Panel rules in favor of a Marine who broke the rules to send a warning before a deadly insider attack

SIGAR Chief John Sopko on the 1st SFAB's Weaknesses in Afghanistan

After years of trying to get rid of him, the Marine Corps may have to keep Maj. Jason Brezler, who warned Marines in Afghanistan about a corrupt police chief, whose boy servant subsequently killed three Marines in a 2012 insider attack.

A board of inquiry recently decided to retain Brezler, his civilian attorney Michael Bowe told Task & Purpose on Tuesday. Brezler is currently in the Inactive Ready Reserve, but he is trying to join a Select Reserve unit.

Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, former White House chief of staff, and retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, whom Brezler served under in Afghanistan, both testified on Brezler's behalf at the panel, which made its decision on Aug. 9, Bowe said.

"For seven years, Jason has fought for one reason: He loves the Marine Corps and wants to continue to contribute," Bowe said. "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."

However, the panel faulted Brezler for failing to properly discharge the duties expected of an officer of his grade and experience" for mishandling classified information in Afghanistan and the United States, according to the board of inquiry's findings and recommendations worksheet.

On July 24, 2012, Brezler used his personal email account to send classified information as part of his warning about the Afghan police chief, Sarwar Jan, who had recently arrived at Forward Operating Base Delhi, Afghanistan. On Aug. 10, 2012, one of Sarwar's servants, whom a federal judge would later describe as a "sex slave," killed three Marines on the base.

Brezler was subsequently relieved of command for improperly sending the classified information; he received an unfavorable fitness report; and he was referred to a board of inquiry in December 2013, which recommended he be discharged.

Three years later, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco in New York reversed that panel's decision, ruling the Marine Corps had not provided Brezler's defense any evidence that Corps officials planned to refer Brezler to a board of inquiry prior to an August 2013 Marine Corps Times story about Brezler seeking help from Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), which raised the ire of then-Commandant Marine Gen. James Amos.

The most recent panel's Aug. 9 decision was first brought to light by Washington Post reporter Dan Lamothe. The board's recommendation has been forwarded to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer's office for consideration, said Maj. Roger Hollenbeck, a spokesman for Marine Forces Reserve.

Currently, Brezler is nearing the end of the maximum time he can remain in the Marine Corps at his current rank, said Bowe, who added he would pursue "administrative remedies" to allow his client to continue serving.

Jason Venne (Hampden Superior Court)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A woman has filed a civil suit against a former member of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, saying she has suffered emotional distress and "a diminished capacity to enjoy life" in the years since he used a hidden camera at Barnes Air National Guard Base to record explicit images of her.

Former Tech Sgt. Jason Venne, 37, pleaded guilty in February to six counts of photographing an unsuspecting person in the nude and seven counts of unlawful wiretap. He admitted putting a camera in the women's locker room at the Westfield base, recording images and video between 2011 and 2013 when he worked there as a mechanic.

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(DoD photo)

Five people have been indicted in federal court in the Western District of Texas on charges of participating in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from benefits reserved for military members, U.S. Department of Justice officials said Wednesday.

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In this March 24, 2017, photo, bottles of hemp oil, or CBD, are for sale at the store Into The Mystic in Mission, Kansas. (Associated Press/The Kansas City Star/Allison Long)

Editor's Note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

As the military services each roll out new policies regarding hemp-derived products like cannabidiol, or CBD, the Defense Department is not mincing words.

"It's completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time," said Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

The warning, along with the policies issued recently by the Air Force, Coast Guard and Department of the Navy, comes as CBD is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the country in many forms, from coffee additives and vaping liquids to tinctures, candies and other foods, carrying promises of health benefits ranging from pain and anxiety relief to sleeping aids and inflammation reduction.

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The Navy has fired five senior leaders so far in August – and the month isn't even over.

While the sea service is famous for instilling in officers that they are responsible for any wrongdoing by their sailors – whether they are aware of the infractions or not – the recent rash of firings is a lot, even for the Navy.

A Navy spokesman said there is no connection between any of the five officers relieved of command, adding that each relief is looked at separately.

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Then-Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. (U.S. Army/Spc. Matthew J. Marcellus)

After months of focusing on modernization priorities, Army leadership plans to tackle persisting personnel issues in the coming years.

Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday at an event with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that what people can to hear service leadership "talk a lot about ... our people. Investing in our people, so that they can reach their potential. ... We are a people organization."

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