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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

July 31, 2013 - 2:19 pm

The former commander of special operations in Northern Africa told a closed-door briefing today that he was largely detached from events the night of the Benghazi attack as he was traveling at the time.

The testimony of Col. George H. Bristol, USMC, Former Commander, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, Marine Corps Forces Special  Operations Command Africa, had been eagerly anticipated by members of Congress. Originally, lawmakers had been told by the Defense Department that he had retired — the actual date is Aug. 1, an “administrative error” according to the Pentagon — and that they didn’t have his forwarding contact information. Bristol lives in Woodbridge, Va., between the Pentagon and Quantico.

“His responsibilities in that role were primarily to contribute to counterterrorism efforts through training and assisting military forces of other countries. Colonel Bristol clarified orders given to personnel on the ground responding to the attack. Colonel Bristol also elaborated on his activities as part of the chain of command during and following the attack.  During the attack, Colonel Bristol was traveling in Africa. Unreliable communications prohibited him from participating in the attack response beyond an initial conversation with LTG Gibson and Rear Admiral Losey,” the House Armed Services Committee said in a readout of the hearing.

“Col Bristol confirmed to the committee that, in his role as Joint Special Operations Task Force – Trans Sahara Commander, he gave LTC Gibson initial freedom of action to make decisions in response to the unfolding situation in Benghazi.  Bristol elaborated that Gibson’s orders changed over time, as conditions on the ground evolved. LTC Gibson previously testified to the committee that, contrary to some reports, he was at no point ordered to ‘stand down’ but rather to remain in Tripoli to defend American embassy there in anticipation of possible additional attacks and to assist the survivors as they returned from Benghazi. Colonel Bristol confirmed this account of events.”

Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) also asked the Defense Department if any personnel had been required to sign non-disclosure agreements after the Benghazi attacks.

“The Department has not requested nor required relevant personnel to sign any such agreements since the attacks,” the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs responded.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Too bad is wasn't you left in Benghazi....but, you would never volunteer for that sort of thing anyway, as much as you hate America, Private Chicken.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something fishy here. Having bad comms sounds to me like a "the dog ate my homework" excuse. Seems to me that a Special Operations Command TF might've thought up some back-up contingency plans in the event of 'bad comms'? Ya think?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (7)
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"Say again, LTC Gibson, say again....you're coming in stoopid" Way to change your statement from previously reported comments....another officer sells his soul to protect his pension. Hope you sleep well at night, Benedict Arnold. These are the results of the CLOSED DOOR strategy session. Oh, he wasn't told "not to go" he was just told to "stay where you are"....six of one - half dozen of another; pure semantics to move the target.

Remember BENGHAZI!

37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
People have called for help or their families from the top of Mt Everest. Is he really trying to tell us that will all the satellite technology that he couldn't get a good signal? I call bullsh$t

So if LTC Gibson was told to stay in tripoli, was it this general that told him using bad communications? or someone else? If so, who gave the order?

And if none of the military personnel being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements, whee are they and transcripts of their interviews with the FBI?

Still more questions than answers. Does anyone in Congress know how to ask questions?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something fishy here. Having bad comms sounds to me like a "the dog ate my homework" excuse. Seems to me that a Special Operations Command TF might've thought up some back-up contingency plans in the event of 'bad comms'? Ya think?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, yes. Our military has all kinds of scenarios drawn up, with details as to how to respond. Even if they do not have the exact scenario, they have something close, which they can adapt.

And if he really were traveling, does he not have an XO whose job it is to take over, once the CO is cut off from comms? Of course he did, so where is that XO?

This nonsense does not fly with those who understand military affairs, but it will pass with most of the public and most of the Congressmen, because they have never served, and so, are ignorant.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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