Back on July 5th, Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News reported that the Pentagon would not divulge the whereabouts of Marine Corps. Col. George Bristol, who may have valuable information about what happened in Benghazi, to those in Congress who wanted to talk to him because they “cannot compel retired members to testify before Congress.”
According to the Marine Corps. Times, there’s at least one problem with that excuse; Bristol isn’t retired:
Defense Department officials have told members of Congress that Bristol cannot be forced to testify because he retired after stepping down during a March change of command ceremony, according to several media reports. The Pentagon reinforced that point of view to Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.
“Col. Bristol was not invited by Congress to testify before he retired,” said Air Force Maj. Robert Firman, a spokesman with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “The DoD has cooperated fully with Congress and the Accountability Review Board since the beginning of this investigation, and we will continue to do so.”
That isn’t the case, however. While Bristol is preparing for retirement, he is on active duty through the end of July, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Marine spokeswoman, on Wednesday. He will be placed on the inactive list on Aug. 1, she said. That contradicts statements that Pentagon officials have issued to both Congress and the media.
Indications are that when the Pentagon was asked for contact information for Bristol, they demurred by saying he was retired and they couldn’t compel him to testify. Even if Bristol had been retired, giving his contact information to Congress doesn’t constitute compelling him to testify anyway. Now that it appears Bristol is still active, the Pentagon should be able to honor the request.
In this Monty Python metaphor, Congress is represented by the guy with the cart, the Pentagon is represented by the guy looking to peddle a dead man who isn’t, and Bristol is represented by the guy slung over his shoulder who is quite