Dan Rather's Unimpeachable Source

Even if Rather admitted that he put the BS in CBS, it's too late to save his reputation with millions. Besides, once he admits that the documents are fake, he has to reveal his source, because there is no journalistic obligation to protect con artists who humiliate you. And my guess is that the source is even more embarrassing than the fraud.

I can't prove that. But who says I have to?

-- Jonah Goldberg

But it already has been proven, Mr. Goldberg.

It has been my contention since Sunday that the identity of at least one of Dan Rather's primary sources -- and perhaps the very source who provided him with the forgeries -- is being concealed not at the source's insistence, but at Rather's contrivance.

This source's identity is withheld not to protect the source, but to protect Rather-- because exposure of this source to scrutiny would prove embarassing to Rather and CBS News. The source in question has a strong political animus against George Bush -- he is a member of what might be charitably called "the florid left" -- and a personal animus against Bush as well. The source in question blames Bush personally for (as Governor) denying him medical treatment he needed due to illness resulting in subsequent nervous breakdowns (the latter according to Newsweek).

This man is Bill Burkett. Although he has an obvious motive to lie about Bush, Burkett was nevertheless used as a principal source for Dan Rather's now-infamous 60 Minutes II attack on George Bush's TANG service, and, indeed, is one of the sources called "unimpeachable" by Rather in defense of that report.

The New York Times has asked his lawyer whether Burkett was responsible for providing Dan Rather with the forgeries, a question the lawyer refused to answer. But it is not necessary to assume he had anything at all to do with the actual forgeries to question Rather's objectivity and ethics in using Mr. Burkett as a source at all -- and an anonymous one at that.

Because even if Burkett only provided background information and confirmations for other parts of the story, his credibility is extremely questionable -- and certainly not "unimpeachable" credibility in any event.

The following relies upon the work of two other bloggers. Part I draws heavily on Kevin Drum/Calpundit's preliminary research into Burkett. Part II draws heavily from "Who Is Bill Burnett?" by blogger Fried Man. (Note that many of the articles Fried Man cites are no longer available on line.) Part III draws from both Calpundit's preliminary research and his interview with Bill Burkett. Sources found in those posts are linked directly in the article for reader convenience, not to claim independent discovery.

I.

Burkett sued superior officers for refusing to grant him the active-duty status he needed in order to secure medical treatment for an illness contracted in Panama. He sued the officers as individuals, charging that they had "acted purely as individuals, not as military officers, albeit pretending to have military authority and abusing their offices through such pretense in order to willfully and maliciously wreak havoc upon [Burkett's] life."

He ultimately received treatment from the military, but by that time "the disease had ravaged his body, and left him disabled and unable to return to either military duty or gainful civilian employment."

The suit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Whether he actually had good cause to complain is not relevant to this discussion; wronged or not, he blamed his superior officers for "wreak[ing] havoc upon [his] life." Furthermore, he blamed then-Governor Bush specifically; he believed that the denial of health care was a retaliation for Burkett's previous whistle-blowing in the Guard.

II.

But Burkett's animus against Bush is not only personal. He also loathes Bush's politics. Burkett is a left-liberal of a fairly intemperate sort. He's far more extreme in his political views and passions than the average Republican voter -- or the average conservative blogger, for that matter.

"Who Is Bill Burnett?" by blogger Fried Man documents some of Burkett's political writings (unfortunately, many of his links are no longer working; uncited quotes come from his article).

First of all, Burkett is a partisan Democrat, as should be obvious from his membership in a Texas Democrats yahoo group.

And Burkett is not what you'd term a moderate Democrat, either:

That's right, [the Texas redistricting is] the same concept that was tried in South Africa within the past 30 years. It's also the root of the Tulsa massacres in which "black districts" were eventually attacked by the Oklahoma National Guard and the police.

Don't even get him started on Iraq:

I've sat in total grief for the past three years, watching the institutions of America being spent as if they were lottery winnings.

...

As I said, a UN vote would not stop GW Bush from attacking Iraq. Nor will anything else. And weapons of mass destruction will be discovered in great quantities; but the entire affair will stink to high heavens because it will be as staged as the White House press conference you just viewed.

... We will have insured that America's dynasty is nearing an end.

While GW Bush will be cast as a conquering hero by his political team and accepted by the population as such, history will treat him as Napoleonic. Bush will reach a new lofty level of acceptance by first fear and then staged triumph. Those who waited too long to gain their voice will lose their voice again.

America will over pledge economically in order to establish this new footprint; but the economic worth will not go to offset our fiscal investment, or to the Iraqi people. Iraq will be stripped by the vanquishers; the major corporations, who will then control not only the assets, but the cash flow. Their names will be Mobil, Exxon, Halliburton and the likes.

...

What do you do? Watching the sunrise on a beautiful morning, I used to feel hope. Before my illness, I felt exhilaration at the prospects of the day. After my illness, I felt hope that I might work hard to live. Now I feel sickness that today another massive group of people, held worthless by this anointed king, will be trampled upon like grapes. But their blood will not be rendered into wine. It will be spilled into the sands of this desert or another, or on the streets of Washington, or in the halls of the US Congress, or in the courts.

...

We must now revert to the history of Europe to discern what to do. We must study the nemesis of France and how Napoleon was felled before understanding the damage a tyrant does to a nation and society. We must examine the ruthless and dictatorial rise of yet another of the three small men - one whose name is not spoken out of fear of reprisal, but his name was Adolf. We must examine history, in order to not repeat it, and to understand the mesmerism of a public to a murderous scheme. Three small men who wanted to conquer . . . and vanquish. Each created a need for a balancing throng; history then recorded the damage from a far better perspective.

And there's more. Because apparently this lieutenant colonel in the National Guard was involved in high-level foreign policy debates with current Bush Administration officials as far back as 1996:

I have argued with the senior members of the Bush team since 1996, insisting that preventive war was not an option for the United States. The Preventive War concept is a WARHAWK product which, in my opinion, is totally foreign to the principles the Founding Fathers established for the USA.

I don't like being snide, but if there's one thing I've learned on the internet, it's Watch out for people who use CAPITALIZED BUZZWORDS for EMPHASIS.

In Demand Integrity, Burkett instructs us thusly:

America recently reached a point of understanding within her World of denial. ...

The Israeli intelligence network Mossad dispatched two agents to Washington to hand over evidence of the threat of 9-11, and even gave a timeline within the week of 9-11. Instead of saying, "We Blew it, America, and it won't happen again," we have again chosen denial and excuse.

...

Only one Democrat chose to step forward and openly place blame, which was deserved, squarely on the shoulders of high-paid professionals who were armed with every advantage other nations would die for. She was castigated and called every named. She is now ostracized from her own party as well as the party of the President. Where were her defenders? More important, where were the defenders of the Constitution and this nation?

He's talking about Cynthia McKinney there, in case you weren't sure.

This isn't liberalism; this is left-liberalism of the paranoid style, the overheated Hitlerian rhetoric of the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party. It has to be pointed out again that Dan Rather dismisses nearly all conservative critics as inherently untrustworthy simply because of their political beliefs, and yet he apparently finds no fault at all in Burkett's screeds.

If Dan Rather finds critics like PowerLine and Charles Johnson presumptively dishonorable and dishonest because they dare to vote Republican, shouldn't he be a little more wary of a declared Cynthia McKinney fan?

III.

It is against this background of extreme loathing of George Bush that Burkett's claims must be evaluated. Having a motive to lie does not make one a liar, and being strongly opposed to a political figure does not necessarily make one's claims untrue-- although Dan Rather ought to consider that himself the next time he's inclined to dismiss his critics as "political partisans."

Nevertheless, strong reasons to lie also do not buttress one's credibility.

Burkett claims to have personally witnessed other military personnel "scrubbing" or "cleansing" Bush's Texas Air National Guards records of embarassing files. Actually, Burkett seems to have been one of the first to make the Bush AWOL charges-- if he wasn't the innovator, he does seem to have at least been there at the creation.

But his accounts have not been consistent.

In November 2000, he was quoted by OnlineJournal as saying:

“As the State Plans Officer for the Texas National Guard, I was on full-time duty at Camp Mabry when [Bush aide] Dan Bartlett was cleansing the George W Bush file prior to G.W.'s presidential announcement. For most soldiers at Camp Mabry, this was a generally known event. The archives were closely scrutinized to make sure that the Bush autobiography plans and the record did not directly contradict each other. In essence it was the script of the autobiography which Dan Bartlett and his small team used to scrub a file to be released. This effort was further involved by General Daniel James and Chief of Staff William W. Goodwin at Camp Mabry.”

He then stepped back from the "cleansing" charge in press release. Asking himself (it seems) if he had been alleging that Bush's records had been "doctored," Burkett answered:

No, instead I stated that the way this had been handled by the Bush staff including knowledgeable military officials at the Texas national guard, that it left the implication that the Bush staff had first incompetently provided an incomplete military file for the Governor which was consistent with his autobiography....

His story then changed again. In an interview with Greg Palast, he now claimed that the files had not been handled incompetently, but rather criminally, and that he heard Bush Chief of Staff Joe Allbaugh say, over a speakerphone, to General Daniel James, "Make sure there’s not anything in there that’ll embarrass the Governor."

He then claimed to have actually seen discarded files -- files being criminally removed from the records, all within the plain sight of a non-paticipant in the crime -- in a trashcan.

But in his interview with Calpundit, he adds a new wrinkle-- that he had actually physically touched the "cleansed" files:

Instead I looked down into the trashcan.... And on top of that pile of paper, approximately five-eighths of an inch thick, and Jim wanted me to estimate the number of pages and I said probably between 20 and 40 pages of documents that were clearly originals and photocopies. And it wasn't any big deal, I looked at it, it was a glance situation, and it made no sense to me at all except at the top of that top page was Bush, George W., 1LT.

And I look back at it now and I know I was troubled that those documents were in the trashcan. I did ruffle through the top six to eight pages.

He described those documents as

Those documents were performance, what I term performance documents, which would include retirement points, [unintelligible] type documents, which would be a record of drill performance or nonperformance, and there was at least one pay document copy within the top six to eight pages of that stack that was in the trash…

It seems fairly unlikely that Republican political operatives committing a federal crime could be so indiscreet as to announce their intent within earshot of a noncooperating witness.

And it seems just plain outlandish that persons committing such a crime would invite a noncriminal in to watch them as they work and then ask that noncriminal to count the number of pages they were illegally removing from the files.

The story is further undermined by the fact that two of the fellow Guardsmen supposedly involved in the records-scrubbing flatly deny that any such thing happened.

Despite Calpundit's claim, there is no one who corroborates Burkett's story.

One man does report that Burkett told him this story (or something similar) shortly after it was supposed to have happened, but that only proves that Burkett has been telling the story for a while.

Calpundit's other "witnesses" in Burkett's favor are men making general statements; one man says he believes there was some "scrubbing" of Bush's files and an anonymous source says he believed the Bush people were worried what might be in the files as regards arrests and the like. Neither man actually claims to have witnessed the events in question, or any scrubbing at all for that matter.

IV.

This is the man upon whom so much of Dan Rather's story relies.

Bill Burkett, according to Newsweek, was a principal source for Dan Rather's story.

Bill Burkett, by implication, is an "unimpeachable" source, according to Dan Rather.

I don't know Bill Burkett and I don't know for certain if he is lying. I believe his story is fairly implausible, and his obvious hatred of Bush the man and Bush the President makes me even less willing to give his tales any credence. He has no witnesses to the crimes he claims he overheard, witnessed, and, ultimately, inadvertantly cooperated in by agreeing to count files for records-scrubbing political operatives.

And yet this is the man upon CBS News has decided to risk its reputation.

Bill Burkett has previously been all-too-willing to speak to the press. He's done so on numerous occasions, and he's written political columns for the internet under his own name.

Why is he suddenly so camera-shy that CBS News must protect his identity and treat him as an anonymous source?

Is this Bill Burkett's idea?

Or has this been Dan Rather's decision all along? Should Burkett's prior history and extreme political partisanship be revealed to the press, the story would be immediately condemned as irresponsible and baseless; but, as stealth techonology teaches, you can't hit what you can't see. Perhaps better to hide away this source, lest he whither in the light.

There is one final point to be made. I don't know who provided Dan Rather with his shoddy forgeries. It could have been anyone.

But if, hypothetically, Bill Burkett did provide those documents to Rather -- something, again, that Burkett's lawyer repeatedly refused to deny, but for which there is no genuine evidence -- then this would be a grave indictment of Dan Rather's integrity.

For here we would have a man who, for four years, has been making these very same allegations against George Bush, only to be dismissed by the press as lacking credibility. And yet we would have to believe two things:

1) That all along -- all the time since Burkett first "ruffled through" Bush's files in 1997 -- he actually had copies of those files all along, but has never once mentioned them before now; and

2) That Dan Rather actually believed Burkett's ludicrous claim, and was untroubled by Burkett's surprise announcement that he'd been secretly hanging on to the files for seven years.

If Bill Burkett is the source of the documents, it should have been plain to any reporter that they were forgeries; a man trying to prove an allegation doesn't wait five years to reveal he's had the proof all along.

You wouldn't need technical typographical analysis to determine that they're forgeries; you would just need a dollop of common sense.

But if Burkett was the source, and yet Dan Rather went along with this transparent hoax anyway, then he is guilty of something much worse than negligence.

Either way, it seems that Rather had good reason to want to hide his Unimpeachable Source away from the world, and away from prying eyes, and away from nosey questions.

And away farthest of all from all those conservative critics who just can't be trusted because they -- they! -- have a political agenda at work that makes them inherently untrustworthy.

Humor Break: If anyone wants a few Friday laughs, make sure you check out the main page of the site. I'm posting a Best of Ace of Spades HQ today -- lots of funny stuff.

Posted by: Ace at 02:42 AM



Comments

1 If David Duke were the source of obviously forged files concerning a Democrat, this whole situation...wait, it would never have made the news in the first place. The only mention would be of this fool, Duke, trying to push obvious forgeries off as authentic.

But a Mossad/9-11 McKinney fan is "unimpeachable".

Posted by: addison at September 15, 2004 06:42 AM (wiRK6)

2 In the Calpundit interview Burkett says:
"Chief Harvey Gough, who had helped Colonel Goodwin get his job as Chief of Staff, and had helped Bartlett and all of these other people, was trying to run interference"

Take another look at the Killian memos and the phrase "run interference"

Posted by: Anon at September 15, 2004 06:45 AM (Q4fv8)

3 YES!

Posted by: BR at September 15, 2004 06:52 AM (/TcE8)

4 I'm not entirely convinced by this, against the backdrop of recent goings on. The point that trips me up most is this:

Should Burkett's prior history and extreme political partisanship be revealed to the press, the story would be immediately condemned as irresponsible and baseless

My trouble here is that as things stand, the story is already being touted as baseless and irresponsible. I don't see that the ignominy of Rather admitting this guy to be the source makes things measurably worse than they already are - and are growing to be each and every day that a retraction is delayed.

Really, my suspicion over this whole matter is piqued by how CBS, the organization, has allowed this all to go on as long as it has - with no reversal of course and with increasingly implausible appeals to "just believe us."

I would expect that Rather might opt to personally go down swinging over this one, perhaps in embarrassment over a particularly loony source. But right now, the entire news organization seems to be marching alongside him towards utter destruction. It's insanity to my eyes.

I could see the CBS News organization ousting Rather and offering up Burkett as his source in order to save their own hides. I personally think that they're protecting someone else, someone more devastating as a source, in view of how eagerly they're destroying themselves to keep the secret.


Posted by: MrO at September 15, 2004 06:53 AM (jjc/l)

5 The source is the Kerry campaign, or at least the Kerry campaign must have known about it and gave it the go ahead. How else can you explain all the co-ordinated hits the very next day by all the Kerry spokespeople.

Posted by: Igor at September 15, 2004 07:06 AM (HJDrr)

6 Jane Galt excerpts this whopper from Burkett's lawyer, quoted in the NY Times:

Asked what role Mr. Burkett had in raising questions about Mr. Bush's military service, Mr. Van Os said: "If, hypothetically, Bill Burkett or anyone else, any other individual, had prepared or had typed on a word processor as some of the journalists are presuming, without much evidence, if someone in the year 2004 had prepared on a word processor replicas of documents that they believed had existed in 1972 or 1973 - which Bill Burkett has absolutely not done'' - then, he continued, "what difference would it make?"

What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer!

Posted by: Brian at September 15, 2004 07:22 AM (PCw7m)

7 That title Demand Integrity arouses my suspicions. Has anyone investigated the possible involvement of Mr. Paul Anka?

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at September 15, 2004 08:00 AM (kuGVj)

8 The other night (maybe two nights ago. the video was on the cbs website and on the air) Dan Rather said something to the effect that the Military is upset with bush’s national guard service. then they went to General McPeak and he said something about bush’s physical and how many physicals
the general had taken. (you can get the transcripts)

My problem with this….

McPeak is currently on a kerry commercial saying “four years ago I voted for bush, this year I’m voting for kerry”
and
this morning on IMUS, on MSNBC, imus asked kerry who would be in his cabinet and kerry said he could not say but he had
lots of advisors….HE SPECIFICALLY SAID “GEN MCPEAK WAS ADVISING HIM”

My questions is…..HOW DID A PERSON THAT IS IN A KERRY COMMERCIAL AND A (ADMITTED BY KERRY) KERRY ADVISOR

WIND UP ON A CBS STORY ABOUT BUSH’S NATIONAL GUARD RECORDS AND THE “EXPERT” SO TO SPEAK, OR AS THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE MILITARY FOR THE CBS STORY.

OUT OF ALL THE GENERALS AND MILITARY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, DAN RATHER/RATHERS PRODUCERS CHOSE THIS PARTICULAR ONE BY ACCIDENT?

OR DID THE DNC/KERRY PROVIDE MCPEAK FOR THIS SOUND BITE???? I’M SURE THEY DIDN’T JUST PICK THIS GUY OUT OF THE BLUE

KIND OF FISHY…..

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Posted by: toni at September 15, 2004 09:04 AM (Xbahb)

9 The Preventive War concept is a WARHAWK product which, in my opinion, is totally foreign to the principles the Founding Fathers established for the USA.

I'm a fan of, and student of, the Founding Fathers. I'm a staunch Federalist. And I must admit, this statement on its own is quite true. However, the FF's never visualized 1) being the most powerful nation on the planet or 2) having 3000 of its citizens murdered on one day.

Remember, many of the Framers owned slaves (although most of them felt guilty about it), so some of their beliefs need to be updated a bit.

Posted by: The Unabrewer at September 15, 2004 09:08 AM (5anNT)

10 Interesting theory, but would Dan Rather having to admit Ben Burkett, a lone moonbat, as the source be that damaging? Wouldn't it be more damaging if it was someone at MoveOn.org, the DNC, or Kerry Campaign? At this point we have a circumstantial case against this guy, or anyone else for that matter.

The documents can't be argued with they are obvious fakes to any honest person who sits down with the evidence and looks at them for an hour.

Like you said, stay on target... First topple Rather then smoke out these other rats.

I've been wondering what this story looks like to people outside the blog bubble and Fox News. I have to say the public writ large doesn't seem to get what has happened yet, at least the people I talk to. I think that will change with Dan Rather's resignation or firing.

Of course the poll numbers seem to say many people have heard something.

Posted by: James at September 15, 2004 09:55 AM (rP4OC)

11 Well, now everything is cleared up.

The ephemeral Bush documents were last seen by Bill Burkett in a trash can in 1999. He did not take them, otherwise, as Ace explains, he would have been in possession of them all this time. We also know that Marian Carr Knox told The Dallas Morning News that the documents are fake, but that they reflect real documents that once existed.

Of course the documents that CBS has now are not real, the real ones died in a trash can in 1999. And where would you go to locate the spirits of dead documents? The missing piece of the puzzle is shown here:

...After a regal procession down the stairs (lasting approximately three-quarters of an hour) Keesh sat at the console in the Supernatural Room. The centrepiece of the Supernatural Room was the Ouija Word Processor...

Aha! The documents were retrieved by CBS using OuijaWord. That's why they look so much like Word documents.

Now, think about how difficult it would have been to prove that they were fakes if CBS had had access to an IBM Ouija Selectric...

Posted by: Rich Baldwin at September 15, 2004 09:58 AM (ySi/Y)

12 Minutiae; thanks Ace, for another fine old word I never see anymore. Florid.
Your thesaurus slices ilke a fucking hammer.

Posted by: lauraw at September 15, 2004 10:06 AM (GPx0e)

13 I was just listening to ABC news on WMAL (a Washington DC station) and they reported that one of the two women who CBS cited as "authenticating the documents" has said that she was told that CBS got the memos via an anonymous letter in the mail. The name of the reporter who reported this was Brian Ross.

I can't find a webpage yet, though. This was reported less than an hour ago. I'll keep my eye on ABC news (unless this has been reported elsewhere, but this is the first I heard of this...)

Posted by: Tom at September 15, 2004 10:10 AM (3E+YO)

14 Good summary, Ace. I still believe Burkett did not create them. He would have known how to abbreviate Lieutenant Colonel for chrissakes. He probably provided some specimen language like "run interference," which as someone pointed out above was a favorite phrase of his.

I'm betting the forger was someone like Marty Heldt, who probably thought he knew more than he actually did about the military (Heldt never served, BTW). Burkett was probably just the one-eyed bagman with the "secret" documents. N.B. Burkett and Heldt have both written for TomPaine.com, which is run by Bill Moyers's son. We are never more than one or two degrees of separation from Rather with either one of them.

I think Burkett's attorney's outrageous statement is awful close to an indictment, however. "What difference would it make?" Can you say spend time in Fort Leavenworth? What kind of a bozo hires an attorney as bad as Van Os?

Posted by: Fresh Air at September 15, 2004 10:17 AM (a/LD8)

15 I still check back here about once a day to see if anything is being posted besides CBS stories. Sadly, no change yet. The forged status of those documents was satisfactorily proven for me within 24 hours of the story breaking. Really getting into "dead horse" territory here.

Posted by: Jazz at September 15, 2004 10:19 AM (L/wan)

16 Tom--

The anonymous-letter-in-the-mail thing would never fly with CBS legal, even if Rather pushed it. That sounds like a simple story they were passing out to the researchers to keep them off the scent.

Posted by: Fresh Air at September 15, 2004 10:20 AM (a/LD8)

17 Oh, google McPeak and see just how loved he is at Air Force.

Posted by: BigFire at September 15, 2004 10:44 AM (S6QRd)

18 I think the old lady had something to do with it.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 15, 2004 10:52 AM (Dm9T1)

19 1) That all along -- all the time since Burkett first "ruffled through" Bush's files in 1999

I think you meant to say 1997. He was retired in 1998.

Posted by: Kevin at September 15, 2004 11:11 AM (nJUZd)

20 In less than an hour, CBS News will release a statement. My prediction:
1. They will fire a producer.
2. They will deeply regret using the documents.
3. They will stand by the story (i.e. "Questions remain ... The White has not ... ").
4. They will protect their source.

However, the biggest political story since Hanging Chads is: someone tried to use forgeries to influence an American Presidential election. The person or persons are either inside CBS News, outside CBS News, or both.

CBS News is sitting on a huge story: they have he ultimate scoop. Will they run with the story? No. Will they do anything to tell the truth? No. Will the MSM try to run with it? No.

"Move along people ... Nothing to see here."

Posted by: kevin at September 15, 2004 11:32 AM (tEcw1)

21 Kevin--

I've still got 20 minutes to make my prediction. Here it is: They will vigorously defend their position and claim "experts differ" or somesuch. They will put out something in high-minded tones about protecting the identitity of their sources, etc.

Once they admit they've been had, they have to out their source. Once the source is out and the Kerry connection is made their candidate is finished. That is the crux of the thing.

Posted by: Fresh Air at September 15, 2004 11:40 AM (a/LD8)

22 I think we can guess, if Rather deigns to personally address the issue, that we can expect the word 'hornswaggled' to be used, in a folksy attempt to deflect blame for a clearly partisan fraud perpetrated by 'Tex' Rather.

Posted by: Chris at September 15, 2004 11:55 AM (ExiUw)

23 Good work, Ace, nice job of digging and searching. You have potential as an investigative journalist. I could even see you landing a job with, say, 60 minutes or something some day.

Posted by: Brian B at September 15, 2004 12:10 PM (OnnW3)

24 slicin' like a fuckin hammer, ace.

Posted by: hobgoblin at September 15, 2004 12:24 PM (2da3S)

25 Robert Strong is the source. He was never in the National Guard. He is a delusional crackpot who fooled Dan Rather, and now Rather doesn't want to take his lumps for being completely bamboozled by a mental patient.

Posted by: Didn't Hear It From Me at September 15, 2004 12:25 PM (9WeG5)

26 Outstanding summation Ace. But I agree with Fresh Air and others that Burkett is very unlikely to be the actual forger. The only real question is whether Rather/CBS is protecting their own reputation because of Burkett involvement, or whether they are also protecting Moveon.org, Heldt, or possibly Kerry campaign. Kerry's best case scenario limits the forgery plot to Burkett and possibly Heldt.

If its CBS' reputation needing protection then their best move would have been to come clean and take their lumps. Rather, on the other hand has an incentive to take the ship down with him. But its still difficult to believe that Burkett, even if he only transmitted memos to CBS, would not have raised objections to their format, etc. But moonbattery can do funny things.

Posted by: Lloyd at September 15, 2004 01:04 PM (LUTKx)

27 Now it is only "circumstantial" but look at the Bush National Guard charges and where
they originated.

These charges first emerged during the Mama Ann Richards vs. George Bush Gubernatorial campaign in Texas several years. Paul Begalla has been active in Democratic circles and is from Texas I believe. Terry McAuliffe set the stage for
the Bush National Guard charges on a national stage by saying "Bush was AWOL".
Who joins the Kerry Campaign as an "unpaid adviser". It is Mr. Paul Begalla.

Now again , this is only a theory, but when you look at the history of Clinton operatives,
Begalla's ties to Texas politics, his hate for George Bush, it should surprise no one that
it is very possible the "forged memos" were in his bag of dirty tricks when he joined the Kerry Campaign. Oh, and Begalla is still at CNN. To me this is where Dan & CBS got there documents to fulfill their journalistic dream - to take down another sitting President.
And perhaps we should also look at CNN for letting "unpaid advisers" to sit on their airwaves as employees too.)

Let me know what you think!

John Fox
Carrollton, TX
FoxJohnSix@aol.com

Posted by: John at September 15, 2004 01:35 PM (MDjdy)

28 Jazz - I disagree that since everyone believes they are forgeries, it's now "dead horse territory", and time to move on. Because the WHODUNIT door is open and it promises to be fascinating in what the public will see of the liberal media - Democrat Party nexus.

This was all part of a coordinated media blitz campaign. 60 minutes, "Fortunate Son" campaign at the DNC, the Moveon, Texas Vets For the Truth, Boston Globe, Kerry speeches about "never serving".

Those forgeries involved more than one person. You had to have sources - Burkett was only one. You had to have someone who knew some personal traits of the parties involved in the TANG before you compiled the forgeries. A researcher or two to assemble some dates and facts. You had to have someone with the not common skill - who can make a plausible handwriting forgery. You had to have those documents shopped to the Democrats and the media and then kept under control until the full Democrat-Media attack on TANG was scripted, in the can, and ready to launch.

So Jazz, the fun is just starting and may be a hinge in history. First, the public will see the whole liberal media bias laid open. Second, the WHODUNIT trail, if it goes to the Democrats or their surrogates as the perps of the fraud, may well end Kerry's chances (making it the biggest story of the 2004 campaign). Third, it appears that mass media will be forever changed by the Internet - since news and analysis is now open to the contributions of millions of people with insight and expertise that collectively, far exceeds the talents of the few thousand people driving the present mass media. Who can fact-check and make a public case to millions of other people that this story or that story is bogus - forcing self-correction on the MSM news/opinion dissemination process.

Ace, and others in the Blogosphere, recognize this is a huge event, Jazz. Little Green Footballs, for example, has over 100 new hits per second yesterday, and LGF coverage in circulation audiences - that over half the American population is exposed to. They hit the big time. This story is sending millions and millions of new people into the Blogosphere to see what is going on, and a majority of them will be finding "homes" at this or that Blog they like, and will be contributing to this latest info and news revolution. And, certain Blogmasters like ACE may see the personal fruits - more money, more influence. Hollywood is already knocking and asking for story rights contracts with some of the key bloggers that blew the CBS fraud wide open.

Posted by: cedarford at September 15, 2004 02:27 PM (PcgQk)

29 I have doubts about Burkett. If Dan Rather considers the source unimpeachable, then I don't think that would describe Burkett unless Rather is playing up his source as a way of gaining trust on the story.

If you believe that Rather did consider his source rock solid, then I think we are getting into DNC territory.

By now we have learned that Rather and CBS knew the documents were questionable, possibly they knew they were forged. Since they did investigate the documents it would suggest that the source may not be so unimpeachable.

However, if Joe Schmoe on the street hands Rather a document and says its real, and he finds out it's not, whats the chances he will air it? On the other hand if the source is a close friend, and he swears by it, he is more likely to run it despite knowing it has questions. Remember, the previous experts questioned the document, but did not absolutely outright say they were false.

I don't think Rather would consider MoveOn to be close enough to trust with a questionable document, but he probably would trust the DNC.

cedarford, agree with your post. It's unfortunate that the rest of the media are dragging their heels because this is a big story, I just hope it doesn't have a crappy ending with Rather being duped by a wacko with an axe to grind.

Posted by: DelphiGuy at September 15, 2004 03:23 PM (c0oME)

30 ACE -

There ay be another piece of evidence that points to Burkett, if he was a member of the Army or Army National Guard.

Some military types have pointed out that come of the terminology and acronyms in the memos are not commonly used in the Air National Guard -- but ARE common to Army National Guard memos.

Hope this is helpful.

--Dave

Posted by: TallDave at September 15, 2004 03:25 PM (8I2mr)

31 From your link:

"Bill Burkett, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard"

So it appears this *IS* another piece of evidence pointing to Burkett as the forger.

Posted by: TallDave at September 15, 2004 03:27 PM (8I2mr)

32 Sorry for the vagueness on the terminology issue; I remebered reading specific points on this but can't remember/find them now. If anyone in the Army or Air Force is reading this and can clarify, please pipe up.

In the meantime, I'll dig around and see if I can find them.

Hmmm, maybe I need to invent a searchable cache funtion for browsing so that in the future I can search anything I ever read online.

Posted by: TallDave at September 15, 2004 03:30 PM (8I2mr)

33 Found it.

http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2004/cyb20040913.asp

Sunday's NBC Nightly News devoted a full story to doubts about CBS's memos. Rosiland Jordan reported: "Today, one of the people CBS News called a source for its story, told NBC News in a telephone interview quote, 'I do not believe these four memos are authentic.'" Jordan also passed along how "Hodges said Killian wrote notes on longhand, never typed them. And he told NBC News the lingo used in the memos is more Navy or Army-speak than Air Force. Hodges also said he suspects this isn't just a news story. Quote: 'It's being done for political purposes. And that's my own opinion.'"

Posted by: TallDave at September 15, 2004 03:34 PM (8I2mr)

34 Cedarford; Right On!
This thing is obviously in the process of torpedoing the Kerry campaign and the DNC. The main question in my mind just now is; How high up the chain of command will the explosion reach?

Posted by: Thales at September 15, 2004 03:44 PM (exGc4)

35 No mention of Burkett's specific illness...
It was a severe brain infection; it was a meningoenchephalitis according to his own published account.

I believe the insult to the brain has ravaged his mental health as well as his body. Depending on the underlying cause of the infection, it may be a relapsing condition.

Also, he has said he was being retaliated against, among other things, for specifically personally refusing to destroy the records of GW Bush. Then he took it back, said he made it up, was exaggerating, according to calpundit.

Posted by: SarahW at September 15, 2004 03:59 PM (TPnZF)

36 These documents have not yet been PROVEN to be false. Even if they are, there is still plenty of evidence to support the allegations. If only the media had scrutinized the Swift Boat vets or the Bush administration like they have "60 Minutes." Liberal media? Please.

Posted by: Jorge at September 15, 2004 08:59 PM (rJZMp)

37 Drudge is reporting that the WaPo has evidence that these documents were faxed from a Kinko's in Abilene, TX. I did some quick research here. Guess whose closes Kinko's would be 27 miles away, in Abilene, TX? If he, you know, wanted a handy place to fax some things?

Posted by: Ryan Waldron at September 15, 2004 10:35 PM (zeUdE)

38 In light of the Kinko's revelation, this composite of Burkett info is priceless. Sweet work.

Posted by: ss at September 15, 2004 10:58 PM (En9Sb)

39 Ryan,

Yuhp, I credited you with that find in the more recent posting.

Posted by: ace at September 15, 2004 11:13 PM (RGQgo)

40 Sarah, I worked for ABCNews for 10 years. You cannot imagine the blatant biases I saw there not on a daily basis- on an hourly basis.
In the face of desperately obvious evidence, they would deny a truth that was staring them in the face.
NO view was ever considered, let alone broadcast, that did not toe the 'line'.
Here's a newsflash for you: You don't think they're biased because you AGREE with them... they present the outcome that YOU want to see.
Please don't believe me, go to your library and check out one of Bernard Goldberg's books. And if you can stand to, read 'Slander' by Ann Coulter. The truth is there, you cannot ignore it.

Posted by: IncPen at September 15, 2004 11:35 PM (db0vA)

41 One more thing Sarah... when evidence is presented which seems to drastically defy facts that someone has put into evidence, it is incumbent upon the presenter of the facts to defend the charges they are making.
In the scenario you wish to see played out, Bush would have to prove that the documents are NOT true. The dispute here seems to hinge on Rather's assertion that they ARE true.
Shouldn't the impetus be on Dan Rather to prove that they ARE true... I mean, aside from the fact that he calls the source unimpeachable (an odd choice of words from a nemesis of Richard Nixon, don't you think?)

Posted by: IncPen at September 15, 2004 11:39 PM (db0vA)

42 Found this on Whitepages.com

Burkett, Bill
PO Box 1085
Baird, TX 79504-1085
(325) 854-0147

Posted by: For Your Information at September 16, 2004 12:16 AM (MJ1JO)

43 My thought: Burkett is not the forger. The forger is at the DNC who received the idea for the contents of the memo from Burkett. The DNC forger sends the forged copy to Burkett for review and Burkett signs off on it then faxes it back to the DNC from Abeline. Someone at the DNC walks it to CBS. CBS sees the Texas fax number on it and assumes it comes from an uninpeachable source.

Posted by: albaez at September 16, 2004 12:28 AM (ELcqj)

44 Does anyone know anything about a "Smoking Jet Campaign"(www.democrats.com/display.cfm?id=132)?
After reading a lot of Allah in the House this week, I opted to search on Yahoo for Martin Heldt & Bill Burkett. This site came up as well as something dated 13August2004(it was dated exactly this way) at www.failureisimpossible.com/needtoknow/dubya.htm.
I'm new to this blogging effort and I asked Allah about it but haven't heard anything.

Posted by: CJO at September 16, 2004 12:30 AM (HeHfQ)

45 Being just down the road from Abilene I may wander up to Kinko's tomorrow and see what's going on.

Posted by: Wallace-Midland, Texas at September 16, 2004 12:51 AM (ljhTr)

46 Those Kinko faxes must be time dated. How about reviewing the video surveillance tapes at Kinkos (if they exist) on that date to identify who came into the store?

Posted by: Warthog at September 16, 2004 04:38 AM (R9sGE)

47 I've noted many references to Burkett being fond of the phrase "running interference", but does anyone know if Col. Killian frequently used the phrase? Or whether the phrase was popular at the time? This question seems right up William Safire's alley.

Of course, demonstrating that Col. Killian used the phrase means nothing as far as whether the documents are accurate representaions of what Col. Killian felt about Bush.

I admire and largely agree with your analysis, Ace. Please keep digging.

Posted by: Alex at September 16, 2004 06:08 AM (BVW7O)

48 I suspect we are all being a little too parochial in our thinking as to who is behind this...

I'd go examine the techniques George Soros used in Georgia to influence that election.

Posted by: DanNY at September 16, 2004 08:48 AM (wyA1D)

49 Realizing that this might be close to tin-foil hat thinking...

It seems that Bush has two Burketts mad at him - is by any chance a connection? I've got the details here

Posted by: steve at September 16, 2004 08:49 AM (A+QwG)

50 Wow! Who would have thought a bogus story aired as fact regarding the "Republican" candidate for president? This could be a great comedy except that in a liberal media it is nothing new. One has only to look at history to see how the liberal media has tryed to undermine elections time and time again with half truths and out right bogus stories that are passed off as facts. Their big mistake this time around was using Rather instead of one of the very many other "Democratic" reporters as is often the case. Then on the flip side if a story is available that would hurt the democratic efforts it is burried deep and never makes the news (unless all efforts to burry it have been used first)then it is played down as republican attacks on "THEIR" candidate. Hard to beleive? Look no futher than the past/or present election reporting to see the facts.

Posted by: Bud at September 16, 2004 09:33 AM (T/O0Z)

51 If Mr. Burkett would have forged his memos using the same 1972 Courier Font he used in his Yahoo message, he would have never been found out.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Texas-Democrats/message/2870

Posted by: fontmaster at September 16, 2004 01:25 PM (ZkQjJ)

52 Incpen, since I'm the only Sarah on the page, I think you were talking to me,,,,, only I think you meant to reply to commentor "jorge".

Mine is the post above jorges. I talk about Burketts encephalitis.

jorge's name isn't a hotlink, so that might be why his post looked like mine to you.

If you click my name, you can see what I think of the situtation.

Posted by: SarahW at September 16, 2004 02:04 PM (TPnZF)

53 The key point is: CBS's Rather {and 60 Minutes} presented an apparent criminal forgery, which they knew or should have known was absolutely false. The malicious act was likely meant to influence a U.S. Presidential Election. Then they lied about expert advice. The sources, the fonts, the sentiments in the TANG in the 1970's are largely irrelevant. This is massive fraud.

Posted by: russell s at September 16, 2004 02:57 PM (G0SBe)

54 Type "Dan Rather Military Record" into Google.

It appears that Dan Rather has been lying about his OWN Military record for years by telling people he was in the Marines when he never made it through boot camp.

Posted by: Faye Hamilton at September 16, 2004 06:16 PM (00c03)

55 Did any of you note that Burkett's lawyer, Van Os, is the democrat candidate for the Texas Supreme Court? Or that Van Os represented Burkett in his absurd litigation? Or that Van Os is supported by Fred Baron (multi multi multi millionaire trial lawyer), John Kerry's campaign fund raising chairman?

I ain't no Einstein but I can connect these dots.

Posted by: Thanatos at September 16, 2004 11:03 PM (AliIM)

56 It's been fun, but it is all going to go away, and Rather will come out smelling like a rose. People in high places will cut a deal

Posted by: jon kay at September 17, 2004 01:31 AM (od/9C)

57 I hate to be negative, but I fear that it's too early to assume that Rather or CBS is going down in flames on this one. It's great (and I'm grateful) that this issue has been brought out by the research and insights of the people on this page and other blogs. But what happens if CBS just keeps kinda dragging their feet, working to shift the focus, no clear smoking gun is found, and the majorty of the media starts treating it as "old news?" We'll all know, but didn't we pretty much know who these guys were before? It's not like Rater hasn't run completely bogus stories before and gotten away with it (The First Rathergate" http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/morse200409150552.asp)

I hope this event is a turning point, but don't uncork the champagne yet; there's still a lot of work to be done.

BTW: With the appearance that "all the stops" are being pulled out by the dems in this battle, ...is anyone else wondering what the DNC/major media is saving for their "October Surprise" this time around?

Posted by: Chuck at September 17, 2004 10:03 PM (+UVHx)

58 In reference to the federalist: While it is true that many of our founding fathers warned against foreign entanglements, we must not forget the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine was the first if small step towards America becoming the (only) Super Power. While some would like to think there is some wording in the Constitution about not projecting our power, it is in fact just not the case. In any case, the idea of a Pat Buchanan "fortress America" is just not realistic in the 21 century.

Posted by: RichB at September 17, 2004 11:08 PM (bgnjb)

59 Of course, lost in all of the forged document controversy is the fact that all of the principals who identified the documents as non-authentic, also said that their content was consistent with the situation which existed concerning Bush's TANG duty (or non-duty). So you neo-cons and Rushites should thank Dan Rather, because CBS's incompetency in not verifying the documents has allowed the lyin' right to completely obfuscate the basic truth of the message of the CBS story. Rush almost let it slip today; while laying out the sequence of events of this scandal, he was about to let it slip that the TANG official who said that the document did not appear to be authentic confirmed that the content did reflect the discussions which occurred back then re: Bush's military service.

Posted by: Mark at September 20, 2004 11:02 PM (0BiW0)

60 Dan Rather = "rather discredited Dan"

Posted by: at September 21, 2004 02:18 PM (qKhfl)

61 I hope this isn't past the line of whatever is considered proper etiquette here, but I don’t know any nice way to accurately say “...but that’s simply not true”

I'm afraid this is all too typical...
Actually, at least some of the "principles" (Such as Killian's widow & son to name a couple who might have had just a bit of insight) not only said the documents couldn't possibly be real, but that they did not reflect what Killian thought of Bush. I think the technically correct statement would be : ONE of the principals who identified the documents as non-authentic, also said that their content was consistent... ...She also said “I felt that his parents must have been wonderful to have produced somebody as nice as that.”

This is the technique:
1) Present as "unimpeachable" an impact statement such as a forged memo, or a statement that "all of the principals who identified the documents as non-authentic, also said that their content was consistent"
2) Freely believe and/or make any accusation you want since it is, of course, justified by the "unimpeachable" evidence you just presented.

Actually after reading about Burkett’s history, it seems that he’s been a major player in the false TANG accusations from the beginning. Keeping in mind that the sum total of the “real evidence.” indicates Bush fulfilled his key obligations for almost six years and was properly given an honorable discharge, it seems that the entire TANG AWOL issue is beginning to be revealed as the bogus attack that it is.

Posted by: at September 21, 2004 09:59 PM (VAXpO)

62 I might trigger some negative feelings but I have to share my terrible feeling with you that this whole thing is a fraud.

I can not believe that "military past" is the strongest argument against a president like Bush. The homeboy of the Oilcompanies has made clear for everybody that he:
- wants to implement a new regime based on secret agencies (why they are soo good when they have been dealing with arms and drugs since their existence?),
- is willing to kill anybody (american or arab) in order to secure oil for his "bosses"
- he has made an agreement with the old enemy (Russia) about leaving each other to do the dirty things - Putyin was KGB boss when older Bush was CIA boss, funny dont you think?
- etc...

I might think the Bush side fooled the CBS but the fact that they did not take into consideration the worries of the people who were asked to check the documents triggers in my mind the question:

"Are we really having a choise or it is just the two sides of the same coin?"

I hope I am wrong!

Posted by: laszlo kiss at September 29, 2004 12:06 PM (Q3lHx)

63 Get rid of that guy. He is a has been. Why can't we leagly process those in the media or the Democratic party for out right lies. If you or I did that about our company or friends or others, we would be slammed into jail, with questions asked later. Is it because they have millions and we coman people only have hunderds? All B.S. and I sure hope it will be cleaned up. Just like Mr. Bush is cleaning up his cabnit.
Thanks,
Patrick

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