- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Marine Corps whistleblower says the Pentagon is investigating whether higher-ups retaliated against him for filing complaints against the Marine commandant.

But Maj. James Weirick, a staff judge advocate at the Marine base at Quantico, Va., said the Pentagon inspector general reviewed his complaint that Gen. James Amos committed unlawful command influence and decided against a formal investigation. He said the inspector general decided that the military justice system should be the venue to settle such disputes.

The major said he spoke with the inspector general’s office this month and “they said they are reopening the case and it is a priority for them” on his retaliation complaint.

Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Committee on Armed Services, said he urged the inspector general to pick up the case.

“What has happened to Maj. Weirick is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr. Jones said. “It is an example of a man of integrity, meaning Maj. Weirick, who the leadership of the Marine Corps is trying to make a scapegoat for doing what he thinks was right. The leadership is threatening the integrity by going after Maj. Weirick.”

Higher-up: Marine Corps. Commandant Gen. James Amos is accused of retaliating against a major who said he was misusing his influence. (Associated Press)
Higher-up: Marine Corps. Commandant Gen. James Amos is accused of retaliating against ... more >

Maj. Weirick has been at the center of a court battle over the fate of Capt. James V. Clement, one of eight Marines singled out for punishment in a video posted in 2012 that showed sharpshooters urinating on bodies of dead Taliban fighters.

The video embarrassed the Obama administration, and Gen. Amos went on a national tour to threaten Marines who violate codes of conduct, citing rising sexual assault cases and the desecration video.

As the Clement case proceeded, Maj. Weirick learned that Gen. Amos took the unusual step of seeking to dictate the punishment of all eight Marines in a private meeting with the officer then overseeing the cases, Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser.

Maj. Weirick also observed that Gen. Amos‘ legal staff at the Pentagon was wrongly withholding documents — in his view — from Capt. Clement’s defense team on grounds that they were classified. The action was making it difficult for Capt. Clement’s attorney, John M. Dowd, to obtain information to defend his client, who was charged with dereliction of duty but did not take part in or know about the desecration.

Maj. Weirick alerted the defense about what he knew and filed charges with the inspector general in March. A military judge allowed the Clement attorneys to interview Gen. Waldhauser.

Gen. Waldhauser, who is supposed to be an impartial overseer, told Mr. Dowd that Gen. Amos ordered him to “crush” the defendants, court-martial all of them and kick them out of the Corps — an order he refused.

Having second thoughts, Gen. Amos replaced Gen. Waldhauser, but his staff did not disclose the reason to the defense or his replacement. They also misled reporters about the reason, according to the Marine Corps Times.

Maj. Weirick remained in his post as a legal adviser to the Quantico commander until he sent a pointed email to a Marine civilian attorney, and potential inspector general witness, urging him to tell the truth.

Unlawful command influence

What happened next are grounds for the major’s complaint of reprisal.

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