The Marine Corps has agreed to delay the discharge of a Reserve officer majoraccused of mishandling classified information after he sent a warning to troops in Afghanistan about a localn Afghan police commander days before an insider attack, Marine Corps Times has learned the Marine’s attorney said.
Now tThe Marine Corps has agreed not to discharge Maj. Jason Brezler for at least eight months while his lawsuit challenging the board of inquiry’s decision proceeds in federal court, said his attorney Michael Bowe. Both parties expect to submit a formal stipulation this week, he said.
In 2012, Maj. Jason Brezler sent an email from his personal account about Sarwar Jan, a police chief who had recently arrived at Forward Operating Base Delhi, whom he had kicked off another Marine installation two years prior for alleged unethical behavior.
Seventeen days after Brezler sent the email, a boy working as Sarwar's personal servant killed three Marines at FOB Delhi: Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, 29, Cpl. Richard Rivera, 20, and Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley, 21.
After being investigated for sending classified information from his personal email account, a board of inquiry recommended that Brezler be discharged. A Navy official upheld the board's decision in November.
Navy Department officials could not immediately be reached for comment about the decision to allow Brezler to remain in uniform for now.
Now the Marine Corps has agreed not to discharge Brezler for at least eight months while his lawsuit challenging the board of inquiry's decision proceeds in federal court, said his attorney Michael Bowe. Both parties expect to submit a formal stipulation this week, he said.
Bowe said he hopes a federal judge hears the case and makes a decision to reverse vacate the board of inquiry’s decision to discharge Brezler and restore Brezler to full status by the end of that time. Bowe also has the option of asking the judge to further delay Brezler’s separation discharge until the ruling is finalized.
To the best of Bowe’s knowledge, Sarwar remains a police official in Afghanistan. Brezler and then-Capt. Andrew Terrell expelled Sarwar from a Marine outpost in Now Zad in 2010. Sarwar had been accused of beating Afghans who did not pay him bribes, having ties to the Taliban and sexual molesting boys.
When Terrell sent Brezler an email in 2012 that Sarwar had gained access to FOB Delhi, Brezler sent a sent an email from his personal account with classified briefing document about Sarwar to the operations officer for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, which was responsible for FOB Delhi.
Sarwar was not charged in connection with the killings and a Marine Corps inquiry did not find any evidence linking him to sexually abusing boys. Although he was fired after the insider attack, Sarwar later became a police company commander in Lashkar Gah.
A spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry did not respond to several emails asking about Sarwar's current position. A Reuters news report in December identified Sarwar as a police battalion commander, whose unit had been involved in fighting in Marjah and Sangin.
In December On Dec. 3, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., wrote Defense Secretary Ashton Carter urging him to review Brezler’s case and recommend that the FBI launch its own investigation.
Hunter, a veteran former Marine officer, also asked Carter to release any Naval Criminal Investigative Service records on whether Sarwar used U.S. taxpayer money to solicit and abuse children and if anyone in the U.S. military was aware of Sarwar’s alleged sexual misconduct with children.
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work responded in a March 3 letter that it would be "improper at this point" for Carter to comment on the case because Brezler's and the Buckley family’s lawsuits is are still pending.
That answer falls far short of being satisfying, said Hunter's spokesman Joe Kasper.
"Evidently, the Defense Department is afraid of something; otherwise, in the interest in pursuing a fair and thorough investigation, they would most certainly refer this to the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Kasper told Marine Corps Times. "So, what are they afraid of?"
Jeff Schogol covers Marine Corps leadership, gender integration, aviation, and Pacific-based Marines for Marine Corps Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.