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Are There Differences Between U.S. Marine Brezler’s Classified Email Case and Hillary’s?

Are There Differences Between U.S. Marine Brezler’s Classified Email Case and Hillary’s?

Compare and contrast

Hillary Clinton has never adequately explained her decision to use an alternate and insecure email system. Her initial excuse (wanting to use one device) turned out to be untrue, and people have speculated ever since on the real reasons. But no one—not even Hillary herself—has ever offered a possible reason that was altruistic.

Unlike the case of Jason Brezler, in which his motive was decidedly selfless.

Brezler’s actions and the possible consequences for those actions as a member of the military are subject to the rules and laws of that institution; Clinton’s are not. And like Clinton, Brezler has never been indicted for a crime, although like her he sent classified information through a regular email account. But his motives, the extent of his offense, his behavior after the offense, and official reaction to that offense have been markedly different from what Clinton did and what happened to her afterward.

Brezler had served as a Marine in Afghanistan, and in 2012 (two years after returning home; he was now a reservist), Brezler received an urgent email from a fellow officer warning him about the reappearance of an Afghan named Jan with whom Brezler had previously had extensive dealings:

[While in Afghanistan] Brezler had come to the conclusion that Jan was involved in narcotics and arms trafficking as well as facilitating attacks by the Taliban, even selling Afghan police uniforms to the enemy. Jan also was alleged to be what Brezler’s lawyer would call “a systematic child rapist” who allegedly ran a child kidnapping ring and acquired “tea boys” with the help of U.S. taxpayer job development money.

…Brezler kept pushing and was finally able to pressure the provincial governor into removing Jan from his post, a rare and notable bright spot in the bloodiest province in the bloodiest year of the war.

That’s the background. Here’s what the 2012 email was about, and what happened next [emphasis mine]:

…[H]ere was this email from a fellow Marine officer in Afghanistan saying Jan was back as police chief and had allegedly been raping as many as nine boys at Forward Operating Base Delhi. The email asked Brezler for any information he might be able to provide.

The Marines had not issued laptops during Brezler’s deployment, and he had used his own to send and receive reports while in the war zone…it seemed like a stroke of great luck that the lone report he inadvertently still had on hand summarized the allegations against Jan.

Brezler attached the report to his reply and emailed it with…urgency…

The fellow officer who had made the inquiry and received the response, identified by one source as Marine Maj. Brian Donlon, noted that in his haste Brezler had sent what was technically a classified document via an insecure mode of communication. Brezler acknowledged the error and duly reported himself, in keeping with a code of honor befitting a graduate of the Naval Academy.

The aftermath? Nothing was done about Jan, he and his “tea boys” continued to come and go on the base, and seventeen days later one of those boys entered the base gym and murdered three unarmed Marines, wounding a fourth. The murders occurred in August of 2012, and in December of 2013 a panel recommended that Brezler be “tossed from the military but given an honorable discharge.”

Brezler’s case has not gone unnoticed by certain members of Congress, among them Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), who have tried to clear his record:

“The one person who did the right thing is the person who’s being penalized,” King said.

King made that statement in late 2013, and in November of 2015 Brezler lost and the military’s decision was upheld:

A senior Navy Department official decided Monday to force a Marine Corps officer out of the service for his handling of classified information, three years after he was first investigated after sending a warning to deployed colleagues about an Afghan police chief whose servant later killed three Marines.

Maj. Jason Brezler will be separated from the Marine Corps following a decision by acting Assistant Navy Secretary Scott Lutterloh, said Michael Bowe, Brezler’s attorney.

That was the military’s decision. After that, the case went to the civilian courts for further appeal:

“We will now proceed to a real court and prove that Commandant Amos and his generals illegally retaliated against Major Brezler because they were more concerned with politics and their careers than the lives of their Marines and the service of a good Marine who did the right thing,” [Brezler’s attorney] Bowe said in an e-mailed statement. “I look forward to their cross-examination.”

There are other legal elements involved in the military’s handling of Brezler and of the murders, including a civil lawsuit:

…filed by the family of one of the Marines killed [which] remains pending against the service in federal court. It alleges that the service ignored Brezler’s warning that the police chief, Sarwar Jan, was corrupt and sexually abusing children, allowing for the Aug. 10, 2012, ambush in which Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley, 21; Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, 29; and Cpl. Richard Rivera Jr., 20; were killed at Forward Operating Delhi, a Marine Corps outpost in Helmand province’s Garmsir district. A fourth Marine sustained five gunshot wounds but survived.

The suit was filed…by the Buckley family, which also is represented by Bowe. In court filings, they have repeatedly expressed frustration with the amount of information the Marine Corps has provided them about the case.

As of now, Brezler’s case is still proceeding through the court system, and his defense plans to make use of the decisions made in the case of Hillary Clinton’s classified emails:

An attorney for Brezler, Michael J. Bowe, said that he intends to cite the treatment of Clinton “as one of the many, and most egregious examples” of how severely Brezler was punished…

Bowe said it is impossible to reconcile President Obama’s statement that Clinton’s intentional act of setting up a secret, unsecured email server did not detract “from her excellent ability to carry out her duties” while Brezler received a “completely opposite finding… involving infinitely less sensitive and limited information.”

If Hillary Clinton were to become president, those duties would include being Commander in Chief of the armed forces. As such, of course, she would nevertheless still be a civilian and not subject to the military justice system nor to military rules.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Democrats have no shame!

Well that boy needs to go and git hisself a vagina and register as a democrat.

    MTED in reply to Anchovy. | July 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Haven’t you heard? You don’t need a vagina to be a woman. Or a democrat.

      DaveGinOly in reply to MTED. | July 14, 2016 at 12:40 am

      True. He just has to identify as a woman. While he’s at it, he should also identify as a black undocumented alien with TB. That should be worth something.

There is one very important difference: the marine’s name is not Hillary Clinton.

That’s why he gets punished, and she walks.

inspectorudy | July 13, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Let’s compare the two cases. One was a careless, no reckless handler of top secret classified material for one’s own convenience and privacy after leaving the office. And the other was to try and protect or warn his fellow Marines of the existing danger to them from “Friendly” Iraquis. The reckless and arrogant one got off scot free. The noble one, who was a selfless comrade to his friends in danger got thrown out of the USMC and is now fighting to stay out of prison. Naw, the system isn’t rigged. ABH!

Common Sense | July 13, 2016 at 6:05 pm

Very simple…. C-L-I-N-T-O-N !

The important question is – did Brezler ‘intend’ to expose classified emails? After all, the “most qualified Presidential candidate in history” wasn’t smart enough to know better, why would a lowly soldier know better?

    DaveGinOly in reply to rinardman. | July 14, 2016 at 12:47 am

    Even if the exposure of information on unsecure systems was equal in the two cases, whose email is more likely to be monitored by foreign agents – that of the Secretary of State or that of a USMC major? The likelihood that the former would happen rather than the latter is extreme; the former has far greater potential for damage to national security.

Clinton is incompetent, corrupt scum.

Brezler is not.

It is a travesty, regardless of shrillary’s law breaking.

He is a hero, not a criminal. A slap on the wrist would be sufficient, and then a thanks for trying to protect fellow American servicemen.

It’s CYA all the way up the food chain in the Marines now. They can say if he had followed proper protocol they could have intervened and those Marines would be alive today. The proper protocol wouldn’t have mattered as the us military did nothing in the first place and the higher brass looked the other way as “this is how it is with their customs”. Key point to why he went back channel with this.
“Brezler kept pushing and was finally able to pressure the provincial governor into removing Jan from his post, a rare and notable bright spot in the bloodiest province in the bloodiest year of the war.”
The US military didn’t do it, a Marine Major couldn’t convince his superiors that this was a bad guy that needed to be rolled up and squeezed. He had to put pressure on the local governor. We see the US brass looking the other way all the time now. Green Berets Sgt. First Class Charles Martland and Captain, Dan Quinn took matters into their own hands with a serial child rapist that was an Afghan Militia commander. He had his tea boys also and had to be physically convinced to not rape them. Again higher ups looking the other way. The brass does not make these decisions in a vacuum, they don’t decide to look away from these disgusting local customs on their own. They are Americans also and know that child rape, hell any kind of rape is wrong. They have been told that these are local customs and we shouldn’t be imparting our morals or values on others. The rot is at the top and working it’s way down. Becoming a General is a political appointment. You can have all the scores, be a hero and beloved by all your men, but when it comes time to get a star you still have to have be approved by the President. With President Pouty deciding who did and didn’t get a star for the past 7 plus years we are going to continue to have these problems in the coming decade.