We reported earlier that the Hamdaniya court martial was suspended while the Judge looked into defense charges that the NCIS had put into evidence false witness statements. In the Haditha case, defense counsel has also raised questions about the conduct of the NCIS. AP reports:
Attorneys for a Marine charged in the killing of Iraqi civilians in Haditha want the U.S. military to look into the leak of an investigative report to the news media.
The Washington Post published photos and information from the investigative file this month that had not previously been made public, one showing five Iraqis sprawled near a taxi.
"This leak was inexcusable and unethical and very clearly presents a publicly unfavorable portrait of our client," lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich wrote.
Wuterich is one of two Marines charged with murder in the five deaths.
The lawyers asked Marine Lt. Gen. James Mattis to have the Naval Criminal Investigative Service find out who leaked the investigative report to the newspaper.
I think an inquiry is definitely in order. From the outset there have been leaks about material in the NCIS investigative files and they seem clearly designed to influence public opinion against the marines and to build pressure on the tribunal to find the defendants guilty.
While we do not know the source of these leaks, the NCIS itself or Congressional committees or Congressmen to whom they may have provided this material seem logical targets of any inquiry.