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Pentagon to investigate leak of 'don't ask, don't tell' survey

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Barely a third of servicemembers responded to the survey
  • NEW: A similar percentage of military spouses responded to a corresponding survey
  • The Washington Post reported few in the military think the repeal would cause problems
  • Gates "is very concerned and extremely disappointed" at the leak, the Pentagon says

Washington ((CNN) -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has ordered an investigation into a leak to the Washington Post about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The Post earlier this week reported that more than 70 percent of service members surveyed about the policy regarding gay men and lesbians in the military said the effect of repealing it "would be positive, mixed or nonexistent."

"Secretary Gates is very concerned and extremely disappointed that unnamed sources within the Department of Defense have selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release," according to a statement released Friday evening by Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.

"Anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of this process," the statement said.

The statement came just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" will remain in effect during a legal battle in the federal court. A U.S. district judge recently ruled that the law is unconstitutional, but higher courts have put a stay on her ruling during the appeals process.

The Comprehensive Review Working Group was established by Gates durin the summer to objectively ascertain the impact of potential repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law on military readiness, effectiveness, recruiting, retention, unit cohesion and families.

The Defense Department sent out surveys to about 400,000 active duty and reserve troops about the policy. Fewer than 120,000 troops responded, according to the Pentagon.

The survey of troops is just part of that review. There is a separate survey of 150,000 military spouses. About 45,000 spouses sent back those surveys.

Morrell's statement says Gates' "strongly condemns" the leak and "has directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization."

The Pentagon will make the full report available to the public after December 1.