The Corner

A Townsel Non-Corroborator

It has been reported in the press that Kirby Jones, who worked at Burson-Marsteller (a sister company of Meldoy Townsel’s direct employer), corroborates her outrageous account of being chased through the hallways by Bolton in Moscow. But that’s not what he told the committee. He only says she was “uncomfortable” in Moscow–understandable because she was embroiled in a dispute at the time with her contractor IBTCI about how she had run the office in Bishkek. Here is what Jones says (I’ve snipped out some irrelevant bits; and excuse the length, but this stuff tends not to get reported anywhere else):

Q Are you aware of any contacts that she had with John Bolton?

MR. JONES: Well, at the time, I don’t remember every having a contact with John Bolton. I don’t remember ever having a contact. I mean, Melody is very descriptive, and the stories were going around, and can I remember one story or another, no, but she felt extremely uncomfortable, and I think that’s probably a slight understatement, in that whole situation.

Q: Did people, as those stories would go around, I assume you’re meaning, in Moscow.

MR. JONES: And in Washington.

Q: Do you know anybody who said, did you hear anybody say, particularly contemporaneously with these events, “That’s just nuts,” or any kind of question, question the stories? Did people accept them?

MR. JONES: The quick answer is I don’t remember how

people reacted.

Q: So, did you hear the stories about this from Melody while you were in Moscow, or –

MR. JONES: That I don’t remember. But probably when I got home, because I don’t know when I left, but I probably left shortly after the meeting.

Q: But it sounds like she must have said this to a bunch of people if there’s all these rumors flying around.

MR. JONES: Well, it’s a very small community, at least with our — we didn’t have that many people involved and it was not the normal sort of thing that happens every day or every week, and Melody is colorful at times, and talks to people, and so it was around.

Q: Can you tell us what you remember hearing?

MR. JONES: No. I just remember hearing that she felt very uncomfortable, and didn’t like her situation and was asking for help and how do we solve it, how do I get myself

out of this, and –

Q: Asking for help regarding — ?

MR. JONES: No, just more in terms of her own personal situation, what’s going on, it’s very uncomfortable, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I mean, she’s still over there.

Q: It’s very uncomfortable because of her contractor? In other words, it seems I’ve gone — I’m paraphrasing — in other words, I’ve gone behind my contractor’s back to AID, my contractor is now not very happy . . . .is she uncomfortable with her professional situation?

MR. JONES: No, more personal situation.

Q: Because she’s stuck in a hotel and doesn’t know where her next job is?

MR. JONES: Part of that, yeah.

Q: What’s the other part?

MR. JONES: And just being uncomfortable in this situation of this controversy.

Q: Do you remember talking to her specifically about her contacts with John Bolton?

MR. JONES: No, I don’t remember. I’ve tried to remember, but I can’t remember whether, and if she did, and mentioned it to me, I’ve certainly forgotten.

Q: Well is this discomfort you’re reporting related to her interactions with John Bolton, or the situation more generally.

MR. JONES: That immediate, specific situation. In other words, her discomfort had nothing to do with her professional life, or her professional desire to stay in that area of the world and do that work. She felt uncomfortable during that, this particular episode and this conflict, if you’d call it that, was making her very uncomfortable.

Q: But was it just the conflict with her employer and with IBTCI, or was it also specific to John Bolton?

MR. JONES: That I can’t, that would be unfair of me to pin it down. The only thing I can remember is she’s a single, young woman out there, she’s having problems with Matt Friedman, she’s having problems with IBTCI, she doesn’t know where she’s going to go next, and she’s stuck in the Aerostar Hotel in the middle of Moscow.

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