WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) on Tuesday sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis seeking additional information on the reports that as many as 30,000 Marines are being investigated as part of their involvement in distributing and commenting on obscene photos of female Marines. Walorski and Kuster are specifically requesting “an update to the investigation conducted by NCIS and a detailed explanation of actions taken to date by the Marine Corps, Navy, and DoD.”
Walorski and Kuster were joined by Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Tim Walz (MI-01), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Mark Takano (CA-41).
“This conduct is wholly unacceptable and disgusting,” the members wrote. “It is blatant sexual harassment and, by admission of officials within the Department of Defense, it puts these women at risk of blackmail – sexual or otherwise – and jeopardizes our national security. Further, this incident punctuates the need for greater reform by the military services.”
The members continued, “…we know you consider sexual harassment and assault to be a serious and persistent issue with the services. It leaves men and women vulnerable to retaliation and violence. Our continued operations in the Global War on Terror and against organizations like Islamic State mean men and women are at greater risk of suffering the psychological wounds of combat. The least we can do is ensure that they are not sexually traumatized by their brothers-in-arms.”
The full text of the letter is available here.