- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Pentagon inspector general has confirmed to Congress that an investigation is underway into whether Marine Corps higher-ups retaliated against an officer who accused the commandant, Gen. James Amos, of meddling in a prosecution.

In letters to House and Senate members in recent weeks, the inspector general’s congressional affairs office wrote that the Directorate of Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations has two probes underway. Gen. Amos has denied any wrongdoing.

The inspector general is trying to determine whether senior officers retaliated against Maj. James Weirick, a judge advocate at the Quantico, Va., Marine base. He was stripped of his duties last year.

Maj. Weirick had said publicly that the inspector general was probing his retaliation complaint, and the letters provide the first confirmation and delineate the investigations’ parameters.

Maj. Weirick originally filed a whistleblower complaint of unlawful command influence against Gen. Amos and his staff. He said the commandant attempted to dictate punishment in the cases of Marines charged with wrongdoing in a video of snipers urinating on Taliban corpses in July 2011 in Afghanistan.

Maj. Weirick also accused Gen. Amos‘ office of illegally classifying evidence that made it difficult for attorneys to defend the accused, including Capt. James Clement, who faced court-martial at the time.

After Maj. Weirick sent a pointed email to a potential witness in his complaint case, Marine superiors lowered the boom. Robert Hogue, the chief civilian legal counsel to Gen. Amos, told the Marine Corps Times that he had read the email, in which Maj. Weirick referred to himself in the third person, as potentially threatening on the scale of the Washington Navy Yard massacre last year.

Maj. Weirick was removed from his legal duties, was directed to get a mental health evaluation, and was urged to turn in his licensed personal firearms, which he did.

Colleagues said one of Maj. Weirick’s personality traits is to refer to himself as “Weirick” in conversations and correspondence.

“It is demoralizing that the IG DOD investigation has taken so long,” Maj. Weirick said Sunday. “Over a year now. Also, as a whistleblower, I could not have expected Mr. Bobby Hogue, of the commandant’s office, to make disparaging remarks about me in the press, comparing me to the mass murderer from the Washington Navy Yard. This, despite the fact that mental health professionals determined I posed no risk. This type of treatment will only discourage other whistleblowers from coming forward.”

He was referring to Mr. Hogue’s mention of the Navy Yard killings a second time to the Marine Corps Times after two mental health examinations had cleared him.

Maj. Weirick said a Navy mental health professional issued an Oct. 13 report that said: “Homicidal Risk Assessment: None; History of Violence: No; Threatening Statements: No; Duty Status: Full Duty.”

He paid for a private licensed psychologist who reported later that month: “Maj. Weirick did not exhibit any signs of a mental disorder” and “He expressed no violent attitudes, nor suicidal or homicidal ideation.”

Maj. Weirick has received good fitness reports and has been selected to promotion to lieutenant colonel.

The inspector general’s letter to Congress says the two investigations are looking into whether the major was kept from communicating his accusations to members of Congress and whether he was the subject of reprisals for conducting what are supposed to be protected communications with lawmakers. As of last week, inspector general agents were conducting interviews.

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