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Monday, June 20, 2005

Downing Street Memos: fake, but accurate?

Many of you have no doubt heard by now that the Downing Street Memos are not original, but were retyped (in September 2004!) from the originals by a British reporter named Michael Smith (also see Captain's Quarters Blog). No one in an official capacity has yet authenticated them, but then again no one has denied they are accurate and truthful copies either.

The latest development is the revelation one 'Michael Smith' was an assistant producer to CBS's Mary Mapes, producer of the 60 Minutes II Rathergate forged memo scandal which resulted in the end of Rathers' career and ultimately the termination of 60 Minutes II earlier this year.

The CBS report into the Rathergate fiasco revealed an interesting email at the time from Michael Smith to Mary Mapes, wherein he asked the rhetorical question: "“What if there was a person who might have some information that could possibly change the momentum of an election….?". More details here.

The next step will be for some keen blogger to confirm the two Michael Smiths are the same person - or not. After all, there are likely many reporters named Michael Smith.

Update: Original retyped memos at Raw Story. Here's Michael Smith's account of retyping and destroying the originals:
“I first photocopied them to ensure they were on our paper and returned the originals, which were on government paper and therefore government property, to the source,” he added.

“It was these photocopies that I worked on, destroying them shortly before we went to press on Sept 17, 2004,” he added. “Before we destroyed them the legal desk secretary typed the text up on an old fashioned typewriter.”

The copying and re-typing were necessary because markings on the originals might have identified his source, Smith said.

“The situation in Britain is very difficult but with regard to leaked documents the police Special Branch are obliged to investigate such leaks and would have come to the newspaper's office and or my home to confiscate them,” he explained. “We did destroy them because the Police Special Branch were ordered to investigate.”
Couldn't he have taken a photo or scan and removed the identifying details? I think so.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 6/20/2005 04:44:00 PM

7 Comments:

Blogger Kimble said...

He destroyed them so the Special Branch couldnt see them? Well, he should be completely fucked then. If they are real, he was a accessory after the fact by destroying evidence. If he denies in court that he did this or if they turn out to be fake, his credibility in journalism is destroyed (rather unfairly given the apparent standards).

6/20/2005 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

The fact that they confirm virtually everything we know anecdotally anyway makes me suspect this one will have the legs of the Powerline Schiavo memo. I'd certainly be holding my fire for a while yet. Come to think of it i've yet to hear a retraction on that one from Powerline itself.

6/20/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger reid said...

The case for BUSH LIES is not made by the DSM itself. It's just another piece in the long list of material that adds up to a fairly inescable conclusion.

I could give you a long list of links but why bother - I suspect most readers wouldn't change their minds.

6/20/2005 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kimble said...

You havent been looking close enough then, NAckers. They said the memo was suspicious, and gave valid reasons for their suspicions.

What got lost in the BS was that they also said the media was refering to them as coming from "Party Leaders". Which was untrue and gave completely the wrong impression about the memo.

Why should we, Reid? You never do.

Truth is, this guy burned his best piece of evidence.

What would you think if Rodney or Brash held up a piece of paper on the steps of Partliament saying it was proof that Helen has siphoned off $1Billion of tax payers money to a Swiss bank account? Oh, but they evidence they have is what they copied from an actual memo that they subsequently burned to protect the person who leaked it to them. Oh, and not photocopied. No, they typed it out a copy. Something that would take a lot more effort than three other methods we can describe. They didnt type out everything, they of course had to leave out the info relating to the person who leaked it. But we have their word that no important stuff was omitted and even that the original existed at all.

Suss. Even if the memo is real, the dude has acted fucking wierd.

6/20/2005 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Theprophet said...

Lucky its winter cause the soup is getting thicker.

Allah protect us.

6/21/2005 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

Last night on the Late Show with David Letterman:
Dave: "Have you heard of this Downing Street memo?"
Bill Clinton: "What's this?"

Me (lying in bed with my eyes half shut): "Yeah, right."

6/21/2005 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Kimble said...

Roger, he was refering to Downing Street, not the memo.

6/21/2005 11:07:00 AM  

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