A mutual friend of mine and Jason’s questioned the use of the word “Whistleblower” in the Survey.Â We are fairly certain it is the accurate term.Â Here was the response from Bill Ruhling, Lawyer for Jason.
“The predicate to a whistleblower claim is that there was some protected communication. It need not expressly reveal a criminal act or even what you describe as a “clear wrong.” Rather, there is a wide range of communications that fall into that category. Secondly, there must be some retaliatory action taken by someone who knew or should have known about the protected communication.
Here you also have to overlay Constitutional protections appearing in the 1st Amendment which provides, inter alia, an unabridged right to petition Congress.
If you read the ongoing press coverage, you will see the narrative is much broader than simply Jason is being denied pay or even that the Army is out to get him. It details how Jason Amerine was trying to highlight a structural issue in the government that jeopardized clear military objectives (e.g., the return of Bowe Bergdahl) and placed civilian lives at risk (e.g., the six civilian hostages being held in the region). Quite simply, the snake had no head despite being intertwined with numerous agencies inside and outside of the Department of Defense. There is no way to overcome that type of structural deficiency within the “chain of command.” It required political solutions, which is the very essence of why Congress exists and why citizens’ right to petition Congress is such a fundamental aspect of the bill of rights.
There are a lot of details that I will not discuss in this forum, but ultimately it is this effort and the subsequent related processes that led to the current situation facing our classmate. What I can tell you is that Congressman Hunter recently testified on the House floor about the very real effect Jason’s efforts effectuated. Specifically, his communications with Congress led to Under-Secretary Lumpkin being appointed to be the central POC for the release of SGT Bergdahl and most recently drove the creation of legislation approved in the House to appoint a central hostage POC in the government to effectuate the release of hostages in enemy control.
Jason further epitomized the concept of duty we all learned at West Point when he chose the harder right over the easier wrong by raising to the chain of command and to the IG that certain testimony before Congress by high ranking officials was not accurate. The investigation and the subsequent retaliatory actions against Jason Amerine followed those protected communications. While the spiderweb of facts underlying this case are worthy of a law school final examination, they fit the very definition of a whistleblower claim: Jason Amerine made protected communications first to his chain of command and then to the Inspector General. When those communications became known, Jason was suspended from his duties, escorted out of the Pentagon, placed under criminal investigation, had his retirement orders revoked and now has been denied pay.
While I appreciate the desire to think critically about a topic before blindly speaking out in favor of someone, you can rest assured that issues are vetted and researched long before they reach public consumption, particularly where the basic facts are consistently being disclosed by a number of sources.”
When I asked Bill for permission to quote him, he gave it, although he did make this addition:
“The one thing that should be noted, however, is that the situation involving Jason’s pay has been rectified by the government. The chain of command explains it as being an administrative snafu related to the revocation of the retirement orders rather than being attributable to any animus towards Jason. The swiftness with which they resolved the issue speaks positively to the plausibility of their explanation.”
Let’s hope the rest of this is cleared up just as quickly.