Marine Corps general reportedly leaked a sensitive memo questioning Trump's border plan

  • Marine Corps commandant Robert Neller allowed critical, internal memos to be leaked to news outlets, according to US Defense Department officials cited in a Newsweek report.
  • Neller, a four-star general and a 44-year Marine Corps veteran, is said to have leaked the memos in an effort to warn the public of the negative impact of President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration.
  • "He didn't want the Marines and families at Camp Lejeune ... to get f---ed," one official reportedly said.

The commanding officer of the US Marine Corps allowed critical, internal memos to be leaked to news outlets in March, according to a Newsweek report on Wednesday.

Marine Corps commandant Robert Neller allowed the leak to the Los Angeles Times and NBC News, according to two Defense Department officials cited in the report. The memos were signed by Neller and addressed to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

Neller, a four-star general and a 44-year Marine Corps veteran, is said to have leaked the memos in an effort to warn the public of the negative impact of President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration.

RELATED: Marine Corps night operations

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Marine Corps night operations

LAV-25 Light Armored Vehicles from Charlie Company fire on fixed targets as part of a combined arms engagement range during sustainment training in D'Arta Plage, Djibouti.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman)

An AV-8B Harrier with Marine Attack Squadron 311 lands on the USS Essex.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Cpl. Garry J. Welch)

A Marine from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, provides cover fire during a platoon assault exercise at Arta Range, Djibouti.

(Photo by US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Erik Cardenas)

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare to collect simulated enemy casualties and weapons during a mechanized raid at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia.

(Photo by US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera)

Pfc. Sebastian Rodriguez, machine gunner, fires an M240 machine gun during a night squad-attack exercise.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Sgt. Sarah Fiocco)

An MV-22 Osprey prepares for take off for night low-altitude training at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Republic of the Philippines.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/1st Lt. Jeanscott Dodd)

US Marines assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One break down a rapid ground refueling during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) near 29 Palms, California.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Sgt. Daniel D. Kujanpaa)

A Marine Special Operations Team member fires an AK-47 during night fire sustainment training in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Sgt. Pete Thibodeau)

An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron prepares to takeoff during flight operations aboard the USS Kearsarge.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Cpl. Christopher Q. Stone)

Cpl. Rashawn Poitevien engages targets downrange with an M40A5 during the Talon Exercise at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Christopher A. Mendoza)

A Marine Special Operations Team member fires a M240B machine gun during night fire sustainment training in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

(Photo by US Marine Corps/Sgt. Pete Thibodeau)

US Marines perform maintenance checks on an AH-1Z Viper aboard the USS Anchorage.

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Trump used his authority to declare a national emergency in February, bypassing Congress to obtain funding for his proposed barrier at the US-Mexico border. House Democrats put forth a resolution to try to block Trump's national-emergency declaration, and a bipartisan group of House lawmakers mounted a last-ditch effort to override a presidential veto of that resolution. That effortfailed.

The funds to pay for the barrier would be siphoned from military training operations and projects that have yet to be paid for, including ones from bases that are still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

In the memos, Neller explained that Trump's plan would be an "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency," and that the readiness of Marines, "will continue to degrade given current conditions."

"He didn't want the Marines and families at Camp Lejeune ... to get f---ed," one official reportedly said to Newsweek.

Camp Lejeune, one of the major training grounds for the Marine Corps, sustained around $3.6 billion worth of damage after Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina last year. Around 70% of the homes on the base were damaged in the aftermath and 84,000gallons of sewage spilled onto the base.

One of Camp Lejeune's projects that could be on the chopping block is a $65 million water-treatment plant. Camp Lejeune was embroiled in controversy after hundreds of thousands of troops and family members stationed at the base were exposed to contaminated water between 1953 and 1987.

"The optics of deferring this project could likely be a public relations disaster not just for the Marine Corps, but the Defense Department in general because of the past history at Camp Lejeune and water contamination," Dan Grazier, a military fellow at Project on Government Oversight, previously said to INSIDER.

In a statement to Newsweek, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Neller insisted he was not responsible for leaking the memo.

"I have personal assurances from the Commandant that he did not leak the memo himself, or direct or otherwise encourage any member of the Marine Corps or his staff to do so," Spencer reportedly said.

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