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Marine Commandant Gen. Neller reportedly 'allowed' leak of sensitive memos criticizing Trump's border plan
Marine Corps commandant Robert Neller allowed the leak to the Los Angeles Times and NBC News, according to two Defense Department officials cited in the report. The memos were signed by Neller and addressed to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
Neller, a four-star general and a 44-year Marine Corps veteran, is said to have leaked the memos in an effort to warn the public of the negative impact of President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration.
Trump used his authority to declare a national emergency in February, bypassing Congress to obtain funding for his proposed barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border. House Democrats put forth a resolution to try to block Trump's national-emergency declaration, and a bipartisan group of House lawmakers mounted a last-ditch effort to override a presidential veto of that resolution. That effort failed.
The funds to pay for the barrier would be siphoned from military training operations and projects that have yet to be paid for, including ones from bases that are still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
In the memos, Neller explained that Trump's plan would be an "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency," and that the readiness of Marines, "will continue to degrade given current conditions."
"He didn't want the Marines and families at Camp Lejeune ... to get f---ed," one official reportedly said to Newsweek.
Camp Lejeune, one of the major training grounds for the Marine Corps, sustained around $3.6 billion worth of damage after Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina last year. Around 70% of the homes on the base were damaged in the aftermath and 84,000 gallons of sewage spilled onto the base.
One of Camp Lejeune's projects that could be on the chopping block is a $65 million water-treatment plant. Camp Lejeune was embroiled in controversy after hundreds of thousands of troops and family members stationed at the base were exposed to contaminated water between 1953 and 1987.
"The optics of deferring this project could likely be a public relations disaster not just for the Marine Corps, but the Defense Department in general because of the past history at Camp Lejeune and water contamination," Dan Grazier, a military fellow at Project on Government Oversight, previously told Business Insider.
In a statement to Newsweek, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Neller insisted he was not responsible for leaking the memo.
"I have personal assurances from the Commandant that he did not leak the memo himself, or direct or otherwise encourage any member of the Marine Corps or his staff to do so," Spencer reportedly said.
Read more from Business Insider:
- Trump's border wall may strip money from a $65 million water treatment plant at a Marine Corps base with a history of contaminated water
- How the Marine Corps borrowed a helicopter from the presidential fleet to specially deliver a liver transplant
- I spent a day with the US Coast Guard in the Port of Miami, where units search for drug smugglers and unauthorized migrants
- Sailors in 'Iron Man' suits attacking enemy ships? The British defense chief likes the idea
- Watch a Navy SEAL vet train Keanu Reeves for 'John Wick 3'
SEE ALSO: Marine Commandant: Deploying Troops To US-Mexico Border Poses 'Unacceptable Risk' To Corps
WATCH NEXT: Border Deployments In A Nutshell
A group of vets are raising money to pay for a medal the Iraqi government awarded them, but never delivered
In June 2011 Iraq's defense minister announced that U.S. troops who had deployed to the country would receive the Iraq Commitment Medal in recognition of their service. Eight years later, millions of qualified veterans have yet to receive it.
The reason: The Iraqi government has so far failed to provide the medals to the Department of Defense for approval and distribution.
A small group of veterans hopes to change that.
For a cool $8.5 million, you could be the proud owner of a "fully functioning" F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon fighter jet that a South Florida company acquired from Jordan.
The combat aircraft, which can hit a top speed of 1,357 mph at 40,000 feet, isn't showroom new — it was built in 1980. But it still has a max range of 2,400 miles and an initial climb rate of 62,000 feet per minute and remains militarized, according to The Drive, an automotive website that also covers defense topics, WBDO News 96.5 reported Wednesday.
A doctor who treated accident victims has a radioactive isotope in his body. Russia says it came from his diet
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian authorities said on Friday that a doctor who treated those injured in a mysterious accident this month had the radioactive isotope Caesium-137 in his body, but said it was probably put there by his diet.
The deadly accident at a military site in northern Russia took place on Aug. 8 and caused a brief spurt of radiation. Russian President Vladimir Putin later said it occurred during testing of what he called promising new weapons systems.
Groundwater at the Air Force Academy is contaminated with the same toxic chemicals polluting a southern El Paso County aquifer, expanding a problem that has cost tens of millions of dollars to address in the Pikes Peak region.
Plans are underway to begin testing drinking water wells south of the academy in the Woodmen Valley area after unsafe levels of the chemicals were found at four locations on base, the academy said Thursday.