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Marine Who Warned Of Insider Threat Should Remain In The Corps, Military Board Says

Jason Brezler, seated center, holds a meeting with local governors in Afghanistan in 2010. Brezler faced discharge after emailing classified documents over an insecure network. He challenged the Marine Corps' decision.
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Jason Brezler, seated center, holds a meeting with local governors in Afghanistan in 2010. Brezler faced discharge after emailing classified documents over an insecure network. He challenged the Marine Corps' decision.

Seven years ago, Maj. Jason Brezler sent an urgent message to a fellow Marine in Afghanistan, warning him about an insider threat. The warning wasn't heeded, and two weeks later, three U.S. troops were dead.

What did attract attention was that Brezler had sent classified information over an insecure network. The Marine Corps then embarked on what would be a multiyear effort to kick out Brezler — claiming it was for mishandling information. Brezler maintained it was retaliation for calling attention to deaths he thought might have been prevented.

The U.S. Navy Board of Inquiry decided to remove Brezler from service with an honorable discharge: Brezler wouldn't lose any benefits or rank; he just wouldn't be a Marine anymore.

"In light of my very strong desire to continue to serve and lead Marines, it didn't feel honorable," he told NPR in 2016.

So Brezler sued in federal court and won a new hearing. Earlier this month he sat before a board of inquiry again, and on Aug. 9, seven years after he sent the warning to Afghanistan, the panel of military officers ruled in his favor.

"The Board finds that none of the reasons listed above warrant Maj. Brezler's separation from the naval service and recommends closing the case," the decision read.

On Wednesday, Brezler told NPR: "I am grateful that I will again have the opportunity to serve and contribute as a leader of Marines."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Quil Lawrence is a New York-based correspondent for NPR News, covering veterans' issues nationwide. He won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his coverage of American veterans and a Gracie Award for coverage of female combat veterans. In 2019 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America honored Quil with its IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Journalism.