Another conviction in Air Force promotions test cheating ring
October 8, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. — Another participant in the Air Force’s Weighted Airmen Promotion System (WAPS) test scandal has been found guilty of participating in a cheating ring that has rocked the service’s carefully regulated promotions testing process.
Capt. Rhonda McDaniel, of the 45th Space Wing, was found guilty Thursday of wrongfully possessing and giving the contents of the controlled test materials to other Air Force members, according to a news release from the wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
McDaniel was sentenced to dismissal from the Air Force.
The WAPS test is required for any enlisted airman who is seeking promotion to the grade of E-5 (staff sergeant) and above.
The test comes in different versions for each job specialty and grade, and more than 100,000 airmen take the tests every year, Air Force officials said.
The cheating scandal broke in May 2005, when the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, began investigating the possibility that Master Sgt. Abdur-Rahim Saafir, a test examiner, had provided WAPS material to another airman.
Saafir was found guilty of the charges in July 2005 and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, a demotion to E-1 and 42 months in the brig.
The investigation quickly widened far beyond Saafir, however. Investigators soon fingered him as the ringleader of a group of airmen who passed information about the test to other airmen as early as 1996 via a cooperative ring stretching from Germany and Turkey to Japan and South Korea.
To date the Air Force has charged 14 people in the scandal. Some have already been court-martialed, demoted or discharged from the military, while others’ trials are pending.
McDaniel was an enlisted technical sergeant in 2000 when she was involved in the ring, according to an Oct. 6 story in Florida Today that cites testimony offered against her by Saafir in her court-martial.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.