Evidence lacking for McChrystal allegations: report

WASHINGTON Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:55pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Evidence was lacking to substantiate allegations that retired Army General Stanley McChrystal had violated military policy standards, a Pentagon document released on Monday said.

McChrystal lost his command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and then retired from the military after a 2010 "Rolling Stone" article reporting various comments allegedly made by McChrystal and his staff critical of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The memorandum from the Department of Defense Inspector General said the IG had looked at how such standards as those on not showing contempt toward officials or engaging in conduct unbecoming to officers might apply to the reported comments as well as certain incidents of behavior the article described.

One incident described in the article was an episode of alleged heavy drinking and partying by staff on the night of the general's wedding anniversary, with McChrystal and his wife on hand.

The Pentagon memo, responding to an earlier report from the Army's IG, concluded that:

- "The evidence was insufficient to substantiate a violation of applicable (Defense Department) standards with respect to any of the incidents on which we focused," and that

- "Not all of the events at issue occurred as reported in the article."

In some instances there were no witnesses who could be found who said they had heard or made the comments reported in "Rolling Stone," while in other incidents the general substance was confirmed "but not in the exact context described in the article," the Pentagon report said.

Responding on its website, "Rolling Stone" said the Pentagon memo "offers no credible source -- or indeed any named source -- contradicting the facts as reported in our story," which the magazine said "was accurate in every detail."

The magazine said it was not surprising the Pentagon could not find witnesses who said they had made or heard the reported comments, since those questioned "knew that their careers were on the line if they admitted" to such comments.

"McChrystal's own response to the story was to issue an apology," saying what the article reflected fell far short of his personal standard, "Rolling Stone" said.

Last week the White House announced McChrystal would head an advisory board for a program to support military families in which first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden's wife Jill Biden are playing prominent roles.

(Reporting by Jerry Norton; Editing by Greg McCune)

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