How Gen. McChrystal lost his job
Thursday, Afghanistan: Gen. Stanley McChrystal's team knows it has a problem on its hands when fact-checkers for Rolling Stone magazine start sending in questions. One question that lands on the desk of McChrystal's press aide Duncan Boothby asks if the Afghanistan commander's inner circle really referred to itself as "Team America."
Monday evening, Aboard Air Force Two: As Vice President Joe Biden flies home from Illinois, he gets an unexpected call from McChrystal, who says he is calling to apologize. He had cooperated with an article in Rolling Stone that could, he says, be looked at unfavorably by the White House. Biden tells McChrystal he had no idea what he was talking about. Jovially, he assures the general he is sure it will all be fine. Biden then calls President Barack Obama, expressing bewilderment about the call he has just received.
Monday night, White House: Obama calls his aides, asking for a copy of the article. White House press aide Tommy Vietor had printed copies and walked them around the West Wing. Senior advisers have been poring over it for hours.
8 p.m. Monday, White House: Press secretary Robert Gibbs heads to the residence's bottom level, where he hands a copy to the president. Obama reads a chunk of it, growing visibly more angry as he moves down the page. That was "unhelpful,'' he says.
Later Monday, Oval Office: Obama summons his top aides. In the room are senior adviser David Axelrod, National Security Council chief of staff Denis McDonough and deputy security adviser Ben Rhodes. Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and national security adviser James Jones come later that night for a second round of meetings. Before the night is through, the president issues a single order:
Call McChrystal to the White House. Right away.
Information from McClatchy-Tribune and Washington Post was used in this report.