So it appears that Neil Tolley, the general who accused me of fabricating quotes attributed to him, has either been fired or has voluntarily stepped down — though it’s also possible he was due to be replaced in any event.
Some commenters have said I should apologize to Tolley. They’re right. If Tolley has been fired, I am very very sorry. I never wanted him to suffer like that, even as he withheld his own apology to me. I’m sorry for what’s apparently happening to you, General.
If Tolley truly did speak hypothetically, as he and the Pentagon now claim, then I misunderstood him — and I regret that. If I had known more about the politics of the Koreas going into Tolley’s presentation, I probably would have been more skeptical. That’s my fault. Just because U.S. Special Operations Forces are present in 77 countries (according to SOCOM Adm. Bill McRaven) and just because the U.S. routinely violates the sovereignty of nations such as Pakistan and Iran, does not necessarily mean we do that same in North Korea.
It seems to me there was an elegant way to handle this controversy. After reading my report that many now insist is erroneous (though not fabricated), Tolley could have released a statement saying he had meant to speak hypothetically but was still quoted accurately — in essence, the same statement he eventually released only after accusing me of lying … and then being proved wrong.
Update: Steve Herman at VoA reports that Tolley’s replacement was long planned.