- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Marine Corps public affairs director is lashing out at The Washington Times on Twitter for a report about the former Marine commandant padding his official resume submitted to the Senate in 2010.

Capt. Richard Ulsh, director of communication at Marine Forces Europe and Africa, took offense to the report’s timing a few days before Gen. James Amos turned over the Corps to Gen. Joseph Dunford on Friday. Capt. Ulsh also did not like the headline, “Semper Lie: Marine Corps Commandant James Amos padded resume.”

“Anything to muckrake,” Capt. Ulsh tweeted on the feed posted by the story’s reporter, also the author of this article. “Not only is your article not timely it is useless. Semper Lie is a low point for @WashTimes.”

Capt. Ulsh’s tweet triggered a back and forth with former Marine Judge Advocate Lee Thweatt of Houston. Mr. Thweatt was part of a group of former Corps defense lawyers who urged Congress to investigate Gen. Amos for alleged unlawful command influence in several criminal cases.

Mr. Thweatt, skeptical that Gen. Amos had ever attended The Basic School, a vigorous six-month rite of passage for young officers, did an investigation, and sent his findings to the Pentagon and Congress on Oct. 1. He asserted there was no evidence that Gen. Amos attended as he had indicated in a signed statement when he was up for Senate confirmation.

Prodded by journalists and one member of Congress, Marine Corps public affairs acknowledged that Gen. Amos did not attend The Basic School. He completed it via a correspondence course, not in 1972, as stated on his resume, but in 1977, officials said.

Mr. Thweatt responded to Capt. Ulsh’s tweet with a general indictment of Marine public affairs: “low point was deceptions by HQMC PAO during Amos’ tenure. Lacked integrity & competence.”

He asserted that “Amos lied to Congress, NPR, Marine Corps Times …”

Capt. Ulsh replied, “when personal injury lawyer calls others deceptive the kettle is definitely calling the pot black.”

Mr. Thweatt then asked Capt. Ulsh to identify something he wrote in error.

“How’s business since you sensationalized your personal feelings for Amos?” Capt. Ulsh wrote. “Yet another low blow.”

In the infamous 2012 video of Marines urinating on Taliban corpses, the Corps punished eight Marines, including members of the offending scout sniper team.

During adjudication, testimony showed that Gen. Amos ordered the general overseeing the cases to “crush” the defendants and kick them out of the Corps. The general refused and was replaced.

The Marine Corps Times reported that public affairs misled when a reporter asked why the general was fired. The Corps withheld from defense counsel the true reason for his ouster.

Defense lawyers learned of the “crushed” remark only when they deposed the general. They argued that Gen. Amos’ intrusion amounted to “unlawful command influence,” as spelled out in the military’s criminal code.

Gen. Amos denied on NPR that he had used the word “crushed” in a one-on-one meeting with the general.

The Pentagon inspector general cleared Gen. Amos of wrongdoing. But his actions stirred hard feelings in the ranks, with several veterans saying he crossed the line.

Mr. Thweatt has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the inspector general report and witness testimony, but has not received the documents.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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