During the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Marine Corps Col. George Bristol was in a key position in the U.S. Africa Command leadership, CBS News reported. While it would be expected he could answer Congress’ questions about that night, no one seems to know where he is – or isn’t telling.
“They say he’s retired and they can’t reach out to him,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told CBS News. “That’s hogwash.”
Pentagon spokesman Major Robert Firman told CBS News that the Department of Defense has been forthcoming about all matters related to Benghazi, and that it “cannot compel retired members to testify before Congress.”
Firman also issued somewhat of a challenge, adding that “any congressional committee can call the witnesses it needs” through subpoena, if necessary.
In a closed-door hearing on June 26, the House Armed Services Committee questioned Bristol’s former superiors, commander of Special Operations Command Africa Rear Adm. Brian Losey and former commander Gen. Carter Ham, who happens to be retired.
The Defense Department defended Ham’s appearance, saying he was not yet officially retired at the time.
“We will end up talking to [Bristol] at some point,” Chaffetz said. “He had a very important role and we want to talk to him about it… All this raises concern when there’s so much resistance to letting us speak with him.”
Chaffetz noted that the Defense Department was more responsive on Benghazi than other federal agencies, but helping to locate Bristol was one area it was lacking.
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