A Marine officer fighting dismissal for mishandling classified material on his computer has filed a complaint in federal court. He charges that Marine generals unfairly singled him out, citing statistics that show Marines often wrongly stored classified information and went unpunished.
Marine Reserve Maj. Jason Brezler’s lawsuit does not mention Mrs. Clinton, whose handling of secrets on her private server as secretary of state is under FBI investigation.
But legal observers say that if the military can impose harsh punishment on a war veteran for keeping secrets in the wrong computer, then the FBI, in fairness, should cast a critical eye on Mrs. Clinton and her stash of information that the intelligence community says contained top-secret data.
“Brezler was treated in an entirely disproportionate way,” his Manhattan attorney, Michael J. Bowe, says in an April 25 complaint that aims to persuade a judge to overturn a Marine Corps decision to oust him.
Charles Gittins, a former Marine and criminal defense attorney, said Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling “was a far more egregious violation of law.”
“Maj. Brezler violated regulations by maintaining classified information on a personal laptop computer,” said Mr. Gittins, who is not involved in the case. “My personal opinion is that his was a minor infraction that resulted from combat conditions that didn’t allow access to classified systems.
“Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, as secretary of state, had access to all of the systems meant to protect classified information, and she and her staff knowingly stored secret and top-secret information on an unsecured server.”
Maj. Brezler is the officer who, while a graduate student in Oklahoma, sent a warning email via his laptop to intelligence officers in Afghanistan in 2012. He messaged that Sarwar Jan, a corrupt Afghan police chief, should not be allowed to stay on Forward Operating Base Delhi. Jan smuggled arms to the Taliban and sexually abused boys, Maj. Brezler’s dispatched dossier said.
Maj. Brezler had played a role in kicking Jan off another U.S. base while deployed in-country.
His warning went unheeded. Two weeks later, one of Jan’s “tea boys” walked into the base gym and fatally shot three Marines in cold blood. The killer proclaimed he was carrying out jihad.
For Maj. Brezler, that email may prove his downfall. An intelligence officer in Afghanistan reported him to higher-ups for sending classified information over his personal laptop. A Navy criminal investigation found he had other classified documents stored there.
Commanders at his reserve unit in Brooklyn, New York, where he is a firefighter, punished him administratively. Seemingly, the case was closed.