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Judge Sides with Marine in Information-Mishandling Case

Major Jason Brezler received a new opportunity to support his claims of retaliation by the Marines Corps. He had been discharged when a 2013 board of inquiry determined he had mishandled classified information.

Major Brezler had filed a lawsuit claiming he faced wrongful retaliation from the Corps “for contacting Capitol Hill about his concerns,” according to the Marine Corps Times. At the recommendation of a board of inquiry, Brezler had been discharged for using his personal email to send confidential documents that warned fellow Marines about a credible threat in Afghanistan.

Major Brezler fought a three-year battle to get his case heard in court, and last week a federal judge’s ruling overturned the Corps’ decision, concluding that “Major Brezler lacked the relevant documents necessary to fully and fairly litigate his retaliation claims” before the board of inquiry in 2013.

Because of this, Major Brezler will remain with the Corps and have the opportunity to support his claims of retaliation at a new board of inquiry hearing by the Navy.

As the Project On Government Oversight pointed out last year, Brezler’s punishment contrasts greatly with the treatment of elite officials accused of mishandling classified information. For example, while high-level officials only receive light taps on the wrist—as in the case of General David Petraeus who shared classified information with his biographer and mistress yet was only sentenced to two years’ probation and charged a fine he could easily afford to pay—a lower-ranked service member like Major Brezler was discharged for his effort to identify an eminent threat to his fellow Marines.