Pentagon Admits that Key Marine Colonel Missing from Benghazi isn’t actually Retired; Will Now Allow Him to Testify

Many of Restoring Liberty’s readers likely remember the article from earlier this month concerning congressional efforts to locate a Marine colonel, George Bristol, who was in a key position in the chain of command of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) on the night Ambassador Stevens was murdered. The Marine officer is one of the several witnesses who have gone missing from Benghazi since that fateful day.

In response to congressional inquiries, Pentagon spokesman Major Robert Firman characterized COL Bristol as “retired” and stated that the Department of Defense “cannot compel retired members to testify before Congress. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, confirmed that DoD had said the Marine colonel was “retired and they can’t reach out to him.”

Turns out the Pentagon was not telling the truth. The colonel has several weeks until his retirement and is still under the Pentagon’s control. See the last story below.

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Pentagon does about-face on key Benghazi witness, makes Marine colonel available to talk to Congress

By David Martosko. The U.S. Department of Defense has agreed to make available to Congress a Marine Corps colonel who was in command of U.S. Special Forces in Northern Africa on the night armed terrorists staged a military-style assault on an American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

A series of requests for Marine Col. George Bristol’s testimony from Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, both Republicans, had fallen on deaf ears until Friday. The Pentagon had claimed that since Bristol had retired, it ‘cannot compel’ him to tell congressional panels what he knows about the Benghazi attack.

Chaffetz said on July 9 that the Defense Department was ‘not willing to pass along any sort of information’ related to Bristol’s whereabouts.

Now Air Force Maj. Robert Firman has confirmed to MailOnline that due to an ‘administrative error,’ Bristol was mistakenly classified as a retired officer despite his current active-duty status.

‘The Department of Defense has fully cooperated with congressional requests to understand the attacks on the Benghazi compound,’ Firman said. ‘Col. George Bristol, USMC, will be available to meet with House and Senate members and their staffs.’ Read more from this story HERE.

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Despite Pentagon claims, Marine colonel sought in Benghazi investigation not yet retired

By Dan Lamothe. When insurgents attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, last fall, Col. George Bristol held a key post in the region. As commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, he was in a position to know what options the U.S. had to protect Americans under fire.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the Sept. 11 attacks, sparking national outcry and a congressional investigation examining the lack of protection. Several U.S. officials have testified before Congress since — but not Bristol, a salty Marine whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa.

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. Read more from this story HERE.