A federal jury in Tampa found Scott Allan Bennett of Washington, DC guilty this month of lying to government officials to obtain housing on MacDill Air Force Base, as well as wearing a U.S. military uniform without authorization and violating a defense property security regulation with regard to firearms he had on MacDill Air Force Base. At his sentencing hearing in October, Bennett faces a maximum penalty of seven-and-a-half years in federal prison.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Bennett was a civilian contractor working on MacDill Air Force Base, southwest of downtown Tampa. Despite this fact, Bennett apparently falsely held himself out as an active duty military member and told Base housing employees that he was an aide to Admiral Eric Olson of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCom), which is headquartered at MacDill. MacDill is home to the two military commands leading wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – SOCom and U.S. Central Command.
As a result of his fraud, Bennett was able to obtain on-base housing. He was later found in possession of 10 guns and over 9,000 rounds of ammunition in his base residence. The weaponry was not registered as required by MacDill Air Force Base’s security regulation.
Bennett, a military Reservist, worked on the base for defense and intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. He reportedly lied to MacDill housing officials, telling them he was on active duty and served as an aide to Admiral Olson, who advised him to secure housing immediately. He said that Admiral Olson was at CENTCOM though, not with SOCom.
When asked for a copy of his active duty orders, Bennett replied, “My orders are TS/SCI [top secret] with CENTCOM so I need approval first for what I can leave on file and disclose.” At MacDill, only active-duty military personnel were allowed to get a base apartment or house because of the base’s high security.
Prosecutors said that Bennett’s lies were uncovered shortly after he was arrested for DUI at one of MacDill’s main gates in the spring of 2010. He was carrying a loaded, concealed weapon. Another gun and other weapons were found in his car. Additional investigation and this prosecution followed.