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Marine Corps whistleblower relieved following allegations of email harassment

Sep. 26, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Maj. James Weirick's removal from his job as staff judge advocate on Sept. 26 centered on an email Weirick, left, sent to Peter Delorier, a former civilian legal adviser to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos.
Maj. James Weirick's removal from his job as staff judge advocate on Sept. 26 centered on an email Weirick, left, sent to Peter Delorier, a former civilian legal adviser to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos. ()
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The Marine Corps has removed from his job a staff judge advocate who publicly accused Commandant Gen. Jim Amos of unlawful command influence in the high-profile cases against eight Marines prosecuted in connection with a war-zone video of scout snipers urinating on enemy corpses.

Maj. James Weirick was also placed under a Marine Corps Protective Order and asked to turn in his personal weapons and submit to a voluntary psychiatric evaluation.

Reached via telephone Thursday afternoon, Weirick referred all comment to his lawyer.

Retired Marine Col. Jane Siegel, Weirick’s attorney, said he had been removed for cause from his post at Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., following allegations of harassment via email.

A spokesman for Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Col. Sean Gibson, confirmed that Weirick had been removed for cause and an MPO had been issued. Gibson said it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Siegel said the complaint centered on an email Weirick sent to Peter Delorier, one of Amos’ former civilian legal advisers. In the Sept. 21 email, reviewed by Marine Corps Times, Weirick pleads with Delorier, who now works at Camp Lejeune, N.C., to “come clean” about his role in the alleged manipulation of justice by the commandant’s office.

“You are being offered the opportunity to unburden yourself. Weirick sleeps well every night knowing that honesty allows such freedom. You too can know this freedom. Just be honest,” Weirick wrote.

In the email, Weirick repeatedly refers to himself in the third person.

“Come to the side of the honest and truthful. Delay, obfuscation, and intimidation are not working. Those tactics will never work against Weirick,” he writes at one point. “Do whatever you want. Hunker down with the dishonest and hope for the best. Best of luck. You will need it.”

In what may be the most aggressive portion of the email, Weirick implies that Delorier’s superiors caused him to be moved from his Senior Executive Service position at the Pentagon because of his role in the alleged unlawful command influence. He further alleged that Delorier’s former supervisor, Robert Hogue, Amos’s top civilian attorney, had sold him out after promising to protect him from professional repercussions related to the scandal if he “took the fall.”

“He can’t offer you protection from Weirick. That protection can’t be offered by anyone. Ever,” Weirick writes.

He concludes forcefully.

“Forward this email to anyone you want. Retain counsel and forward it to him or her. It matters not to Weirick. Everything in this email is true. But, you owe it to yourself and the Marines who have suffered because of these lies and (discovery) violations, to come forward and be honest about all that has happened,” he writes. “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Weirick first distanced himself from Amos and his advisers in March, when he sent a six-page complaint to the Pentagon Inspector General. The complaint alleged that Amos had worked to ensure harsh punishments for the Marine scout snipers with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Lejeune. They were accused of urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in July 2011, an incident that was documented in a video later posted to YouTube. Marine Corps Times published an Aug. 26 cover story profiling Weirick and his role uncovering the alleged malfeasance.

Following receipt of Weirick’s email, Delorier forwarded it on to Weirick’s superviser, Col. Donald Riley, Siegel said. Riley sent it on to Col. Robin Gallant, the new commander of Quantico’s Headquarters and Service Battalion, she said.

Gallant responded by issuing an MPO, similar to a civilian restraining order, requiring Weirick to refrain from communicating in any form with with Amos, Delorier or others named in his IG complaint, including Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary, the commandant’s staff judge advocate, Hogue and others. Weirick was also ordered not to get within 500 feet of these men, Siegel said.

On Monday, Riley ordered that Weirick be removed from his position, Siegel said. He then had Weirick escorted out of his office and ordered that his access card and the files on his computer be seized. Wekirick was assigned to a non-legal billet within H&S Battalion as an assistant training officer in the S3 section. He was also ordered to report to Naval Criminal Investigative Service for questioning, asked to voluntarily submit to a mental evaluation, and directed to turn in his personal firearms, kept at his home, to the battalion armory.

Finally, Siegel said, Weirick was advised that he would be reviewed at the battalion level by the Force Preservation Counsel, a risk assessment board that includes a battalion commander, sergeant major and unit representative, and which can include a chaplain, base social services representative, medical officer or other relevant support personnel. Siegel said the FPC may deliberate over Weirick’s case as early as Thursday, though it’s not clear when a risk assessment would be completed.

While Weirick has yet to surrender his firearms and is waiting to hear back from mental health to schedule an appointment, Siegel said, his plan is to comply with all orders and requests from his command.

Siegel said the timing of events makes Weirick’s sudden firing highly suspect. Capt. James Clement, the executive officer of the sniper unit at the heart of the urination scandal, is due to appear before a board of inquriy on Oct. 15 for his role in the urination scandal.

“I think this is a last-ditch effort by some very heavy hitters to completely undermine the credibility of Maj. Weirick,” Siegel said. “If they push this rock down the slippery slope, he’ll end up out of the Marine Corps.”

If the force protection board delivers an unfavorable risk assessment or he receives a problematic mental health screening, Siegel said, his command will seize their advantage.

“He will be unceremoniously marshaled out of the Marine Corps and somehow the information will get out that he’s a nutcase,” she said. “Do I think that’s a coincidence? Hell, no. This is one of the biggest embarrassments to the Marine Corps that in 40 years I have ever been made aware of.”

Siegel said Weirick’s immediate plan was to wait for the board’s decision and keep from falling afoul of the MPO’s resctrictions by avoiding communication with anyone connected to the legal aftermath of the urination scandal.

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