Finally! Lt. Col. Jim Gregory called. This is what he said:
The bottom line is there are no U.S. boots in North Korea.
There is no attack on David Axe. I don’t want you to feel that’s what [Pentagon spokesman George Little] is doing.
We are in agreement that the words you heard came out of his [Brig. Gen. Neil Tolley's] mouth. I don’t believe what you wrote is inaccurate. … I heard him say those words.
They [U.S. Forces Korea] are waking up. I believe they are going to re-look [at their statement.] I can’t get into defending what U.S. Forces Korea said.
I get where you’re coming from. I heard the same words you heard. I don’t want you to be without a job. Hopefully you can hang tough. Everyone here is doing the best they can in the absence of a transcript. It is a bit of a mind-stretch. … The general may have said that and, in his mind, he was thinking hypothetically.
Update: From NPR:
Brig. Gen. Neil Tolley says that he has reviewed his presentation at a Special Forces Industry Conference and has come to the conclusion that he was “accurately quoted” by a reporter from The Diplomat.