Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

NDU professor faces homicide charges, former Canadian commander in Kabul jail

You turn over a rock and things come out. I learned late yesterday that a professor at NDU, Jaime Garcia Covarrubias, was indicted for homicide in November. Covarrubias, a retired Chilean brigadier who is listed in an NDU document as a “professor of national security affairs,” was charged three months ago with being involved in ...

National Defense University
National Defense University
National Defense University

You turn over a rock and things come out. I learned late yesterday that a professor at NDU, Jaime Garcia Covarrubias, was indicted for homicide in November.

Covarrubias, a retired Chilean brigadier who is listed in an NDU document as a "professor of national security affairs," was charged three months ago with being involved in the deaths of seven political prisoners in Temuco, Chile, in 1973. Apparently he is still on the faculty of NDU. He is now in Chile, where he recently told a judge that he needed to return to NDU, as he was still under contract, but the judge denied him permission to leave the country.

I queried the powers that be at NDU about this last night. The spokesman responded:

You turn over a rock and things come out. I learned late yesterday that a professor at NDU, Jaime Garcia Covarrubias, was indicted for homicide in November.

Covarrubias, a retired Chilean brigadier who is listed in an NDU document as a “professor of national security affairs,” was charged three months ago with being involved in the deaths of seven political prisoners in Temuco, Chile, in 1973. Apparently he is still on the faculty of NDU. He is now in Chile, where he recently told a judge that he needed to return to NDU, as he was still under contract, but the judge denied him permission to leave the country.

I queried the powers that be at NDU about this last night. The spokesman responded:

Dr. Garcia Covarrubias is not an employee of the National Defense University. He is a Title X (Department of Defense civilian) employee of the Office of the Secretary of Defense with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency serving as the Executive Agent. His current appointment ends on February 25, 2014.

Please refer all future questions about Dr. Garcia Covarrubias’s employment to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Public Affairs.

Tom again: I’ve asked for clarification — are they saying the alleged killer is an NDU faculty member but not an NDU employee? That strikes me as quibbling. I will update if they respond.

In other unusual foreign military crime news, the Toronto Star reports that retired Brig. Daniel Menard, a former commander of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, has been held in a jail in Kabul for the last three weeks. So far no charges, the Star says. As a former resident of Kabul, I have to wonder if this is a classic Afghan shakedown. Menard, who got the boot from his military command for boffing a female corporal, had been working for a security company. While in (or out) of uniform, he also got in trouble over another kind of negligent discharge, with his weapon.

However, Tawfiq Aziz, a current resident of Kabul, reports on Michael Yon’s Facebook page that he called a friend at the interior ministry and was told that the issue is forged papers for the movement of arms.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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