A U.S. Marine who received America's most prestigious military medal is suing British defense giant BAE Systems, charging that the firm retaliated against him after he objected to the alleged sale of high-tech sniper scopes to Pakistan.
Sergeant Dakota Meyer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama in a televised ceremony two months ago, filed a defamation suit this week in a Texas court against BAE.
Meyer claims that he lost out on a prospective job after a former boss labeled him a mentally unstable employee with a drinking problem, company officials said Tuesday.
Meyer is only the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was credited with saving the lives of 36 troops by braving heavy fire and providing cover for his comrades in eastern Afghanistan.
BAE rejected Meyer's allegations but went out of its way to acknowledge his valor on the battlefield.
"As an organization whose core focus is to support and protect our nation's troops, we are incredibly grateful to Dakota Meyer for his valiant service and bravery above and beyond the call of duty," spokesman Brian Roehrkasse told AFP in an email.
"Although we strongly disagree with his claims, which we intend to vigorously defend through the appropriate legal process, we wish him success and good fortune in all his endeavors."
The lawsuit, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, reportedly alleges that Meyer became concerned in April after learning that BAE had sought to sell weapons systems to Pakistan.
He then sent an email to his boss, Bobby McCreight, voicing his dismay.
"We are simply taking the best gear, the best technology on the market to date and giving to guys that are known to stab us in the back," Meyer reportedly wrote in the email.
BAE did not confirm that the company had plans to sell scopes to Pakistan and said it is up to the State Department to decide which weapons are exported.
Meyer's concerns about arming Pakistani soldiers reflect widespread distrust of Pakistan among U.S. troops, particularly those who have spent time on the eastern Afghan border.
News of the lawsuit came as relations between the United Sates and Pakistan plunged to a new low after a cross-border air strike on Saturday by U.S.-led forces that left 24 Pakistani troops dead.
The lawsuit alleges that Meyer's supervisor, McCreight, belittled him after his critical email and made sarcastic remarks about his nomination for the Medal of Honor, referring to his "pending star status."
McCreight, a retired Marine sniper who also received awards for his military service, "remains employed by BAE Systems," the company said.
Meyer quit BAE in May and tried to go back to a previous job training active-duty troops at Ausgar Technologies, the Wall Street Journal reported.
But his old supervisor reportedly spoke to a Pentagon manager overseeing the hiring of veterans for the program, alleging Meyer was mentally troubled and had "a problem related to drinking in a social setting."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011