Several active-duty Marines are being investigated by federal law enforcement for allegedly threatening a local congresswoman through social media.
U.S. Capitol Police launched the investigation after U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, received threatening and disparaging messages on Facebook from the now-defunct page “F*** You Jackie Speier.”
“Free speech is one thing, hate speech is another,” Speier said Tuesday.
Speier said she could not divulge the nature of the threats but confirmed that the page featured a doctored image of her with a black eye and a comment that said, “Someone ought to struggle snuggle the s*** out of her.”
The Facebook page also displayed several other messages and pictures celebrating misogyny and violence toward women, including a photo that showed a woman lying at the bottom of a staircase with the caption, “Next time don’t get pregnant.”
Speier received the threats after sending a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on May 8 informing him about another military-oriented Facebook page that appeared to endorse sexual assault toward women in uniform.
“It underscores the problem that we have in the military right now, which is a culture that has for decades basically turned a blind eye to absolutely reprehensible conduct that is in many cases criminal,” Speier said.
In addition to the Hagel letter, Speier has authored three bills seeking to overhaul the manner in which the military handles sexual assault cases.
Speier said she expects “a fair amount of abuse” in public office but called the investigation into the threats against her “appropriate.”
“In the private sector, this kind of behavior by an employee wouldn’t be tolerated — they would be fired immediately,” she said. “We should expect much, much more from our military.”