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Marine Corps Times: Emails show intent behind Corps moving newspaper

Marine Corps officials who tried to ban the Marine Corps Times from base newsstands or move it to less visible areas in stores did so because of the paper’s reporting on the commandant, emails obtained by that paper suggest.

The Times had been conducting an ongoing investigation into allegations that Marine commandant Gen. Jim Amos abused his authority by ordering punishment for Marines who urinated on Taliban corpses in 2012.

In an email written May 15 and published Sunday in the Marine Corps Times, Chris Hughes, a deputy director of Marine Corps public affairs, wrote that “every few years” the Marines “have a falling out with Marine Corps Times that warrants consideration of some level of ‘ban’ from our facilities.”

“We believe that we may be close to such an impasse, and we want to present the Commandant with options,” Hughes wrote to senior executive service employees. “We believe it becomes a ‘good order and discipline’ issue if [Amos] believes he is being misrepresented by them. On such grounds, could he prohibit their sale in our [Marine Corps Community Services] facilities? Or, could he place them somewhere less prominent?”

Robert Hogue, the commandant’s top civilian attorney, emailed Hughes three hours later: “I recommend we try to talk the boss off the ledge here,” he wrote. “That said, to respond to your specific question, there are authorities we can use to move the MCT from a position of prominence in our facilities.”

Earlier this month, the Marine Corps Times briefly lost its spot near the checkout lines at base stores. At the time, the Marine Corps said the move was simply meant to “professionalize” the front of exchange stores, and that the MCT’s suspicions of retribution had been “a clear misunderstanding of intent.”

Marine Corps Times authenticated the internal discussion from May 15, 2013, that contradicts official statements offered recently in response to the service’s decision in December to relocate the newspaper away from checkout lines at Marine Corps Exchange stores worldwide, the Times reported.

The Marine Corps says the matter is under review.

news@stripes.com

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