Oct 3
Robert Hogue, left, and Maj. James Weirick
An outspoken member of Congress wants the Pentagon’s investigative
body to address the Marine Corps’ decision to fire a whistle-blower for
sending a strongly worded email to one of the commandant’s former
advisers. Meanwhile, a civilian attorney with military ties has asked
the Navy Department to censure a senior Marine Corps official who
compared the whistle-blower’s email to last month’s mass shooting at the
Washington Navy Yard.

On Monday, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., sent a
letter to the head of the Defense Department Inspector General’s office
asking him to investigate “attempts to discredit” Maj. James Weirick.
Weirick, a Marine attorney, filed his own complaint with the IG in
March, alleging Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and members of his
legal staff interfered with military justice in order to ensure Marines
were punished for a 2011 war zone scandal.

Weirick was removed
from his post Sept. 23, issued a military restraining order, and asked
to submit to a mental-health evaluation and surrender his personal
firearms. The order cited an email Weirick sent to Peter Delorier, a
former legal adviser for Amos who is named in Weirick’s IG complaint. In
the email, Weirick begged Delorier to “come clean” about his role in
the alleged miscarriage of justice by Amos’s office, saying that when it
comes to professional consequences, no one can “protect you from
Weirick.”

“Each time I read [Weirick’s email] I see nothing that
constitutes a threat and I am truly amazed by the terrible overreaction
by the USMC,” Jones says in his letter to Defense Department Inspector
General Jon Rymer. “Apparently, there are very few who are willing to
tell the truth, and I refuse to let this man’s career and reputation be
ruined for simply doing what is right.”

Jones’ district in eastern
North Carolina includes Camp Lejeune, which is home to the scout sniper
unit at the center of this controversy. Last year, video surfaced
online showing four Marines with the unit urinating on the remains of
dead insurgents in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The congressman
previously petitioned the IG to investigate Weirick’s allegations that
Amos, Delorier and Delorier’s former supervisor, Robert Hogue, were
inappropriately involved in the urination cases.

A spokeswoman for the DoD IG, Bridget Serchak, has said the IG cannot comment on the matter.

Civilian
attorney L. Lee Thweatt, a former Marine and one-time colleague of
Weirick’s, also came to the whistle-blower’s defense. On Tuesday, he
wrote to Paul Oostburg Sanz, who heads the Navy Department’s office of
general counsel. In his letter, Thweatt objects to comments made by
Hogue, Amos’ senior legal adviser, referencing the Navy Yard massacre,
which left 13 dead, including the gunman.

Hogue’s written statement, published Tuesday by Marine Corps Times,
indicates Weirick’s email triggered warnings in light of the Navy Yard
shooting. “Against the backdrop of that tragedy,” he wrote, “I am very
concerned for the safety of my clients and staff given the bizarre
nature of the communications in this case.”

Thweatt’s letter to
Oostburg Sanz says Hogue deserves professional censure for making
remarks intended to tarnish the reputation of a “good and decent man.”
He called on Oostburg Sanz to “put a stop to these tactics immediately.”

“The
cannibalization of that terrible tragedy to serve the commandant’s
desires here is abhorrent and offensive, not just to Major Weirick and
his family, but to the victims of the family who mourn the Navy Yard
tragedy, and to every other decent and honorable person serving in the
Navy-Marine Corps team, both currently and in the past,” he wrote.

Thweatt
said he had not received a response from Oostburg Sanz’s office as of
Wednesday. Marine Corps Times contacted the Navy Department seeking
comment, but was directed to the Division of Public Affairs at Marine
Corps headquarters. A Marine spokesman there, Capt. Richard Ulsh, said
the Marine Corps was unaware of Thweatt’s correspondence to Oostburg
Sanz.

Through his attorney, Jane Siegel, Weirick has said he is
complying with all requests from his command and undergoing a voluntary
mental health exam this week. He also awaits the results of a force
preservation council review. The council was convened to assess whether
Weirick poses a risk to himself or other personnel, Siegel said.

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