that the military does not search private e-mails, tells me that he either didn't listen to my testimony in this past March, he forgot what I said, or he's being deliberately deceptive with the American public about the true nature of "don't ask, don't tell" and using partisan politics over the interests of national security. The simple truth is the Air Force searched my private e-mails in 2005 in Iraq. During the height of the insurgency they launched an investigation solely to look into my private e-mails, solely to determine if I had violated "don't ask, don't tell" and to find whatever evidence they could use against me. And those emails, searched in Iraq, were the sole basis of my discharge from the Air Force, despite me never having made once one statement to the Air Force that had violated "don't ask, don't tell" in my entire 13-year service career. So for Senator McCain to make that allegation, I'm just dumbfounded about where he comes up with that type of explanation, that type of an answer to a reporter, and to be quite honest with you, I'm very angry at that statement today.
Asked if he planned to visit the Senator's office, an offer that McCain had put forth during the interview with journalists Kerry Eleveld and Chris Geidner on Tuesday, Almy said he would enjoy the opportunity.
"I would love to visit Senator McCain in person," the discharged soldier said. "I would love to shake his hand and I would love him to look me directly in the eye and tell me that the military does not search private emails, because I know for a fact that that's not true."
While the official military protocol as mandated by "don't ask, don't tell" does, as McCain insisted, prohibit "seeking out" the sexual orientation of troops, Almy alleged that the policy was being exploited and infringed upon to target gay servicemembers.
"The military violated "don't ask, don't tell," Almy said of his case. "That's just one example among hundreds of others of how this policy has been abused and violated to serve the purposes of the military. It's not there to protect gays and lesbians, it's there to throw them out."