Marine's Facebook page tests free speech rights


SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Camp Pendleton Marine says he runs a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party to encourage military members to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Marine Corps officials said Wednesday the military is looking into the matter to ensure Sgt. Gary Stein has not violated Defense Department rules prohibiting active-duty troops in uniform from sponsoring a political club or advocating for or against a political party, candidate or cause.

Stein launched the page in 2010 but he drew the attention of his commanders last week when he posted a message saying he would not follow orders by President Barack Obama. He later clarified that he would not follow unlawful orders from the president.

Military observers say he may have gone too far in criticizing the commander in chief.