September 22, 2004
Here Comes The Real Scandal
Though Dan Rather and CBS News refuse to admit that the obviously forged Killian memos are obviously forged, they have admitted their collective tit is in a ringer. (If the memos aren't forgeries, then why is CBS whining about being "misled" and offering apologies?)
The scandal here is not that CBS News is so desperate to prevent Bush's reelection that they will knowingly use forged documents against him.
The real scandal, however, is now emerging.
Dan Rather claims that USDA 100% Prime Loon Bill Burkett gave CBS the forged memos. Burkett admits to USA Today that this is true but insists, "I didn't forge anything. I didn't fake any documents. The only thing I've done here is to transfer documents from people I thought were real to people I thought were real. And that has been the limitation of my role. I may have been a patsy." When Dan Rather interviewed him, "Patsy" Burkett said that before handing the memos over to 60 Minutes he "insisted" the memos "be authenticated." And, according to CBS, Patsy Burkett still believes the memos are authentic. Bearing that in mind, consider this exchange from the Rather interview:
Rather: "Have you forged anything?"
Burkett: "No sir."
Rather: "Have you faked anything?
Burkett: "No sir."
Rather: "But you did mislead us."
Burkett: "Yes, I misled."
Rather: "You, you lie, you"
Burkett: "yes, I did."
So, Patsy Burkett said he urged CBS from the git-go to authenticate the memos and still believes the memos are real. Yet, at the same time, he's admitting to misleading and lying to CBS. Misleading and lying about what? This is quite a contradiction.
I watched this interview and the tone was stilted, even scripted. Rather seemed to be prompting the answers and Burkett seemed in a hurry to confirm Rather's characterizations. Rather and CBS already produced a totally fraudulent news story about the president's National Guard service; so why would CBS's interview of the man who helped them perpetrate the fraud have any credence?
The tone of this interview and Burkett's contradictions suggest that CBS and Dan Rather were desperate to paint Bill Burkett as the one and only bad guy in this matter--that the scandal began and ended with Burkett. Burkett, as demonstrated by his answers above, tried to play along but he couldn't help but make defensive remarks which contradicted his scripted admissions of guilt.
When Dan Rather at first defended the memos by claiming that his source was "unimpeachable," was he referring to the bumbling Burkett? As weird as Rather is, I seriously doubt that he would ascribe the word "unimpeachable" to a source who is known to suffer from mental illness and has a long history of making goofy allegations about George W. Bush.
Unimpeachable is a powerful word when describing a news source. When he used that word, I believe Dan Rather thought the documents were authentic and that he was referring to someone much higher on the political food chain than Bill Burkett.
We know now that prior to the release of the fraudulent memos, Burkett had been in contact with two Kerry campaign bigwigs, Joe Lockhart and Max Cleland. And we know that Mary Mapes, who produced the 60 Minutes segment, facilitated the contact between Lockhart and Burkett.
And yesterday, NewsMax perused the Kerry campaign's press releases and discovered this:
The Kerry campaign made an explicit reference to information in at least one of four forged military documents broadcast 14 days ago by CBS's "60 Minutes" - in a detailed campaign press release attacking President Bush's National Guard service dated months before the Sept. 8 "60 Minutes" broadcast.
Appearing in Kerry campaign literature on April 27, 2004, under the headline "Key Unanswered Questions on Bush's Record in National Guard" was the reference to "verbal orders" to recommend Bush's suspension from flying because he missed a physical - issued by Bush's commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian on Aug. 1, 1972.
Is that a smoking gun I smell?
Here's my theory:
*The Kerry campaign heard this rumor about Bush's air guard service earlier this year and--desperate to alleviate the damage done to their candidate by Swift Boat Veterans For Truth--put out a press release to bait an investigation.
*When the press didn't respond, someone connected with Kerry's campaign forged memos which seemingly confirmed the rumored allegation and then some.
*Armed with the fake memos, the Kerry campaign contacted Mary Mapes at CBS. Hoping to give the Kerry campaign plausible deniability as the source of the memos, Mapes and the Kerry staffer(s) decided to get themselves a patsy; and who would be more receptive to being "the source" of these memos than a loyal Democrat who is a former Texas National Guard officer with a long history of hating George W. Bush? Bill Burkett was more than happy to oblige and take direction from Kerry operatives and Mapes.
*Burkett then faxes the memos from a Kinko's near his home in Texas to CBS News where Mary Mapes pretends she's seeing them for the first time. Mapes tells Rather that a Democrat activist in Texas (Burkett) received the memos from a someone at the highest levels of the Kerry campaign; and Mapes actually identifies the Kerry operative to Rather.
*The story runs on 60 Minutes and pajama-clad bloggers quickly shoot it down by proving that the memos were written in Microsoft Word.
*Rather has no doubt that the memos are genuine because the source, he insists, is "unimpeachable."
*As more evidence emerges indicating the memos were forged, Rather realizes he's been duped. He also realizes that if he reveals the identity of the unimpeachable source, the Kerry campaign would blown out of the water.
*To prevent a Kerry campaign implosion, Rather and Mapes, who are both committed to Bush's defeat, decide that they will cast the lowly Burkett as the one and only source. Rather hastily arranges a totally contrived interview where Burkett will be painted as the source. Though Burkett doesn't like the idea, he's told it will save the Kerry campaign; being a loyal Democrat, he agrees to play along.
*But CBS's Burkett interview raises more questions than it answers. So, in an attempt stop anyone from tracking the path of the fake memos and to get the heat off himself, Burkett claims a person named "Lucy Ramirez" gave him the forged memos.
*To date, no one has found any evidence that Lucy Ramirez exists.
The real scandal is that the Kerry campaign was obviously involved in this criminal fraud.
The only remaining mystery is who in the Kerry campaign qualifies for the exalted title of Unimpeachable Source.
Or, to ask it another way, what did Senator Kerry know and when did he know it?
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