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By Russ Read
Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned the actions of hundreds of Marines who were caught sharing nude pictures of their female colleagues on social media Friday.
Mattis’s statement came in response to the revelation that members of the Marines United Facebook page were sharing links to Google Drive folders that contained potentially thousands of nude photos of female service members.
“The purported actions of civilian and military personnel on social media websites, including some associated with the Marines United group and possibly others, represent egregious violations of the fundamental values we uphold at the Department of Defense,” Mattis’s statement said. “The chain of command is taking all appropriate action to investigate potential misconduct and to maintain good order and discipline throughout our armed forces.”
Marines United included nearly 30,000 members, including U.S. Marines, Navy Corpsmen and British Royal Marines. More than two dozen female Marines, including active duty officers and enlisted personnel, were identified by rank, name and duty station in the photos. Many of the members of the group posted under their personal Facebook accounts, which also included names, ranks and duty stations.
The Department of Defense reportedly opened an investigation after The War Horse, a non-profit news organization run by Marine veteran Thomas Brennan, discovered the photos were being shared on the Facebook page.
Mattis referred to the actions of the members of Marines United and other such groups engaging in such behavior as “unacceptable and counter to unit cohesion.”
“We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield,” said Mattis.