National Security

Shutdown’s looming question: will the military get paid?; In South Korea, katchi kapshida; Why you shouldn’t joke about axe murderers at the DMZ; ICYMI: O’Bagy joins McCain; Forbes: members ignorant of defense issues; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

Much remains unclear about shutdown, but whether or not the military gets paid is a primary question.  A senior defense official tells Situation Report that if the government shuts down past Oct. 7, the Pentagon could have trouble getting checks to the troops on time. Congress, on the other hand, would get paid no matter what.

Chuck Hagel, speaking to reporters on the Doomsday plane on its way to Asia Sunday, on a possible government shutdown: "This is an astoundingly irresponsible way to govern. And when you look at the greatest democracy in the world, the largest economy in the world and we're putting our people through this, that's not leadership, that's -- that's abdication of responsibilities."

Time's guide to explaining a shutdown to your kids (or yourself) here.

Prospects for a deal are not looking good. The NYT: ‘The Senate is expected to reject decisively a House bill that would delay the full effect of President Obama's health care law as a condition for keeping the government running past Monday, as Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, expressed confidence that he had public opinion on his side. Angering Republicans who lead the House, Mr. Reid kept the Senate shuttered on Sunday, in a calculated move to stall action on the House measure until Monday afternoon, just hours before the government's spending authority runs out at midnight." More here.

Welcome to Monday's far-flung edition of Situation Report, where we're coming at you from inside the bubble that is Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's trip to Korea and Japan. Sign up for Situation Report here or just e-mail us at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll stick you on. And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease. And remember, if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report. That and please follow us @glubold.

Hagel is in Seoul for the next couple days. After a 16-hour flight on the E-4B Advanced Airborne Command Post -- otherwise known as the "Doomsday plane" for its amazing yet dated Cold War capabilities -- Hagel landed in Seoul Sunday for meetings with senior South Korean defense and American military officials. On Monday, he watched a "live fire" exercise near the demilitarized zone between the North and the South, then visited two spots along the DMZ itself, including Panmunjom. Communication with the North Koreans has never been great, of course, but there is a special phone on the DMZ to be used to discuss matters of mutual interest. But when American officials use it to call the North Koreans, no one picks up. "They haven't answered the phone since March," one official told Situation Report Monday, referring to the height of the most recent tensions. Instead, officials use a bullhorn to tell the North whatever it is they need to know. The bullhorn is lifted, the message blasted across the border - 15 feet away across a little cement bulkhead - and the message, we're told, is received. Hagel stepped inside North Korea, albeit briefly, when he toured a small conference building used by the two countries that straddles the border.

There's a Potemkin Village just across the border near one of the other checkpoints. Hagel and company visited another checkpoint where you could see that the North maintains a small "fake village," Ki Jung dong, with big buildings that are lit up at night. But intelligence, an official told reporters, indicates that no one lives in any of the buildings - the bright lights are at the top of the buildings and the lower ones are much dimmer, indicating that there aren't actually any lower floors in the building - only single light bulbs.

You can't really joke about axe murderers here because one kinda happened. This is what you learn when you come to the DMZ: Camp Bonifas, the installation near the DMZ is named after Capt. Arthur Bonifas, who was killed along with another officer in 1976 after a team went to trim a tree along the border between the north and the south. Members of the North Korean military demanded he stop; when he refused, they attacked, ultimately killing him and the other man with the handles of the axes used to trim the tree. The incident led to Operation Paul Bunyan in which the U.S. and other forces trimmed a number of trees along the border in a show of force to the North after the incident.

Hagel's trip continues in Korea until Wednesday before he heads to Japan. Staffers on a plane - Chief of Staff Mark Lippert, Military Assistant Lt. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense David Helvey, Chief speechwriter Jacob Freedman, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little and deputy Carl Woog.

Reporters on a plane - AFP's Mathieu Rabechault, Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio, AP's Lita Baldor and Jacquiline Martin, Reuters' David Alexander, WaPo's Craig Whitlock, NYT's Jennifer Steinhauer, the Pentagon's Karen Parrish, CBS' Cami McCormick, JiJi Press' Kuniaki Kitai and Situation Report.

Which reporter is two-timing? The Boston Globe's Bryan Bender, who flew to Asia with Dempsey but will be returning home with Hagel.

Dempsey is also in Korea. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey attended the Military Committee Meeting in Seoul Monday and will later in the week attend the change of command ceremony here for U.S. Forces Korea. At the MCC today, the militaries of the two countries "recognized the need to reinforce the capabilities of the ROK-US alliance and commitment toward defense of the Korean Peninsula in order to effectively respond to the challenges facing the Korean Peninsula and the region," a spokesman for Dempsey told Situation Report. The two chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "agreed to strengthen the capabilities of joint actions in the event of possible security threat to the Korean Peninsula and the region." The meetings were a "genuine exchange," and included discussions of the threat from North Korea, trends, capabilities, command-and-control, intelligence-sharing and integrated air defenses, we were told, and "interoperability" was a dominant theme. Dempsey: "The better we can operate together, the better deterrent we have North Korean miscalculation," he said. Budget concerns will not prevent the U.S. military from doing its job, Dempsey told reporters later.

Staffers on a plane - Director of Strategic Plans and Policy Lt. Gen. Terry Wolff, Political-military adviser Joe Donovan, Brig. Gen. David Stilwell, Col. Ed Thomas, public affairs.

Reporters on a plane - BBC's Joan Soley, Washington Times' Kristina Wong, the Pentagon's Jim Garamone and the Globe's Bender.

Gentle nudging from Hagel. The U.S is looking for the South Koreans to assume operational control of forces on the peninsula by next year. Not everyone in Seoul thinks they're ready. Hagel, at a big dinner at the Grand Hyatt attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye and other officials Monday night: "...Even though our alliance has never been stronger than it is today, that does not mean we cannot grow and mature.  While the root of our alliance will always be the defense of territory, building on that foundation will let us go together into the future as active strategic partners - both here on the Korean Peninsula, and around the world.  As two prosperous nations, and highly capable militaries, there is much we can contribute to the security of this region, and the world, if we continue to go together." Hagel's mantra when it comes to the U.S.-Korea partnership, celebrating 60 years: katchi kapshida - "we go together." A reminder of how the two countries will continue to work together since the Korean War - the so-called Forgotten War.

FWIW: Alcohol in a country that we're told loves it didn't exactly flow at the big dinner. Exotic looking Korean cocktails of blue and red (colors of the flag!) with little flowers in them were actually glasses filled with what is now trendy in South Korea: vitamin water; and big wine glasses on the dinner table contained grape juice. But each charger plate before dinner had little chocolate chip cookies on it, so there was that. At the end of scripted remarks by the South Korean President, defense minister, Hagel and a few others, the announcer smiled: "Ladies and gentlemen, let us now pause for some casual conversations." But as that ensued, South Korean security guards reminded guests who'd stood up to stretch and chat with people at other tables to have those casual conversations in their seats.

When it comes to military readiness, a lot of members on the Hill are in the dark. So Rep. Randy Forbes, the Republican from Virginia, wants the House Leadership to hold a joint classified briefing with Dempsey, members of the Joint Chiefs and others so that every House member, not just those on the House Armed Services Committee, can be "afforded the opportunity to hear first-hand the grave danger to the national security of the U.S. that is being caused by absent defense funding," Forbes wrote a letter for which he is today attempting to get more co-signers. He has more than 10 signers now. Forbes, in the letter: "When asked whether their service can meet the requirements necessary if we continue sequestration the way it is currently moving forward, all four service chiefs - General Odierno, Admiral Greenert, General Welsh, and General Amos - said ‘no.'"

Speaking of forgotten wars, from our favorite town, Toyota Town (Kabul) someone posted this on Twitter, a sign on the back of a Toyota Corolla that reads, plainly "Don't forget about Afghanistan again." Click here.

ICYMI: Elizabeth O'Bagy begins this morning at McCain's office.  Situation Report on Friday afternoon was the first to report that Sen. John McCain had hired Elizabeth O'Bagy, the Syria analyst in Washington who was fired for padding her credentials. She begins work today as a legislative assistant in McCain's office. O'Bagy was a young but well-respected advisor at the Institute for the Study of War and had emerged quickly as an important voice among those arguing in favor of intervention in Syria. McCain and others had cited her work publicly before her nascent reputation collapsed when it was discovered that her claims to having a combined master's/Ph.D. were false and that in fact she had not yet defended her thesis. O'Bagy quickly emerged as a lead analyst on Syria after McCain praised an op-ed she had written in the Wall Street Journal, which argued that moderate rebels were able to keep U.S.-supplied weapons from falling into the hands of extremist groups. McCain, who has been the leading voice in Congress for arming moderate rebels, called O'Bagy's analysis "important" during a hearing in September about possible U.S. military intervention in Syria.

McCain, in a statement to Situation Report: "Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year. I look forward to her joining my office." McCain's office said there would be no further comment on the matter."

From a Republican Congressional staffer, to Situation Report: "The only thing more unbelievable than a person going from intern to praised Syria expert to disgraced liar in just two years is that the McCain office would decide it is a good idea to reward her with a job. But as grotesque as this is, maybe there is a bigger issue here. Maybe what we should really be talking about is the difference between think tanks that do advocacy and think tanks that do policy in this town. Where have all the ideas think tanks gone? Something has really broken down when a 26 year old with relatively zero experience becomes the most distinguished voice in this town on the politics of peace and war." Our story, here.

Does the U.S. need a Cyber Force? Jim Stavridis says the answer is "yes." Stavridis, writing in the Boston Globe: "If we think of cyber as we did of aviation a little more than 100 years ago, we are just now on the beach at Kitty Hawk. In the cyber world, we have much yet to finalize. While some nascent structures and norms exists, we do not have functional equivalents for: precisely developed and institutionalized norms for air traffic control; airports operating under national and international regulation; well-defined international civil aviation routes; methods and means for military uses of air power; a civilian Federal Aviation Authority with broad jurisdiction and powers; or a Transportation Security Administration." Stavridis lists four reasons why to create a U.S. Cyber Force: One, "it would immediately improve command and control in the cyber sphere;" two, "the [current] personnel systems that are used by the services are a poor match for recruiting those most likely to have the skills and experience in the cyber world;" three "a focused and dedicated service, reporting to civilian leadership, would create true singularity of strategic purpose in respect to military operations;" and fourth, "a U.S. Cyber Service would be a single point of contact for the many and varied interagency and private-sector entities involved in the cyber world." More here.

FP's Shane Harris took a $12,000 booze-soaked trip to nowhere - and lived to write about it. "Judging by Washington's staid social standards -- or really, any standard -- the party sounded utterly bizarre. Qatar Airways, the state-owned carrier of the Persian Gulf petro-garchy, had invited a small number of guests to a four-course meal -- designed by celebrity chefs and accompanied by premium wines -- all served in the business-class cabin of a Boeing 777 parked on the tarmac at Dulles International Airport. The plane wasn't leaving Northern Virginia. But we would be treated to the same luxury service that, at current rates, would set you back $11,721 for a round-trip flight from D.C. to Doha. Perhaps because of where I work, or the elegantly written invitation, I had imagined that this event was to 'celebrate' Qatar and promote its tourism industry, and that it would be attended mostly by government officials and business executives. You will appreciate my profound disappointment, followed by the dawning suspicion that I had either been tricked or not read the fine print, when I looked around the dimly lit cool blue cabin and saw ... a bunch of journalists." More here.

We swear we're not trying to promote Qatar Airways. But working in our hotel room in Seoul with the TV on affords us a look at ads we wouldn't normally see. This one is a feel good, mixing some of our favorite things: Barcelona, soccer, an appealing flight attendant and a great old Jackie Wilson tune, repurposed. One commenter called it "inspiring." Hashtag adsarebetteroverseas. Watch it here.

A former intel officer and alleged scumbag faces the music. A one-time fugitive is going to trial on charges that he masterminded a $100 million "multi-state fraud" in which he claimed he was helping Navy veterans. Stripes: "The defendant headed to trial Monday calls himself Bobby Thompson, but authorities identified him as Harvard-trained lawyer and former military intelligence officer John Donald Cody, 67. He was arrested last year in Portland, Ore., after two years on the run. He's charged with defrauding people who donated to a reputed charity for Navy veterans, the United States Navy Veterans Association based in Tampa, Fla. The alleged fraud spanned 41 states, including up to $2 million in Ohio. Authorities said little, if any, of the money collected by the charity was used to benefit veterans." More here.

Re-evaluating the All Volunteer Force and putting "Skin in the Game." In his new book, Skin in the Game: Poor Kids and Patriots, Dennis Laich, the retired two-star, looks at the history of the AVP, "identifying its flaws and arguing that it's time for significant change." More here.

 

National Security

E-mails by Pentagon contractor show 2012 exchanges about Iran shipments; Hagel is wheels up for Asia; Don’t criticize the troops, you could lose your job; Marine whistleblower, so relieved; The fallacy of the “sex jihad;” and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

An agreement on Syria. The NYT this morning: "The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have agreed on a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons, but there will be no automatic penalties if the Syrians fail to comply, officials said Thursday. The agreement, hammered out after days of back-room negotiations, is a compromise among the United States, its allies and Russia about how to enforce the resolution, which would eliminate Syria's chemical arms program. But the deal, when approved by the 15 members of the Security Council, would amount to the most significant international diplomatic initiative of the Syrian civil war. It would also be a remarkable turn for President Obama, who had been pushing for a military strike on Syria just a few weeks ago before accepting a Russian proposal to have Syria give up its chemical arsenal." More here.

Russia just outfoxed America at the U.N. Again. FP's Colum Lynch: "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met under the steely gaze of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whose portrait hung over their negotiating table at U.N. headquarters, and hammered out their latest agreement Thursday on a U.N. Security Council resolution to scrap Syria's chemical weapons. The presidential portrait was a subtle reminder that Putin's top diplomats hold the home court advantage at the United Nations. For most of the past two years, Lavrov and U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin have largely defined the rules of the game in the U.N. Security Council, effectively constraining American and European attempts to use the U.N. Security Council to apply economic or political pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The relatively toothless deal struck Thursday is just the latest example." Read the rest here.

Chuck Hagel is wheels up tomorrow. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is headed to Asia tomorrow, including stops in Korea and Japan. He'll head to Korea for the 60th Anniversary of the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance and participate in the 45th Security Consultative Meeting. While there, he'll also "preside over" the Korea change of command ceremony in which Lt. Gen. Curt "Scap" Scaparrotti will relieve the retiring Gen. J.D. Thurman. On Wednesday, Hagel will leave for Tokyo, where he will join Secretary of State John Kerry for the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, returning to Washington Oct. 4.

Situation Report on the road. We'll be accompanying Hagel to Asia, so look here for updates as well as @glubold. Inbox arrival times for Situation Report next week may vary so "check local listings," as they say. We kid. But forgive us in advance if we're early or late next week.

Welcome to Friday's edition of Situation Report. Sign up for Situation Report here or just e-mail us at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll stick you on. And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease. And remember, if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report. That and please follow us @glubold.

Scoop: The Pentagon contractor shipping goods through Iran may have known about the illegal activity as early as 2012. Anham, the firm with a fat Pentagon contract to provide food service and water to American forces in Afghanistan, may have known about its potentially illegal shipments through Iran as early as 2012, Situation Report has learned. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that Anham FZCO, which is contracted with the Pentagon to support troops in Afghanistan, had shipped some materials through a third party for a warehouse it built at Bagram Air Base there. Those shipments last year came by using Iran's Bandar Abbas seaport before being transported across Iran, the paper's Jay Solomon and Nathan Hodge reported. That allowed Anham to snag a Pentagon contract estimated at $8.1 billion, according to the paper. But shipping goods across Iran could be in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, and now an investigation is underway. Anham told The Journal that it only became aware of the shipping issue within the last week. Yesterday's WSJ story here.

But e-mails provided to Situation Report seem to indicate clearly that company officials were aware of the shipments through Iran as early as February of last year. In a note from a subcontractor, "Dana Tracks LLC" to corporate officials on Feb. 16, an e-mail describes the status of eight shipping containers leaving Bandar Abbas. "So far, his team in Iran hasn't got back to him on this as they are busy getting done with the procedures at the customs there," the e-mail says. "According to him, moving the containers through the new route requires lots of procedures with the shipping lines and customs."

Anham would not address specifically the apparent discrepancy between what it said to the WSJ and what the e-mail traffic among company officials seems to indicate about the timing of their awareness of the shipments through Iran. Anham's Sam Fabens, to Situation Report: "Anham has made a voluntary disclosure to the Treasury and Commerce Departments that some items were transhipped through Iran and we are currently conducting a full investigation.   Based on the current state of the investigation, Anham believes that only a handful of foreign-origin items for use in Afghanistan were involved out of our thousands of shipments to Afghanistan, all or some of which we believe may have been eligible for such transshipment under legal exceptions and other provisions of law in place at the time.  We will not comment on any specific charges or allegations until that investigation is complete nor will we be responding to rumors and innuendo.  Anham remains committed to providing the best service in a remarkably hostile environment."

The Defense Logistics Agency's Michelle McCaskill's statement to Situation Report this morning: "Anham leadership notified DLA leadership Sept. 23 that it made a disclosure to the U.S. Treasury and the Commerce departments, stating that certain items may have been transshipped through Iran by a subcontractor.  We have requested additional information from Anham, as well as appropriate government agencies, to confirm that Anham's actions, including its performance under its contract with DLA, remain in accordance with applicable law and regulations."

Joe Dunford is issuing his assessment of war operations in Afghanistan today and Situation Report got a sneak preview. ISAF Commanding Gen. Joe Dunford's BLUF: "As the ANSF have assumed the lead in their first fighting season, they have proven capable of effectively securing the Afghan people. The vast majority of the violence takes place away from populated areas. ISAF continues to provide combat support and combat service support where there are remaining ANSF capability gaps. At the end of this quarter, it's clear that the ANSF have tactical overmatch vis-à-vis the Taliban. The Taliban have largely failed to accomplish their objectives outlined in their seasonal operations plan."

And: "ANSF capabilities are not yet sustainable, but they have made significant and very real progress.  Much work remains to be done on the systems, processes and institutions necessary to make our progress enduring, and we are providing support at the ministerial level, as well as the corps level and below.  In the fielded force, the Afghan Air Force (AAF), logistics and intelligence are particular focus areas for improvement. Read the rest of his assessment here.

1986 calling: What Ollie North tells us about Hasan Rouhani. FP's Shane Harris looks back at the deal Rouhani and North forged in May 1986 and what it says about the kind of negotiator Rouhani is. Harris: "In those meetings, the man to whom U.S. officials are now turning as the best hope for a rapprochement with Iran, after more than three decades of hostilities, showed himself to be a shrewd negotiator, ready to usher in a new era of openness. But he was also willing to subvert that broader goal and string the Americans along to get what he wanted -- more weapons. If there is a window into how Rouhani thinks today and how he will approach negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, it may be those few days in May he spent in high-stakes talks with the Americans over hostages and the countries' shared futures." Read the rest here.

Move over, Iran, some Israelis want to come clean on their nukes, too. FP's Yochi Dreazen: "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded on Thursday that Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a step that would require Israel to dismantle the nuclear weapons it has never publicly acknowledged that it possesses. It's a time-honored talking point from Tehran's leaders. But it comes with an ironic twist. A significant number of Israelis kind of agree Rouhani's demand -- or, at least the part about Israel finally owning up to its nuclear arsenal." Read the rest here.

Undoing a deal? GOP hard-liners may shut down the government. The WaPo's Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane: "Washington stumbled toward a shutdown as the Republican Party's rebellious right wing on Thursday blocked a strategy by House Speaker John A. Boehner for navigating a series of deadlines to keep the government funded and avoid a first-ever default. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team revealed the first step of that plan to rank-and-file lawmakers early Thursday, urging conservatives to shift their ­assault on President Obama's health-care law to the coming fight over the federal debt limit... But about two dozen hard-liners rejected that approach, saying they will not talk about the debt limit until the battle over government funding is resolved. ‘Quite frankly, I think that's primarily where we need to be putting our attention," said Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), who has led the drive in the House to use the threat of a shutdown to defund the health-insurance initiative, Obama's signature legislative achievement.' More here.

Is the reverence for the military dissipating? As the war in Afghanistan enters its final legs over the next year and the war in Iraq was like forever ago, the yellow ribbons have fallen off the backs of people's cars, some Americans will begin to perceive the military differently. The reverence dissipates. People may start to ask questions. One Manhattan woman did, and she got fired for it. She was probably over the top, but we wonder if we'll begin to see more of this. Her FB post: "Everyone is constantly glorifying the military calling them ‘heroes' etc. War is not ‘heroic.' Saying no to violence and solving problems peacefully is heroic. So no, I will not thank those who CHOOSE (ON THEIR OWN FREE WILL) [caps hers] to go kill themselves in battle. Get a life and a real job. Oh, and stop demanding a military discount everywhere you go. You're no better, nor no more deserving than a ‘civilian.'" Then she got so fired. AP: "A Manhattan woman says she was fired and has received death threats after posting comments on Facebook that criticized the military. Meagan May posted a comment in September that she did not consider the military heroic and criticizing military personnel for expecting discounts at businesses. May told WIBW she posted the comments because she believes soldiers receive too much special treatment. She said her employer, Carmike Cinemas in Manhattan, fired her after she posted the comment. Carmike also posted on May's page that her comments did not reflect the attitude of the company. Carmike officials said they fully support and honor military personnel. May says she isn't backing down because she thinks she should be able to post whatever she believes on Facebook." The story here.

At the Russian Arms Expo, planes, priests and tanks. FP's John Reed: "Russia is holding its annual celebration of military hardware this week in the Ural Mountain town of Nizhny Tagil. The Russian Arms Expo 2013, which lasts from Sept. 25 through 28, is held to promote Russia's $14-billion arms industry. This year's show boasts more than 400 exhibitors from 50 countries and, according to the shows promoters, is one of the largest weapons shows held in Russia." Read his bit here.

A sex jihad? Are women racing to Syria from Tunisia? Probably not. FP's David Kenner: "It's the story that launched 1,000 headlines. And it's not hard to see why: Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou announced last week that Tunisian women were traveling to Syria to wage "sex jihad," where they were having sex with "20, 30, [or] 100" militants, before returning pregnant to Tunisia. There's only one problem: There's no evidence it's true. The Tunisian Interior Ministry has so far failed to provide any further information on the phenomenon, and human rights activists and journalists have been unable to find any Tunisian woman who went to Syria for this purpose. ‘Everything I've heard were very broad allegations that didn't really have all the features of a serious reporting about the case,' said Amna Guellali, the Tunisia researcher for Human Rights Watch. ‘All I have is very sparse, very little information, and I think that's true for a lot of people working in the human rights community, in addition to reporters.' Read the rest here.

Trending now, as they say: The Guardian's piece on Sy Hersh, who talks about Obama, the NSA and the "pathetic American media." The first thing we do, let's kill journalists, Hersh seems to be saying in this new piece today. The Guardian: "Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism - close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider... He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth." Read it here.

What's going on here? The Marine Corps relieved the whistleblowing lawyer who tried to take down a Commandant. Marine Corps Times' Hope Hodge: 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... 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. 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.'" More here.

The whole bit about (former FP colleague) and Daily Beast senior writer Josh Rogin was what it was. Tweeps heralded Rogin's grace after he was smacked in the face by a comedian who didn't like Rogin's snarky Tweets after comedian Dan Nainan's performance at the DC Improv. But this animated recreation of the fight is pretty good. Click bait here.