After Russian Bender, Fired US General Learns What Happens in Moscow Doesn’t Always Stay in Moscow

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 19 2013 8:31 PM

After Russian Bender, Fired US General Learns What Happens in Moscow Doesn’t Always Stay in Moscow

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Careful, this is a business trip.

Photo by ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images

In October, a general who was the commander of the Air Force nuclear missile arsenal was fired for conduct unbecoming an officer. On Thursday, investigators released a report on just how unbecoming Maj. Gen. Michael Carey’s conduct was. More specifically, Carey, during a four-day July trip to Russia to conduct a nuclear security training exercise, “acted in a manner that exceeded the limits of accepted standards of good conduct,” according to the Air Force inspector general’s report.

How exactly does one exceed the limits of accepted standards of good conduct? Like this. Here’s a rundown of Carey’s Moscow bender, via USA Today.

The report shows in detail the events of a trip to Russia July 14-18 in which witnesses, whose names were redacted, recalled how Carey began drinking on the commercial flight to Moscow and rarely took a break.
When he arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Moscow, he had drinks with his delegation in the executive lounge, complaining about bad morale in his command and lack of support from leaders, the report states. Carey and an unidentified man walked to the Ritz Carlton Hotel nearby and met "two foreign national women," returning to the Marriott between 2:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Carey overslept and was 45 minutes late in joining the delegation for its meeting with their Russian hosts. At lunch, he drank more than most and made comments about Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who divulged intelligence secrets and had received asylum in Russia. Carey also talked about Syria, a Russian ally, that has been embroiled in civil war and has used chemical weapons against citizens.
Carey interrupted a monastery tour guide with slurred speech, sulked on a group walk through Red Square and later tried to sing with a band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow. They refused to let him.
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Apparently, Carey mistook the trip for a bachelor party. Hindsight, as it usually does on a bender, did provide some clarity for Carey. According to the Washington Post, with respect to his female companions for the night, who were vague about whether they were Russian or British, “Carey later acknowledged to investigators that he was suspicious about their overt friendliness toward a visiting U.S. military commander in charge of nuclear secrets.” Despite the possibility that maybe these women just weren’t that in to him for the right reasons, Carey had another late night with the female clerk at the hotel cigar store. Again, looking back on it: “A tobacco store lady talking about physics in the wee hours of the morning doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” Carey told investigators, according to the Post. “You need to watch out for that because that’s just like our training says, you know, people are trolling for information.” Yes, you need to watch out for that.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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