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General demoted for lavish travel, spending

November 13, 2012
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photo - FILE - In this this May 10, 2012 file photo, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey take part in a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, on the defense budget. Is the U.S. spending enough money on defense, and is it spending it in the right ways? In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the money spigot was turned wide open, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expanding the armed forces. Now that's changing, and an important issue in the election is whether budget cuts have gone too far. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Photo by
FILE - In this this May 10, 2012 file photo, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey take part in a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, on the defense budget. Is the U.S. spending enough money on defense, and is it spending it in the right ways? In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the money spigot was turned wide open, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expanding the armed forces. Now that's changing, and an important issue in the election is whether budget cuts have gone too far. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Photo by  

WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. official says Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demoted the former head of U.S. Africa Command who was accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses.

The official says Panetta stripped Gen. William "Kip" Ward of a star, which means that he will now retire as a three-star lieutenant general despite some arguments against the demotion. Ward will also repay the government $82,000.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss a personnel matter.

The demotion comes as retired Army Gen. David Petraeus resigned as CIA director because of an extramarital affair and Marine Gen. John Allen is being investigated for improper communications with a woman.

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