Our readers are well aware of the Marines United nude photo scandal, and Liberty Nation discussed the effect such conduct has to readiness within the Armed Forces. Now that the news cycle has shifted to something else and President Trump is back to being the media’s perpetual flavor of the week, the aftermath of the scandal is beginning to be exposed – and it isn’t pretty.
According to the Marine Corps Times, NCIS investigators have identified fifteen active-duty service members who engaged in criminal activity related to the Marines United scandal and twenty-nine other Marines who were engaged in non-criminal misconduct.
In the wake of the scandal, in which women were harassed online, and nude photos of female service members were shared all over the web without their consent, the Marine Corps adjusted their social media policy to make clear the illegality of these actions. In the case of the twenty-nine Marines identified for online misconduct, their information will likely be forwarded to their respective commands for non-judicial punishment.
Non-judicial punishment, or NJP, is an administrative measure in which commanders’ discipline troops without a court-martial. This prevents misconduct that is technically legal but still counter to the good order and discipline of a unit, from going unpunished.
While the Marine Corps is engaging their leaders at all levels to take greater responsibility in correcting this type of behavior, the aftermath of this scandal has revealed another disturbing reality. The photos posted and shared are now being bought and sold on the Russian criminal market as “kompromat” according to Military Times.
Kompromat is short for compromising material and is often used for blackmail purposes. This poses a unique problem. As many of the women in these pictures are service members, this provides an avenue for blackmail of Armed Forces members. These are people who might have security clearances and access to sensitive information.
Blackmail is a favored method of intelligence services and other adversaries to turn those with access to sensitive information against their country. It would appear that those involved in the Marines United scandal not only did damage to the good order and discipline of the force but created a potentially major security risk as well.