“F— You” could not be independently verified

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Mark Thompson noted the Pentagon inspector general’s review of the Rolling Stone article that torpedoed the career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, so I won’t go over that again here.

I will, however, note my favorite part of the inspector general’s investigation, a probe into McChrystal’s middle finger:

The incident, described in the article as Gen. McChrystal making the “middle finger” gesture toward his Executive Officer, could not be independently verified through sworn witness testimony… Given the context – in the control room preparing for an official function, in a conversation between professional colleagues with a long-standing professional and personal relationship — the gesture, if made, would not have been a failure by Gen. McChrystal to treat his Executive Officer with dignity or respect nor could it reasonably be characterized, taking all circumstances into consideration, as violating any standard.

We found that, while it is possible that the incident occurred as descrbed in the article, none of the witnesses who recalled the pre-dinner conversation recalled seeing Gen. McChrystal make the gesture.