Al Kamen
Al Kamen
In the Loop

O’Reilly, still the boss

When last we checked, the Missile Defense Agency was buzzing with rumors that its director, Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly, might be leaving after 21 / 2 years in the top job.

That was in March 2011. The buzz seemed logical, given that the MDA ranked 223rd out of 224 smaller federal government operations in the previous year’s “Best Places to Work” survey by the highly regarded Partnership for Public Service.

Al Kamen

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. He began his reporting career at the Rocky Mountain News and joined The Post in 1980. He has covered local and federal courts, the Supreme Court and the State Department. Follow him on Twitter.


(Harry Hamburg/ASSOCIATED PRESS) - As director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly has struck some as a tad abrasive.

More from PostPolitics

Republicans have a demographic problem. And it’s going to get worse.

Republicans have a demographic problem. And it’s going to get worse.

2016 will be a tough election for the GOP to win. 2024 might be impossible.

IRS paid bonuses to tax-delinquent employees, report says

IRS paid bonuses to tax-delinquent employees, report says

The IRS doled out more than $2.8 million to workers with recent conduct issues including nonpayment of taxes, an inspector general said.

America, you have issues. Talk to us.

America, you have issues. Talk to us.

Share which issues are important to you, your community and the country.​​

Read more

At the time, Pentagon officials told us they understood that O’Reilly might be “demanding,” but the senior folks, one official said, think he’s doing a “very good job.” And O’Reilly stayed on.

But that was before the Pentagon inspector general’s May 2 report, which began leaking out July 2. It concluded that he “yelled and screamed at subordinates in both public and private settings” and “demeaned and belittled employees and, at least in one incident, demanded that a subordinate use profane language to admit to an alleged error.”

His “leadership style and actions,” the report continued, “resulted in the departure of several senior staff members, and caused his senior officials to hesitate to speak up” in meetings.

His leadership style, the investigation report concluded, was “inconsistent with standards expected of senior Army leaders, in violation of” Defense Department ethics regulations.

The IG investigation, first reported by Foreign Policy magazine’s blog, the Cable, noted that, in a March 5 response to the IG’s “tentative conclusion,” O’Reilly “disagreed” and “questioned the objectivity and accuracy of witness testimony and denied he engaged in many of the practices described in the report,” which he said were “extrapolations of inaccurate perceptions of isolated incidents.”

He also wanted the IG to interview four other people. “We did,” the report said, and “their testimony did not cause us to alter our conclusion.”

Bottom line: “We recommend the Secretary of the Army consider appropriate corrective action with regard to LTG O’Reilly.”

That would be Army Secretary John McHugh, the former GOP congressman from New York. So far, no action.

“The Secretary of the Army has received, and is currently reviewing, the DOD IG’s report. Any further comment at this time would be inappropriate,” Army spokesman George Wright e-mailed.

This has the feel of one shoe dropping.

Right on queue

In a town full of movers and shakers, some people prefer to remain still. Quiet. Ninja-like.

An ad on Craigslist is seeking (make that “DS,” for “desperately seeking”) a “professionally dressed individual” willing to remain serenely occupied for hours on end. The purpose?

Waiting in line for congressional hearings. The gig pays $10 an hour to someone willing to hold a place in a line for coveted seats at various hearings, meetings and other sessions on Capitol Hill.

But this is no run-of-the-mill line-standing position. The ad was posted by Robert Herzog, something of a legend in the annals of Washington line-standing. Just about any story about line-sitters includes a quote from him, and in a 2005 Washington Post story, he’s referred to as “the ninja . . . because of his mystical immobility.”

Herzog, it seems, is looking for someone willing to emulate his own stoic motionlessness. “I am looking for individuals who will remain quiet and still as myself,” he writes in the Craigslist ad. He suggests that the applicant spend the time “quietly studying.”

Herzog, a 14-year line-standing veteran, tells the Loop that it’s hard to find reliable people to work with him — the hours are unpredictable, and there’s little job security, he says. He recently had a guy with two master’s degrees show up for a few shifts. “It’s maybe not the best job in the world,” he admits.

Dream applicants surely include those street performers who pose as statues, or perhaps an out-of-work actual ninja.

We’re all in

What better way to show your support for America’s kids than to engage in a little wholesome, old-fashioned . . . gambling?

The Congressional Award Foundation, a charity established by Congress to recognize youth achievement, is set to raise some bucks at its annual poker tournament, slated for July 17 at the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill. The event typically brings together poker pros, like World Series of Poker great Phil Ivey , members of Congress and their staff — and reps from the foundation’s corporate sponsors.

So let’s get this straight — one could spend the evening schmoozing and gambling in a hotel called the Liaison and claim that it’s all for charity?

Hey, anything for the children.

With Emily Heil

The blog: Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

Read what others are saying