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21 March 2008

Pentagon keeps Admiral William Fallon from testifying before Congress

Reuters (newswire UK)
Friday 21 March 2008

Pentagon will not send
Admiral Wm. Fallon
to Congress on Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- US Navy Admiral William "Fox" Fallon, who is resigning after a magazine reported he was challenging the White House over Iran, will not appear before Congress to discuss the war in Iraq, the Pentagon said on Friday.

[Esquire magazine article about Fallon]

Only Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. officer in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will go to Capitol Hill in April to update lawmakers on the war, said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

"I know there have been requests in fact from members of Congress to have Admiral Fallon testify with Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker and I can tell you Admiral Fallon will not be testifying," Morrell said.

Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command headquarters responsible for the Middle East, said earlier this month that he would quit after Esquire magazine described him as urging President George W. Bush to avoid war with Iran.

Fallon cooperated with the author during the article's preparation but strongly criticized the story after it appeared.

He will hand responsibility to his deputy by the end of March but will remain an active-duty four-star officer.

Petraeus and Crocker are expected to testify to Congress in early April, offering lawmakers their first update on the war since the two went to Capitol Hill in September.

"The process that we used last time worked quite well and we're going to stick with that again this time," Morrell said.

Morrell pinned the decision against Fallon's testimony to his resignation, saying Fallon would no longer be acting Central Command commander.

Asked if the Pentagon was concerned that lawmakers would use Fallon's appearance to ask questions about Iran, Morrell said, no.

(Reporting by Kristin Roberts, Editing by Jackie Frank)

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