Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican candidate for the Illinois Senate
seat once held by Barack Obama
, has admitted he didn't receive a U.S. award that he had claimed for his service in the NATO conflict with Serbia in the late 1990s, the Washington Post
In a message on his blog, Kirk said "upon a recent review of my records, I found that an award listed in my official biography was misidentified." An award went to his unit, not to him individually, he said.
The Post said it had been investigating whether the award, the U.S. Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year, had gone to Kirk after complaints from Kirk's Senate Democratic opponent, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Kirk, a member of the House
Appropriations Committee in his fifth term, was in the Navy Reserve based with a unit in Aviano, Italy during the Serbian conflict. The unit, an intelligence division, received an award in 2000 from a professional organization, the National Military
Intelligence Association, for "exceptional achievements of an outstanding Naval Intelligence career professional," the Post said. But that citation did not come from the U.S. Navy and made no mention of Kirk personally in giving the entire Intelligence Division Electronic Attack Wing at Aviano for the award.
A spokesman for Kirk said Saturday night that the "career professional award" is designated by the U.S. Navy and then awarded by the intelligence association.