Following news reports that the Navy's chief investigator had concluded that Senator John Kerry's Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts were "properly approved," CNN co-host and syndicated columnist Robert Novak claimed on September 18 that the Navy investigator general said only that "you cannot go back to these and reinvestigate these awards of medals 30 years ago -- that's all he said."
From the September 18 edition of CNN's The Capital Gang:
NOVAK: The Naval IG [Vice Admiral Ronald Route] said you cannot go back to these and reinvestigate these awards of medals 30 years ago -- that's all he said. He didn't say that he had investigated them and they're all valid. He said that it's -- in his opinion, the Navy IG couldn't do it.
Here's what the Associated Press reported on September 17 about the contents of Navy inspector general Vice Admiral Ronald Route's internal Navy memo, which was in response to a request from "public interest group" Judicial Watch to "open an investigation" into Kerry's medals:
"Our examination found that existing documentation regarding the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals indicates the awards approval process was properly followed," Route wrote in the memo sent Friday to Navy Secretary Gordon England.
"In particular, the senior officers who awarded the medals were properly delegated authority to do so. In addition, we found that they correctly followed the procedures in place at the time for approving these awards."
"Conducting any additional review regarding events that took place over 30 years ago would not be productive," he wrote. "The passage of time would make reconstruction of the facts and circumstances unreliable, and would not allow the information gathered to be considered in the context of the time in which the events took place.
"Our review also considered the fact that Senator Kerry's post-active duty activities were public and that military and civilian officials were aware of his actions at the time. For these reasons, I have determined that Senator Kerry's awards were properly approved and will take no further action in this matter."