Lawmaker calls for hearing on Marine Corps newsstand episode

Rep. Walter B. Jones called for a congressional oversight hearing on the Marine Corps' recent decision to remove the newsmagazine Marine Corps Times from its newsstands at the front of its commissaries and exchange stores, and place it in less prominent locations.

Jones, in a letter to the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, called the move a "blatant attempt to punish the Marine Corps Times for their articles investigating the questionable actions for the commandant."

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Last year, the Marine Corps Times published critical articles on Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos' reportedly inappropriate role seeking punishment for Marines standing trial for urinating on Taliban corpses.  

"This attempt by the Marine Corps leadership to stand in the way of a free and open press is unacceptable," said Jones in the letter. "The Marine Corps Times is a widely-read publication among members of our armed forces, as it provides them with critical information related to various aspects of their employment and service to our country." 

Jones also sent a letter to Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead, requesting more information on the decision. 

Jones is requesting all documentation surrounding the Marine Corps decision to relocate the paper, which was reversed two days later. 

"While Congressman Jones welcomes this decision, he remains troubled that Marine Corps leadership has implied an intent to again remove the publication from its prominent store location in the future to create room for 'healthier food and beverage choices' and 'military literature from the Commandant’s Reading List,' " a statement from Jones' office said.

"As a result, the congressman believes that a hearing and the production of all documentation on the original decision and the temporary reversal are necessary to prevent this infringement on the First Amendment from occurring again," the statement said.