A federal judge has determined that the Department of the Navy erred when it honorably discharged Major Jason Brezler in a controversial case of mishandling classified information. U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bianco determined this week that while Brezler broke security protocol when he emailed colleagues in Afghanistan to warn them of an attack, the Navy failed to treat Brezler fairly during the discovery phase of the inquiry against him.

As the Washington Post reports, Brezler emailed colleagues in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2012 to warn them of Sarwar Jan—a corrupt police chief that Brezler had encountered during his time in Afghanistan years earlier. Jan was removed from his post for a period when it was believed by Brezler's unit that he was not only abusing young boys but also had ties to the Taliban. When Brezler learned Jan had resurfaced, he emailed colleagues to warn them of a possible attack. Days later, one of Jan's teenage servants fired on the Marines stationed in the Helmand province, killing three and wounding others.

The issue is that Brezler's email to colleagues contained classified information and it was sent over a private server. When a 2013 Marine Corps Times report covered Brezler's story, the Department of the Navy quickly formed a board of inquiry to look into the matter which resulted in Brezler's discharge.


Brezler appealed the administrative decision against him, citing retaliation. In his written judgment, Judge Bianco doesn't confirm or deny an occurrence of retaliation, but did determine that Department of the Navy failed to provide Brezler with documents during the inquiry discovery process. Without that documentation, Biacno found, Brezler was not given the opportunity to properly defend himself.

Attorney Michael J. Bowe, who represented Brezler, called the decision a "stunning rebuke of the fundamentally unjust proceedings to which this decorated Marine was subjected for over three years." Brezler's case has remained somewhat controversial among military, congressional, and public circles due both to the heroic quality of his actions and his case's similarity to former Secretary of State Hillary's Clinton's own email scandal.

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