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Gen. Amos‘ staff used the assertive email as justification to remove Maj. Weirick from his legal post. In an interview with the Marine Corps Times, Gen. Amos‘ civilian legal adviser, Robert Hogue, likened Maj. Weirick to the Navy Yard gunman.

Higher-ups also urged the major to turn in his licensed firearms, which he did, and undergo a mental health examination.

“I’ve never had any mental health issue at any time in my life,” Maj. Weirick said. “I was cleared by the Navy physician who looked at me.”

Then came a poor fitness review from his former supervisor, the same officer who gave him a glowing report a year earlier. Maj. Weirick has been selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel and expects to assume the higher rank next summer.

To Maj. Weirick and his many supporters in the criminal defense community, actions by Gen. Amos and his staff amounted to violations of the military code against unlawful command influence and the federal law against retaliations against employees who expose wrongdoing.

“The overreaction to the email is what upsets me about this,” said Mr. Jones. “I think it does go to the civilian staff in the commandant’s office. They just went after him and closed the doors to his office. I cannot see where [the email] is threatening at all. He’s asking a man if you know anything about the truth of a situation to come forward with the truth. There is no hope in America if we don’t think the truth matters. I want to do everything to make sure that Maj. Weirick has a future in the Marine Corps because he is an honorable man.”

In October, 27 former staff judge advocates urged the chairmen of the House and Senate armed services committees to investigate.

“We urge you to exercise your oversight responsibilities and fully explore these events so that due process, fundamental fairness, and most of all, integrity, remain most revered within the military justice system and in the tradition of the United States Marine Corps,” the former military lawyers said to Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, California Republican, and Sen. Carl M. Levin, Michigan Democrat.

Retired Marine Col. Jane Siegel, Maj. Weirick’s attorney, said he has brought his improper classification charge to the federal Information Security Oversight Office. An arm of the National Archives, the oversight office is authorized to investigate the wrongful classification of national security documents.

“Basically, the IG has given the commandant and his henchmen a pass,” Col. Siegel said. “Unbelievable and not a neutral investigation.”

A spokesman for Gen. Amos declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for the Pentagon inspector general said the office does not comment on the existence of investigations.

‘No other explanation’

As for Capt. Clement, the Marine Corps abruptly dismissed criminal charges just as the defense prepared to make Gen. Amos‘ conduct an issue in public pretrial motions and hearings.

He was referred to an administrative board of inquiry. It found no misconduct, but did conclude that he failed to properly supervise Marines on patrol who urinated on the corpses while fighting in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Capt. Clement argued that his job that day was radio operator and that the patrol was supervised by another Marine. The board recommended an honorable discharge.

Mr. Dowd filed a Nov. 19 appeal to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

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