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Marine who warned of insider attack in Afghanistan should be retained, panel finds

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jason C. Brezler, with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, meets with Afghan leaders in Now Zad, Afghanistan, on Dec. 15, 2009. Marines meet with town elders to discuss the reconstruction process. (U.S. Marine Corps/Released)
August 17, 2019

A panel of three Marine colonels has decided that a Marine reserve major who emailed classified information about an attack in Afghanistan using his personal email should be retained.

The decision on Maj. Jason Brezler’s fate comes from the second board of inquiry, which decided, “The Board finds that none of the reasons listed above warrant Major Brezler’s separation from the naval service and recommends closing the case,” the Marine Corps Times reported Tuesday.

In 2012, Brezler used his personal email to warn his fellow Marines in Afghanistan about a corrupt chief of police. His warning came two weeks before an Aug. 10, 2012 attack that killed three Marines: Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, Cpl. Richard Rivera and Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley.

Brezler removed Sarwar Jan — the chief of police Brezler warned about — out of a U.S. military base for his ties to the Taliban two years prior the email warning that almost got him discharged from the Marines.

Notably, Sarwar was also reportedly trafficking young boys in a sex-slave ring. A young boy carried out the attack that killed the three Marines on Aug. 10, 2012.

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Brezler notified his command in 2012 that he sent the email, which he sent from an unclassified Yahoo email account. After, he was relieved of his command. Then he received an adverse fitness report and was recommended for discharge form a board of inquiry in December 2013.

In response, Brezler sued the Marines, alleging the discharge was a retaliatory action.

In Brezler’s defense, his lawyer alluded to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s controversial use of a private email to send classified information, for which she was not punished.

Michael Bowe, Brezler’s lawyer, planned to use Hillary Clinton’s “extremely careless” use of an unclassified email server to send classified information as “as one of the many, and most egregious examples” of how Brezler was too harshly punished after honorably serving 13 years in the Marines.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco in New York, overturned the Corps’ decision to discharge Brezler in December 2016, ruling that the Marine Corps did not provide Brezler full access to records related to his claim that the decision was in retaliation.

The federal judge then ordered the Navy, which oversees the Marines, to hold a new board of inquiry.

Now, the most recent board is recommending Brezler be retained.

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“For seven years, Jason has fought for one reason: He loves the Marine Corps and wants to continue to contribute,” Michael Bowe, Brezler’s lawyer, told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.

“This was the right result from a panel of senior Marines Corps officers, all of whom came up to him after and expressed their support,” Bowe said.