Marine's Facebook Page Killed By Friendly Fire

By Eric S. Page and Tony Shin
|  Friday, Apr 16, 2010  |  Updated 1:24 AM PDT
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A Camp Pendleton Marine said he removed his Facebook page after his comments fueled a free-speech debate about whether troops are allowed to criticize President Barack Obama's policies while serving in the military.

"I just started it for an open forum so active duty military, their family and friends can speak their mind as tea partiers,"Sgt. Gary Stein told NBC 7/39.
     
Stein said he was asked by his superiors to review the Pentagon's directive on political activities after he criticized Obama's health care reform efforts and then was asked this week to talk about his views on MSNBC.

"I was scared about what could happen but nothing did happen,"Stein said about his meeting with military leaders.  "No charges pending, I'm not getting lashback from my chain of command."

Stein said his supervisor told him of his right to an attorney about the matter. He says he decided to close his Facebook page and review his military code obligations.  The guidelines state that members of the military aren't allowed to talk before political groups or advocate political causes to the media or in group discussions.

The ACLU questions whether the military policy infringes on constitutional rights involving freedom of speech.

Stein said it doesn't.  "I don't think I've been censored at all."
     
Camp Pendleton spokeswoman Maj. Gabrielle Chapin says the Corps. is not considering filing charges.

Stein said there was no wrongdoing on his part during a discussion about the issue with legal advisors outside the military.
 

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