Jason Brezler is an elite New York firefighter. He is also a highly decorated officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, who has served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So why is Maj. Brezler facing possible discharge on less than honorable terms after serving 13 years with the Marines?
He is accused of mishandling classified information and faces an investigation that could determine his future.
"For a man like Jason Brezler, being asked to separate from the Marine Corps that he loved so much would be an even worse punishment than jail," said Kevin Carroll, Brezler's attorney, a former CIA officer who is providing Brezler pro bono representation along with his law firm Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan.
In an e-mail to CNN, Marine Col. Francis Piccoli wrote that because of "the mishandling of classified information, Maj. Brezler has been ordered to show cause of retention in the U.S. Marine Corps before a Board of Inquiry."
That board will consist of three officers: one colonel and two lieutenant colonels.
Brezler, a tall man with a strong New York accent and a blond buzz-cut, is legally barred from speaking about his case.
But influential supporters are leaping to the 32-year-old veteran's defense. A congressman, a senator and two Marine Corps generals have written letters on Brezler's behalf.
None of his defenders dispute the fact that Brezler broke security protocol when he sent classified information over an insecure line in summer 2012. In fact, his attorney said Brezler quickly reported the mistake to his superiors.
His defenders argue the urgency of the situation warranted the security breach.
"Maj. Brezler was in a position where lives were in danger and time was of the essence, and in the end his assessment of the threat proved accurate," wrote New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a letter to the Marines.
During summer 2012, Brezler was attending graduate courses in Oklahoma when he received an e-mail from Marine officers in Afghanistan's Helmand province, a deeply troubled area where Brezler had been deployed in 2009-2010.
"The subject line of the e-mail he received said in all capital letters with three exclamation marks 'IMPORTANT: SARWAR JAN IS BACK,'" said Carroll.
Brezler had history with Jan, an Afghan police commander who had been active in Helmand province.
"When Jason was serving in Afghanistan in 2010, he caused Sarwar Jan, a police official, to be fired from that position because he was raping children," Carroll said.
Despite repeated efforts by CNN's bureau in Kabul, Jan could not be found to comment for this report.
Carroll said "within minutes" Brezler wrote his colleagues back at Forward Operating Base Delhi in Afghanistan, with a warning about Jan. He attached to the e-mail a classified document that included allegations about Jan, claiming he had ties to the Taliban.
"Jason immediately responded with everything he knew, including some extraordinarily derogatory information he knew about this man indicating that he was a threat not only to local children but to Marines," Carroll said. "When the Marines in Afghanistan wrote back saying that some of that information might have been classified, (Brezler) immediately turned himself in."
In retrospect, some observers believe this was a breach of security that could have saved lives.
On August 10, 2012, less than two weeks after Brezler's warning, three Marines were shot to death in the gym at FOB Delhi. Their names were Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, Cpl. Richard Rivera and Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley.
The suspected gunman was a teenage servant, known by the single Afghan name Aynoddin, who was working on the base for Jan.
Despite his earlier dismissal, Jan had been appointed to command the Afghan police in another district of Helmand Province, where FOB Delhi was located.
More than a year later, Buckley's home in Oceanside, New York, is decorated with American flags and photos in honor of the slain 21-year old.
Asked what would have happened if commanders at FOB Delhi heeded Brezler's warning, Greg Buckley Sr. paused, his eyes filling with tears.
"I would have my son," he said. "I would have my boy with me today."