Washington D.C. - U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and Marine Corps veteran, made the following statement on the retirement of Lt. Col. and Green Beret Jason Amerine:
“On Friday, Lt. Col. Jason Amerine retired from the U.S. Army following a long, honorable and distinguished career. I first came to know Jason years ago while working on an issue unrelated to hostage recovery, but it was our work together to improve the system and process to recover Americans held captive that truly defines Jason’s character and integrity. He was committed to leaving no American behind, and his relentless commitment and pursuit to save American lives is a testament to his selflessness and courage.
“When we took on the fight we did, I had no idea that we would encounter so much resistance within government, to the point that the FBI and certain leaders within the Army began to retaliate against Jason for the progress that was being made. Without Jason, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel never would have appointed Mike Lumpkin to coordinate the Bergdahl recovery—in the hope it could overcome the State Department-led 5-1 swap. Without Jason, I believe we would not have been able to keep pressure on the White House to initiate a hostage policy review. And without Jason, a major provision in the NDAA—to implement necessary improvements to hostage policy changes made earlier this year—wouldn’t exist.
“Through it all, what’s most frustrating is that the FBI refused to work with Jason—and it’s my firm belief that failures to safely recover Americans held captive in hostile areas is a direct result of that refusal. What’s also frustrating is that some senior Army leaders—including General Mary Legere—refused to give Jason the respect and opportunity to explain what we all knew was true: the FBI wanted Jason out of the way. The easiest thing to do was whisper an allegation to the Army, and the Army took the bait, investigating Jason for reasons that were unsupported by any of the facts. That investigation continued for too long, and too many threats were made. But after it all, the Army did the right thing and cleared Jason of any wrongdoing, and allowed one of its decorated heroes to retire. And before walking out the door, Jason was pinned with a Legion of Merit—an award that is a fitting capstone to his distinguished career.
“I’m honored to know Jason. I’m honored that he entrusted me to collaborate with him. And I’m grateful for all those who stood by his side—including my Senate colleagues and their staffs.”
Another tireless defender of Jason Amerine was the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). Following Friday’s ceremony, POGO released the following statement:
“For nearly a year, LTC Jason Amerine, a true American hero, has been under criminal investigation for speaking to Congress about the U.S.'s totally dysfunctional hostage recovery process. When anyone brings concerns of wrongdoing to Congress they are supposed to be protected under the law. But in fact, it took Jason assembling his ‘last guerrilla army’ of Congressional supporters, POGO, and a few courageous military officers acting behind the scenes to prevent a court martial. Rep. Duncan Hunter's leadership was pivotal in this effort. The Pentagon IG was supposed to protect him from retaliation, but failed in their duty spectacularly. Current whistleblower protection laws also provide little help for the military. Now that Lt. Col. Amerine has been awarded the Legion of Merit and is retiring honorably from the Army, it is time to get his mugshot, fingerprints and DNA removed from the criminal database and tackle the organizations and laws that failed him.”