Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, said
he didn't win the U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year award as
he earlier claimed but a different award.
Kirk's official biography on his campaign website had said was named the Intelligence Officer of the Year in 1999 for his service during NATO and U.S. military operations in Kosovo. While speaking in March 2002 on counterterrorism operations during a Congressional hearing, Kirk said he was the "Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year in 1998." (See the video below.)
Kirk admitted the error in a campaign blog
post and changed his biography Thursday to say that he won the Vice
Admiral Rufus L. Taylor Award for given to outstanding Naval Intelligence officers.
"It was one of the honors of my life to lead the Intelligence Division Electronic Attack Wing Aviano, Italy -- and I am very proud of this award," he wrote on his campaign blog. "My official biography will reflect this updated information."
Kirk also posted fitness reports from his service in Kosovo in which a senior officer praised him as "head and shoulders above any other intelligence officer" he had met.
Kirk is running against Illinois treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) to fill the Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.
A representative for Giannoulias had complained about Kirk's military award to the Washington Post, sparking inquiries into the matter, the Post said Saturday.
Kirk's campaign, which has sought to tie Giannoulias to the collapse of his family's bank, Broadway Bank, said Giannoulias had no standing to question Kirk's record.
“Alexi Giannoulias is a failed mob banker whose reckless lending practices cost the FDIC $394 million when they closed his family bank and he cost Illinois families tens of millions in losses from the state’s college savings fund," said Eric Elk, a Kirk spokesman. "Giannoulias is in no position to question the character or integrity of a distinguished Naval Officer.”
This post was updated at 1:40 p.m. Sunday