WASHINGTON — A Pentagon inquiry into a Rolling Stone magazine profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to his dismissal as the top US commander in Afghanistan has cleared him of wrongdoing.
The probe's results released Monday also called into question the accuracy of the magazine's report last June, which quoted anonymously people around McChrystal making disparaging remarks about members of President Barack Obama's national security team, including Vice President Joe Biden.
The office of the Defense Department inspector general said it reviewed an unpublished Army investigation of the case, and interviewed numerous eyewitnesses. It concluded that the evidence was insufficient to substantiate a violation of any applicable legal or ethics standard by McChrystal or any of his staff.
The Pentagon inquiry also concluded that not all of the events at issue happened as reported in the article.
"In some instances, we found no witnesses who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported," the Pentagon report said. "In other instances, we confirmed that the general substance of an incident at issue occurred, but not in the exact context described in the article."
The publication issued the following statement:
The report by the Pentagon's inspector general offers no credible source - or indeed, any named source - contradicting the facts as reported in our story, "The Runaway General." Much of the report, in fact, confirms our reporting, noting only that the Pentagon was unable to find witnesses "who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported." This is not surprising, given that the civilian and military advisors questioned by the Pentagon knew that their careers were on the line if they admitted to making such comments. Asking unnamed sources to reveal their identities strikes us as an exercise in futility. Rolling Stone stands by our story, which is accurate in every detail. We also note that Gen. Stanley McChrystal's own response to the story was to issue an apology, saying that what was reflected in the article fell "far short" of his personal standard.
After the Rolling Stone article was published, McChrystal was summoned to the White House and dismissed. He was replaced by Gen. David Petraeus.
Obama said at the time that McChrystal had fallen short of "the standard that should be set by a commanding general." He called the dismissal the right decision for U.S. national security and said McChrystal's conduct represented in the magazine article also "undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan."
Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.