POLITICS

Webb Introduces New Bill to Punish Military Impersonators

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Politics,World,Sara A. Carter

Sen. Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, introduced a new bill Tuesday titled, "The Military Service Integrity Act of 2012," which would bring criminal penalties to any individual for making a false claim to have served in the military. Webb designed the measure to conform to a recent Supreme Court decision in the so-called "Stolen Valor" case in which the high court said it was a fair exercise of free speech to claim falsely to be a war hero.

Webb's bill focuses on the idea that some people have benefitted from making a false claim of military service or heroism. The bill makes it a crime to "secure a tangible benefit or a personal gain" from such a claim. People could still lie about their military achievements, as the court ruled, as long as they don't profit or gain personal status.

"Profiting from the misrepresentation of military service or the award of a decoration or medal for personal gain undermines the value of service and is offensive to all who have stepped forward to serve our country in uniform," Webb said. "The Supreme Court has outlined a very clear way forward to bring accountability to such reprehensible actions. The legislation I am introducing will do so within the scope of the protections offered to all Americans under the First Amendment."

Sara A. Carter is The Washington Examiner's national security correspondent. She can be reached at scarter@washingtonexaminer.com.

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