A U.S. Marine officer facing involuntary discharge for improperly handling classified information is hoping to receive the same lenient treatment the FBI recommended for former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Maj. Jason Brezler has been embroiled in a legal battle since December 2014. Brezler is facing an involuntary discharge from the service after he admitted sending classified information to an unclassified email address in 2012. He was trying to warn fellow Marines about a corrupt police chief in Afghanistan. Several weeks later, a deputy of that police chief killed three Marines in a rifle attack.
An internal review in 2013 recommended that Brezler be removed from the service for possessing classified material, a decision that remains under appeal. However, both the Marine Corps and the Navy Department have already upheld the initial recommendation.
Brezler’s attorney, Michael J. Bowe, has said he plans to cite the FBI’s treatment of Clinton “as one of the many, and most egregious examples” of how Brezler’s punishment was unduly harsh, especially given that Brezler’s situation involved “infinitely less sensitive and limited information.”
FBI director James Comey declined to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, despite his determination that her handling of classified information over an unauthorized private email server was “extremely careless.”
A federal judge is expected to rule on Brezler’s case in October.
Attorney’s for other individuals charges with mishandling classified information are also seizing on Clinton’s case in an effort to win more favorable treatment for their clients.
“By Comey’s wording [about Clinton], now we have a floor as to what constitutes intent that deserves prosecution,” Mark Zaid, a defense attorney for national security whistleblowers, told U.S. News & World Report.