Gray’s ordeal began in April 2008 after I covered the Arlington funeral of an officer killed in the Iraq war. While there, I observed a dispute between Gray and deputy superintendentThurman Higginbotham, the man later at the center of the Arlington scandals. Higginbotham was trying to prevent reporters from observing the burial, in violation of the family’s wishes and Arlington’s regulations — and Gray, though new on the job, told him he was wrong.
Gray registered her objections internally — but loudly. She refused to sign off on a report to the Army secretary’s office that was a whitewash of the way burials were handled at Arlington because, she said, her higher-ups were violating Defense Department regulations. She began to learn of other misdeeds by Arlington management and attempted to let military officials know; in June 2008, according to one of Gray’s legal filings, she told the commanding general of the Military District of Washington about “major problems” at the cemetery, involving fraud, mismanagement and broken regulations.
Two days later, she was fired.
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