Howard Kurtz, Michael Dobbs and James V. Grimaldi have an interesting article on the forged Killian memos. However, they let the White House communications director get away with an obvious lie. Bartlett claims two things. First that he honestly didn't know whether the memos were authentic and second
Bartlett said he caught the president leaving for a campaign trip that morning and showed him the memos. Bush had "no recollection of having seen them," Bartlett said, and would not necessarily have seen papers from a commander's personal file. "
One of the memos was apparently a direct order from Killian to Bush to take a flight physical. Bush did not take the flight physical. Bartlett would have us believe that, as far as he could know, Bush might have forgotten about a direct written order which he disobeyed. Bartlett's claim that Bush would not necessarily have seen a written order addressed to Bush is utterly absurd.
I wrote apparently above, because, in fact, it was a forged document which might or might not be an approximate copy of an authentic but lost direct order.
Bartlett is clearly lying. Kurtz must know this and has chosen not to mention it to his readers. The most likely explanation is that Bartlett invented the claim that Bush did not recall the memos, after they were shown to be forgeries, that is, after Marian Carr Knox said that she hadn't typed them.
A more interesting possible explanation is that the White House deliberately tricked CBS into going with the memos, so Bartlett's lie is his claim that he didn't know the memos were forgeries. The most interesting possible explanation is that the White House knew that the memos were forgeries because they had forged them. I think this theory is now barely within the borders of tinfoil hat land, but still within them.
The Washington Post article tends to support the Rove forged em theory.
"Half an hour later, Roberts called "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes with word that Bartlett was not challenging the authenticity of the documents. Mapes told her bosses, who were so relieved that they cut from Rather's story an interview with a handwriting expert who had examined the memos.
At that point, said "60 Minutes" executive Josh Howard, "we completely abandoned the process of authenticating the documents. Obviously, looking back on it, that was a mistake. We stopped questioning ourselves. I suppose you could say we let our guard down." "
That couldn't have been Bartlett's aim could it ?
"Mary Mapes had been trying to get her hands on the rumored documents for five years. "
Many people will know about a 5 year long effort. Some will be willing to forge documents. Suddenly finding something after looking very hard, should have made Mapes suspicious.
"Howard was struck by the fact that Bartlett, in his interview, kept referring to the Killian memos to support his argument that the president had fulfilled his military obligations.
"This gave us such a sense of security at that moment that we had the story," Howard said. "We gave the documents to the White House to say, 'Wave us off this if we're wrong.' " But Bartlett said CBS never asked him to verify the memos and that he had neither the time nor the resources to do so. "
Well CBS people are certainly trying to blame Bartlett for leading them astray. Bartlett's counterargument is feeble. Wouldn't he have, at least mentioned, that Bush had no recollection of the documents ?
4 hours after the broadcast, a Rpublican activist lawyer posted an argument about fonts and spacing to www.freerepublic.com. This sounds very much as if the Bush administration were attacking the authenticity of the memos via a surrogate.
You have to be paranoid to think it was all a trap, but not very very paranoid.