Pentagon Releases Details Of Investigation Into Former Marine Commandant

news
Gen. James F. Amos, 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks to approximately 2,000 Marines with 3rd Marine Regiment during a visit to Marine Corps Base Hawaii with Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, Feb. 10, 2011.
Photo via U.S. Marine Corps

A review of the Inspector General’s investigation into former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos provides new insight on the Marine leaders’ priorities following the 2011 Taliban urination scandal.


In a long-form report for Marine Corps Times, Andrew deGrandpre writes that the findings in the report may raise questions about the thoroughness of the inspector general investigation, and that “to Amos' harshest critics, the IG's findings are rife with shortcomings and oversights, at best a demonstration of incompetence and at worst a whitewash.”

The inspector general’s report was finalized in November 2013, but was only made public after a federal judge in Houston, Texas, ordered its release last month, the Marine Corps Times reports.

The report details the handling of James Brandon Conway’s promotion to lieutenant colonel, at a time when Amos barred Marines in Conway’s unit from similar career advancing moves, which led to allegations of favoritism, as Conway’s father was Amos’ predecessor as commandant, retired Gen. James Conway.

After the video surfaced showing Marine snipers urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, Amos placed a hold on all moves, including promotions, within 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, the snipers’ unit.

The inspector general’s investigation cleared Amos of wrongdoing, and found that his decision-making in Conway’s case was “reasonable” and not an example of favoritism. Following the urination scandal, Amos was also accused of pressuring top officers to pursue harsher charges against the snipers in the video. Another inspector general’s investigation cleared him of that, as well.

Cases involving individuals like Amos are referred to as ISOs, or investigations of senior officials and typically have two investigators, a lead and a back up, explained Marguerite Garrison to Marine Corps Times. Garrison is a retired Army colonel and oversaw the inspector general's investigation on Amos.

"It's so easy to be a Monday morning quarterback and second guess 'well, why didn't you go down this line?' But that's why we have to do re-interviews of folks," Garrison told the Marine Corps Times. "As a rule," she added, "I believe that our investigations are thorough."

However, not everyone is satisfied with the reports’ finding.

“Amos' [unlawful command influence] was judicially admitted to a military judge in writing by Marine Corps prosecutors assigned with the unenviable task of explaining and minimizing Amos’ misconduct,” said Lee Thweatt, a former Marine judge advocate who provided the inspector general’s report to the Marine Corps Times. “Yet the IG didn't even discuss that striking judicial admission in its report. The IG ended up becoming part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Worse, they fought for over a year in federal court to prevent the Freedom of Information Act from shedding light on their reports.”

It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.

But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.

Read More Show Less

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.

A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.

Read More Show Less

There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.

To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.

Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.

On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.

It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."

Read More Show Less

It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.

It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.

"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.

Read More Show Less

An Air Force Special Tactics combat controller that "delivered thousands of pounds of munition" during a close-range 2007 firefight in Afghanistan was awarded the Silver Star on Friday.

Read More Show Less