General demoted for lavish travel, spending

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Gen. William E. Ward demoted for lavish travel and spending

US Army General and first commander of US Africa Command William E. Ward has been demoted for lavish travel and spending (AP photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) – 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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