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June 19, 2005 4:26 PM   Subscribe

The 'Captain' and his buddies have been stuck with the 'Downing Street Memos' that have to be dealt with on the merits of what they say because no one has questioned their validity. Not anymore. What do you do when you need a miracle? Go back to what has worked in the past and scrutinize the paper and typeface .
posted by UseyurBrain (107 comments total)

 


And how is "scrutinizing the paper and typeface" going to help decide the validity of the memos if the reporter has already admitted retyping them?

The validity of the original memos. Isn't that the important thing here? What's all this BS talk of a miracle?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:35 PM on June 19, 2005


What's with that homoerotic bodybuilding ad featuring Jeff Gannon that all the right wing sites have on their sidebars?
posted by interrobang at 5:01 PM on June 19, 2005


they're scrutinizing that, too
posted by matteo at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2005


The validity of the original memos. Isn't that the important thing here?

It is enough for the right-wing community to insert uncertainty into people's minds. The equivalence of "uncertainty" with "liberals are liars" doesn't require much thought, nor questioning of preconceived notions about the war or those who started it. It's a standard tactic.
posted by Rothko at 5:06 PM on June 19, 2005


if bush and blair want to prove their case for once and for all, it's simple ... find the wmds

the burden of proof is on their side for justifying this war
posted by pyramid termite at 5:10 PM on June 19, 2005


Next up: TERRI SCHIAVO AUTOPSY TYPEFACES 'QUESTIONABLE,' SAYS FRIST
posted by digaman at 5:18 PM on June 19, 2005


the burden of proof is on their side for justifying this war

I don't think so. They already got their war and even without WMDs they could just say "We honestly thought he had them".

The burden has to be on the people trying to prove something and what people are trying to prove is deliberate deception. The Downing Street memo shows that at least one person 'C' had doubts about the integrity of the war push and that everyone at the briefing knew about those doubts. The problem is that this evidence is, for the purposes of American inquiry at least, second hand. So it points towards the possibility of deception but it isn't quite a smoking gun. It is more like a written statement from a witness that he saw a smoking gun in America's hands.
posted by srboisvert at 5:21 PM on June 19, 2005


It is more like a written statement from a witness that he saw a smoking gun in America's hands.

Actually, it is more like a confession from an accomplice. The UK government was part of the inner circle, not a passive observer. That's what makes the memo interesting and important.
posted by senor biggles at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2005


I suppose this means that *now* Fox News will start covering this story.
posted by interrobang at 5:43 PM on June 19, 2005


The burden has to be on the people trying to prove something and what people are trying to prove is deliberate deception.

srboisvert, you say on another recent thread that you are "very strongly antiwar" and I applaud you for your level headed attitude towards this allegation of fishy documents.

Too many people, the original poster included, have already taken sides. Why bother even debating it?

I've already seen first hand that otherwise intelligent people will hang their hats on an obvious forgery just because it represents the "side" they're barracking for. What hope to discuss the possibility that they're fake or tricked-up?!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:44 PM on June 19, 2005


Why an old-fashioned typewriter? Why not just retype them on a computer, if you've already decided not to work from the originals? (from Captain's Quarters)

Oh, gee. Could it be for security? A hard copy keeps the document in your hands and off the network.



The cartoon down the left hand column of Captains Quarters made me cringe. I wish there was some way that I could leave a virtual flaming-bag-of-poop on their doorstep.
posted by Jon-o at 5:53 PM on June 19, 2005


My cynical side tells me that the questioning of the authenticity will get more play in the media than the actual memo. The memo's will be proven true, but the seed of doubt will have been placed.
posted by drezdn at 6:05 PM on June 19, 2005


Agree on the cringe factor, Jon-o. Won't be going back to that site in a hurry.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:06 PM on June 19, 2005


[this is pathetic]
posted by yhbc at 6:12 PM on June 19, 2005


You know, I think that if these guys strangled themselves with sheep intestines or read chicken entrails they might get there a lot faster.
posted by mk1gti at 6:17 PM on June 19, 2005


Jon-o has it.

Why an old-fashioned typewriter? Why not just retype them on a computer, if you've already decided not to work from the originals? (from Captain's Quarters)

Oh, gee. Could it be for security? A hard copy keeps the document in your hands and off the network.

This is a point that needs to be reiterated again and again. Of course a good reporter isn't going to put secret documents (temporarily secret ones, even) on a computer. How many security experts have to say "anything on a networked computer is unsafe" for people to start taking it seriously?
posted by Tlogmer at 6:28 PM on June 19, 2005


I had too much Captains' Quarters and now my tummy is yucky.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:29 PM on June 19, 2005


only a moron would fall for that crap.

too bad so many americans are morons.

expect to see this on Wolfie Blitzer, Tuesday at the latest.
posted by words1 at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2005


The slightest doubt is vindication for these people. It's intresting, and other people have pointed it out but it seems that since Rathergate the wingnutosphere has been making and beliving wholeheartedly that every leaked memo that looks bad for their side is fake.

It's really quite pathetic.
posted by delmoi at 6:51 PM on June 19, 2005


the wording of this post confused the hell out of me for a bit.

I thought it was saying that Captain's Quarters could no longer deny the veracity of the DSM because there had been some development involving analysis of typeface that validated it. Now I see that when the post says "Not anymore," it means that Captain's Quarters (are these guys in any way worth keeping up on? What's their significance regarding... anything?) are no longer stuck having to accept the validity of the DSM because of some typeface analysis.

But then, they're not really analyzing the typeface, are they? So what the hell is this post saying?

Shit, the wording of this post has confused the hell out of me again.
posted by shmegegge at 7:06 PM on June 19, 2005


To their credit, by showing that Dan Rather had gone to press with a story based on forged documents the conservative bloggers proved that George W. Bush fought valiantly and ultimately won the Vietnam war for America. Perhaps if they can show the Downing Street Memo to be a fabrication the WMDs will be found.
posted by revgeorge at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2005


This is a point that needs to be reiterated again and again. Of course a good reporter isn't going to put secret documents (temporarily secret ones, even) on a computer.

No, Tlogmer. Jon-o hardly has it.

You're about to publish allegations in a major newspaper. You destroy the originals and make copies. How is making a copy on a typewriter vs. a computer going to help? Why aren't all potential scoops written on typewriters for security reasons? Why aren't our media houses filled with typewriters then? Can't trust the computer networks, can we?

Besides, I think the typewriter thing is merely an interesting aside. The more important point is that they aren't the originals and now we have to take someone's word for it.

But I'm not sure if many people here want to discuss the fact that they might be fakes. It seems to be a case of "Well the evil right wing FUD merchants would try that tactic, wouldn't they?"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2005


Blogosphere aside, I'd like to hope any serious US journalists momentarily interested in this supposed angle will drop it as soon as they realise that Blair's team would have been quick to denounce the memo as a forgery if they could. Instead, all that No. 10 did was apply heavy spin.
posted by senor biggles at 7:08 PM on June 19, 2005


even without WMDs they could just say "We honestly thought he had them".
You know, I could have sworn that - in the run up to the war - the US administration laid claim to having "incontrovertible evidence", not just beliefs, that Iraq had WMDs.

the burden of proof is on their side for justifying this war
All they have to do is produce the incontrovertible evidence. All they've done so far is produced the "massively less than incontrovertible" stuff :)
posted by kaemaril at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2005


I don't even understand that comic down the lefthand side of the page enough to feel anger towards it.
posted by odinsdream at 7:11 PM on June 19, 2005


But then, they're not really analyzing the typeface, are they? So what the hell is this post saying?

Zackly! That's because the poster was too busy doing a cheerleading routine to notice their post didn't make much sense.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:12 PM on June 19, 2005


Blogosphere aside, I'd like to hope any serious US journalists momentarily interested in this supposed angle will drop it as soon as they realise that Blair's team would have been quick to denounce the memo as a forgery if they could.

Exactly the same thing was being said on the thread I linked in my second post.

"The British government / military haven't said the photos are fake therefore the photos must be real."

And they turned out to be fake.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:17 PM on June 19, 2005


Drudge has picked the story up now (big surprise). Uncanny, I wasn't 'cheerleading'. I think it's pathetic that because this memo is so distressing AND NOT GOING AWAY that the right dips back into the bag of tricks and tries the 'Rathergate' approach again. Neither Washington nor Britain has ever denied that these documents were not valid.

From my perspective this is a cynical attempt to pull focus away from what these memos say to what they are made of. It worked the first time. Everyone forgot to keep asking why Bush dodged Vietnam.
posted by UseyurBrain at 7:36 PM on June 19, 2005


An interesting discussion of the Sãrindar plan with Ion Pacepa.
posted by loquax at 7:48 PM on June 19, 2005


uncanny, I wasn't a mefite last year and so didn't participate in your argument, but I thought those photos looked dodgy from the start.

You'll recall that within a couple of days of the photos being released, UK military and government officials were calling their authenticity into question. It took about two weeks for the UK govt to announce definitively that the photos were fakes. Seeing as they were not official documents, that strikes me as a reasonable delay - an investigation takes some time.

It's been almost seven weeks since the memo was leaked. This was (allegedly, let's say) an official document prepared at the highest level, and so presumably it should be possible for the UK government to confirm or deny the accuracy of what was published within a matter of a few hours - call a clerk, pull a file, or just scan a database. Under the circumstances, the silence speaks pretty clearly.
posted by senor biggles at 7:53 PM on June 19, 2005


odinsdream, I too am confused.

Any chance I could cash in a cluepon here?
posted by vira at 7:57 PM on June 19, 2005


Neither Washington nor Britain has ever denied that these documents were not valid.

And he goes for the rare triple negative for the win! Or the lose. You decide.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:12 PM on June 19, 2005


I don't currently have any doubts that the memos are real, even if the versions in the reporter's possession aren't the originals.

However:

Of course a good reporter isn't going to put secret documents (temporarily secret ones, even) on a computer. How many security experts have to say "anything on a networked computer is unsafe" for people to start taking it seriously?

That is just stupid. "These are some really important documents; so I'm going to destroy the originals (or give them back to the source, depending on the version of this story you here). I must keep a version of my own, however. But these are so super secret that I can't risk having the text on my computer. So I'll hand them to this secretary so that she can type them. Because Great Britain is a backward nation and has not yet imported photocopier technology."

I imagine we have many reporters who read metafilter. So let's ask them: If you, as a reporter, came into possession of very important documents would you destroy the originals?

Let's say your source insists you give them back, but you can reproduce a copy for yourself, would you A) Photocopy them or B) Have them manually retyped? If B) would you do this on a computer yourself (since they're so secret) or have a secretary to it on a typewriter.

Like I said, I have little doubt the text is accurate (though I don't think it is as damning as many say) but it certainly looks like the chain of evidence is screwed up somehow.
posted by obfusciatrist at 9:08 PM on June 19, 2005


vira: The cartoon on that link changes daily. Here's a perma-link to the offensive cartoon.

I like how the cartoonist is aligning his ideology with the terrorist's ideology. I'd, you know, try to distance my ideology from terrorist ideology if I were him, but I guess that's why I'm a dirty commie liberal or something.

Kinda on-topic: Of course, the cartoon's allusion only really makes sense if you're out for revenge, and I pretty much believe that subconsiously or consciously Red America is out for blood. Pure and simple. Ain't no memo going to change that, but anything that could at least make them admit what they really are would be good.
posted by Skwirl at 9:24 PM on June 19, 2005


Gah. No, wait, here's the perma-link. Stupid javascript driven links didn't update my address bar.
posted by Skwirl at 9:27 PM on June 19, 2005


lol. thanks for giving the "fake Downing" crowd more exposure. because they really need that. these documents have been verified up and down by the british government. it's not enouh that the mainstream media has ignored the Downing story -- now, with America's luck, they're going to finally pick it up from this perspective. ridiculous.
posted by VulcanMike at 9:30 PM on June 19, 2005


these documents have been verified up and down by the british government

Sorry. I didn't realize that.

You're not shitting me, right? Because I'm not a Brit (or North American) and I haven't heard much about this either. I was commenting specifically on the allegations in the link.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:50 PM on June 19, 2005


VulcanMike, can you post a link showing it's been verified? It would be a nice dose of sanity.
posted by drezdn at 9:51 PM on June 19, 2005


I haven't heard much about this either

Having said that, I've read enough (on the internets, of course!) to wonder why it wasn't all over the mainstream media here in Oz. On the surface, it seems like a pretty major scandal.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:55 PM on June 19, 2005


retyping is the sensible option. the documents will have had codes added to them to provide traceability in case of leaks.

having the original would reveal the source.

retyping the original, leaving off codes (some open some hidden) is the only way for this journalist to protect his source.
posted by quarsan at 9:59 PM on June 19, 2005


In a brief search, what I've found is that no one has verified the memo itself, but that no one has denied it either.

A former senior U.S. official called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during the senior British intelligence officer's visit to Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
Newsday (moved to paid archive) , May 9, 2005


Other leaked but verified documents apparently support the contentions of the Downing Street Memo. For all your Downing Street Memo needs.
posted by drezdn at 9:59 PM on June 19, 2005


Let's say your source insists you give them back, but you can reproduce a copy for yourself, would you A) Photocopy them or B) Have them manually retyped? If B)...

...then you'd be an idiot. Why would you re-type it, for chrissake? What good would that do? Of course you'd photocopy it. It's the most readily-accessible form of reproduction available, and doesn't allow for the introduction of errors or (gasp) omissions.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:32 PM on June 19, 2005


Apparently other documents have surfaced supporting the views expressed in the DSM.

here (scroll to bottom)
posted by SirOmega at 10:39 PM on June 19, 2005


From Sir Omega's link

The documents are transcribed photocopies in PDF format and were acquired from a British source and corroborated by Michael Smith, the journalist who first received the original leaked memos. This site validated them through an independent source and with Smith.

?I was given them last September while still on the [Daily] Telegraph,? Smith, who now works for the London Sunday Times, told RAW STORY. ?I was given very strict orders from the lawyers as to how to handle them.?

?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.

The Butler Committee, a UK commission looking into WMD, has quoted the documents and accepted their authenticity, along with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Smith said all originals were destroyed in order to both protect the source and the journalist alike.

?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.


That pretty much explains it.
posted by dial-tone at 11:01 PM on June 19, 2005


This is starting to get pretty anal but here goes anyway… wouldn't most newspapers have a scanner with text recognition software? Wouldn't there be a few easier ways to protect his source?

Retyping it?!! On an obsolete machine?!! Why?

And wouldn't that mean that ALL leaked documents – important, secret ones anyway – would have to be retyped on ye olde fashioned typewriter in future, thereby making it possible for anybody to forge a government document using this as an excuse?! Would the naysayers here be so forgiving if the shoe was on the other foot?

It's all getting too confusing to think about. It's like that scene from The Princess Bride.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:39 PM on June 19, 2005


This is starting to get pretty anal but here goes anyway… wouldn't most newspapers have a scanner with text recognition software? Wouldn't there be a few easier ways to protect his source?

Retyping it?!! On an obsolete machine?!! Why?

And wouldn't that mean that ALL leaked documents – important, secret ones anyway – would have to be retyped on ye olde fashioned typewriter in future, thereby making it possible for anybody to forge a government document using this as an excuse?! Would the naysayers here be so forgiving if the shoe was on the other foot?

It's all getting too confusing to think about. It's like that scene from The Princess Bride.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:40 PM on June 19, 2005


Bugger and sorry. Not my fault, honest.

It said it couldn't post because of a "tag cfquery error". Or something like that, I can't remember. So I repost and see the dreaded double.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:43 PM on June 19, 2005


Uncanny, you know there are millions of people around the world who do not like computers. In fact there are still entire offices where computers are not the primary tool. Strange huh.
posted by filchyboy at 12:11 AM on June 20, 2005



A major British newspaper? Come come.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:18 AM on June 20, 2005


The Times of London is sort of the "major British newspaper," right? (Not the best-selling paper; that would be The Sun, I believe. But the Times is the broadsheet of record, etc. Anyway ...)

The goal of destroying actual electronic or photo- copies of these memos would be to stop anyone from tracing the stuff back to the people who leaked 'em. It's pretty simple, really. So why even type a copy of the text? Because you still need the text, far away from any computer (Murdoch owns The Times, as well as The Sun, and the U.S. military had no trouble planting pix of Saddam in his underwear on the front page of The Sun in violation of the Geneva protections.) Because many thousands of people have died in this war, and many billions have been lost and earned in this war, and one reporter in London isn't exactly a match for the forces at work here.

Anyway, it's probably true that this nonsense will suddenly be the "story" for those who just can't quit cheerleading Iraq from a very safe distance. Whatever, let 'em have it. Meanwhile, people in British intel and at Downing St. (Blair included, I would imagine) are leaking this stuff so they can try to get out of this nightmare and save Labour in the process.
posted by kenlayne at 12:38 AM on June 20, 2005


The fact that people are arguing the technology behind the document, rather than the veracity of its content, reinforces the incredible media savvy this administration shows: that spreading uncertainty is a highly efficient way to spread disinformation and distract people from truthfully examining and understanding a politically, legally and morally shaky situation.
posted by Rothko at 12:40 AM on June 20, 2005


The fact that people are arguing the technology behind the document, rather than the veracity of its content, reinforces the incredible media savvy this administration shows

Actually, I was more wanting to argue whether we should believe someone who retyped some documents, and if the same benefit of the doubt would be given if the same documents, for example, said that WoMD existed.

I said the typewriter thing was more of an aside - but got caught up with it all just the same!

I find it concerning that for some it is clearly a case of "I agree with these documents because it supports my position on the war and no further correspondence will be entered into."

Whether it's true or not, the initial reaction from the cheerleaders amongst us lends nothing to the debate. Again to srboisvert, I dips me lid in your general direction.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:17 AM on June 20, 2005


At least insofar as these things are done in professional journalistic circles, the content of the document was verified, if indirectly, by Downing Street.

At this point, the only benefit to arguing the source of the copy of the document is to distract people from the content, or raise uncertainties about the content in people's minds, never mind providing actual confirmation of specific, factual errors.

The tail wags the dog once again...
posted by Rothko at 1:29 AM on June 20, 2005


At this point, the only benefit to arguing the source of the copy of the document is to distract people from the content, or raise uncertainties about the content in people's minds, never mind providing actual confirmation of specific, factual errors.

That was the specific nature of the post. You get no apologies from me for wanting to discuss the link.

And I note that it took a while for someone to "provide actual confirmation of specific, factual" admissions made by British officials as to their accuracy. It was Jeff Gannon here, snarky comment there, Terri Schiavo, Fox News, wingnutosphere, blah blah blah.

Not to mention, as has already been pointed out, that the original post doesn't make much sense.

As soon as someone started giving proper links and engaging in proper debate I immediately backtracked.



And I'm still confused as to why a ye olde fashioned typewiter had to be used!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:31 AM on June 20, 2005


And I'm still confused as to why a ye olde fashioned typewiter had to be used!

Well yes, a clay tablet could have been used. Or the reporter could have hand-written it. The reporter could have typed it into his computer and printed it. He didn't; he had it typed. Big fucking deal. Live with it. Now please drop this particularly useless distraction from the main issue.
posted by salmacis at 3:03 AM on June 20, 2005


That is just stupid. "These are some really important documents; so I'm going to destroy the originals (or give them back to the source, depending on the version of this story you here). I must keep a version of my own, however. But these are so super secret that I can't risk having the text on my computer. So I'll hand them to this secretary so that she can type them. Because Great Britain is a backward nation and has not yet imported photocopier technology."

Multiple people would have been given copies of the minutes. A photocopier would pick up any handwritten notes that could identify the source. Retyping removes the risk of exposing the source.
posted by Happy Monkey at 5:54 AM on June 20, 2005


Lil' Blogger Sleuths (digby)--...And now they put on their lil' thinkin' caps and figured out all by themselves that the Downing Street memos are fakes too --- all the icky memos just have to be fakes even when people who wrote 'em and read 'em say they aren't! ...
posted by amberglow at 6:03 AM on June 20, 2005


Well yes, a clay tablet could have been used. Or the reporter could have hand-written it. The reporter could have typed it into his computer and printed it. He didn't; he had it typed. Big fucking deal. Live with it. Now please drop this particularly useless distraction from the main issue.

Translation: I know it really doesn't make sense why it was retyped, but please do not try to derail our attack. We we all know Bush is evil and this war was a big lie, so it doesn't really matter if this "memo" is real or not. We'll just make up the facts to fit the 'truth'. You see, we really have no hope of re-taking the House or Senate in 2008, and we need this crap to fire up the base for fundraising.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:14 AM on June 20, 2005



posted by gsb at 6:31 AM on June 20, 2005


We we all know Bush is evil and this war was a big lie, so it doesn't really matter if this "memo" is real or not.

But the content of the memo is real. What evidence can you provide to second-guess 10 Downing Street's own confirmation of this memo?
posted by Rothko at 6:36 AM on June 20, 2005


I know it really doesn't make sense why it was retyped

except that it does, and it has been explained. did you even read the articles posted in the thread or did you just jump in gung-ho and picked the first comment you saw?
maybe little wonder-stevie should stick with posting "funny" pics, cause your arguments aren't very good.
posted by mr.marx at 6:40 AM on June 20, 2005


The document needed to be retyped to remove anything that would give the source of the leak away. As pointed out in an article linked to in the thread, the British Police investigate leaks. There's a good chance that if they would have scanned it, the police would have confiscated their computers. I'm shocked that they would even photocopy it, considering that some photocopiers now save x number of the last images copied.
posted by drezdn at 7:44 AM on June 20, 2005


Rothko asks: "What evidence can you provide to second-guess 10 Downing Street's own confirmation of this memo?"

It is my understanding that the authenticity has neither been confirmed nor denied by the British government. Do you have other data to share? I know that some stories have quoted a single anonymous senior British official" as saying they "appeared authentic," but that is exactly what we got with the Texas Air National Guard stuff.
posted by Cassford at 8:02 AM on June 20, 2005


They've been confirmed as authentic by NBC and the AP and many newspapers who used their waiting for confirmation as the excuse why they didn't run the story earlier.

Discussing whether they're real or not is exactly the distraction many want from their damning (and indictable) contents--good job, wingnuts! Rove is so proud!
posted by amberglow at 8:40 AM on June 20, 2005


Knight-Ridder, 6/17--
...Neither the U.S. government nor the British government has disputed the memos' authenticity. ...


You'll find statements like that all over, if you care to look.
posted by amberglow at 8:41 AM on June 20, 2005


I know that some stories have quoted a single anonymous senior British official" as saying they "appeared authentic," but that is exactly what we got with the Texas Air National Guard stuff.

Other documents, which have been confirmed as authentic support the basic idea of the memo.
posted by dial-tone at 8:48 AM on June 20, 2005


maybe little mr.marxymarx should stick with calling people "funny" names, since your arguments aren't very good.

They've been confirmed as authentic by NBC and the AP and many newspapers who used their waiting for confirmation as the excuse why they didn't run the story earlier.

Oh, well if someone as reputable as one of the big three networks has vetted it, that is good enough for me!
(*cough* CBS News *cough*)

amberglow: 'no comment' != confirmation

But it really doesn't matter what anyone says. Any one who disagrees will be labeled a 'wingnut' or such, and you all will go on with your 'proof'. Have fun, see you in 2008.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:12 AM on June 20, 2005


But it really doesn't matter what anyone says.

Steve, why do you ignore the other memos that have been verified. Instead, you stick with amberglow's comments. What do you think about the other memo's that have been verified?
posted by dial-tone at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2005


This just keeps growing and growing, and if i was a Republican, i wouldn't be trying to keep it in the news--at all. Stuff like this will just give more people an opportunity to learn about them, and about the lies that continue to cost us--in money and lives and security and international standing.
posted by amberglow at 10:01 AM on June 20, 2005


OK, so it's a faked memo that doesn't tell us anything new.

Huh?
posted by dodgygeezer at 10:33 AM on June 20, 2005


Steve_at_Linwood - Translation: I know it really doesn't make sense why it was retyped, but please do not try to derail our attack.

Devils advocate here: If memo was forged, wouldn't it make more sense for the forger to use a computer instead of a typewriter? It makes even less sense to forge a document by typewriter if you're going to state that it's not an original typeset copy. I mean what's the point? The method of reproduction is immaterial to the content of the memo so why not make it an easy job?
posted by nathan_teske at 11:25 AM on June 20, 2005


But it really doesn't matter what anyone says.

Indeed. It really doesn't matter what anyone says to you, you'll believe what you want to believe in spite of reality.
posted by Rothko at 11:27 AM on June 20, 2005


As has been said, the point of the blog post is to turn the conversation away from the facts and to cast doubt on the authenticity of the memos, but as people seem to still be asking why they used a typewriter, I will take a stab at an explanation.

The newspapers must protect their source at all costs. If they can't, then people will not release secret information to them. If they release a photocopy, or a scan of the document, they run the risk of allowing clues about the source. They can white out the handwriting or any identifying information they see, but there could still be things they don't see or don't know about. A scratch, or an identifiable type of pen or printer error, or a code the government adds to its memos to certain people, or any number of things. There's no way to be certain.

They want to release the data, not the source document. So they verify the source document as best they can, and type out a copy so that there is no forensic connection between the two. Even a character recognition scan could leave some trace of when and where the scan was made that might lead to the source. A fresh, type-written copy is the safest and most reasonable course to take.
posted by team lowkey at 2:00 PM on June 20, 2005


The way to win converts to the cause of investigating the President - "what did he know and when did he know it" kind of shit - is to put it in the abstract, more universal sense first: "The President lied to your face." Then get more specific: "The President lied to your face about why we went to war." Then allow the horror to seep in: "The President lied to your face about why we went to war and now we're on the fast track to our second-thousandth dead and our twenty-thousandth injured."

And you know what? He's gonna keep lyin' and keep lyin' until he's walked out of the White House.
--RudePundit
posted by amberglow at 4:02 PM on June 20, 2005


The AP obtained copies of six of the memos (the other two have circulated widely). A senior British official who reviewed the copies said on condition of anonymity that their content appeared authentic.

Newsday: Memos show U.S. push for war
posted by y2karl at 4:19 PM on June 20, 2005


The trick to this argument is that they point out something completely true but the cause is not immediately apparent. Then they tell you it is because an undisprovable cause that would most help their goal.

You can't win this argument. Even if you offer the correct explanation you've just become simply a competing theory. If you can't 100% disprove their argument they can get away with not 100% disproving yours.
posted by betaray at 5:23 PM on June 20, 2005


More : BBC's Panorama: Iraq, Tony & the Truth
DATE: 20:03:05

posted by amberglow at 7:18 PM on June 20, 2005


He's gonna keep lyin' and keep lyin' until he's walked out of the White House.

Or, preferably, frog-marched, of course.
posted by soyjoy at 8:01 PM on June 20, 2005


betaray, come again?!

Just a quick question for the more informed people here. Did the reporter always admit that the memos were re-typed on an obsolete typewriter? Did he always admit that, and no one thought it worthy to report on until now?

Or did the reporter not initially admit that, and now he's saying "Oh. They're not real. I just typed them up to look like they were the real thing but they're not the real thing"?

If it's the former, then what are we all arguing about?

If it's the latter, then why? If the latter scenario is the case then do we all admit this seems very very fishy? Devious, no less?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:04 PM on June 20, 2005


Just a quick question for the more informed people here.

Insulting your fellow participants by assuming you're the only "informed" person will get your point nowhere.

Your questions are irrelevant to the veracity of the memo's content, which so far has been verified by numerous parties.

Focus on the content, not whether one or another font was used.
posted by Rothko at 9:51 PM on June 20, 2005


I just typed them up to look like they were the real thing but they're not the real thing"?

As pointed out by one of the links in the thread, it wasn't retyped to look authentic, it was retyped to avoid giving away the source.
posted by dial-tone at 10:21 PM on June 20, 2005


Insulting your fellow participants by assuming you're the only "informed" person will get your point nowhere.

You freakin' moron. I was saying the exact opposite. I'm in awe of the Google-fu and link-osity of some Mefites. I was hoping one of them could help me.




Your questions are irrelevant to the veracity of the memo's content, which so far has been verified by numerous parties.

But they're not irrelevant to the post. And I want to talk about the post. Your three-monkeys defence has been noted, now get off the goddam thread you screaming ninny.


ps: Does anyone know when the reporter chappie fessed up to the memos not being real? See my question above. I feel this is very important as it pertains to the post and subsequent discussion.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:24 PM on June 20, 2005


As pointed out by one of the links in the thread, it wasn't retyped to look authentic, it was retyped to avoid giving away the source.

Very cute.

I'm waiting for an answer to my question before I can properly address your comment.

If he distributed the memos to people and didn't immediately say that they were not the real thing (which I fear happened but I'm not 100% certain), then I've got to wonder why.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:35 PM on June 20, 2005


Take something apparent, but who's cause might not be immediately known: Michael Smith took these steps because is trying to hide something

Then they make up something that fits helps them reach their goal: He's hiding something because this memo is a deception!

When you try to present the real answer: Of course he's hiding something, he's trying to hide his source. the original arguer tries to portray you as being as partisan as they are. This now makes you just another biased viewpoint to be considered.

Since he's impossible to disprove Michael Smith is trying to deceive us, then the other side doesn't ever really have to try to successfully argue against the real cause. They just have to make some argument that appeals to the baises of the of their target audience. Then the audience starts filling in the gaps with their own inventions. "If he distributed the memos to people and didn't immediately say that they were not the real thing (which I fear happened but I'm not 100% certain)"
posted by betaray at 5:46 AM on June 21, 2005


There is no biased viewpoint from me. I would just like to know if he initially told everyone the memos were re-typed copies of what he reckons he saw.

And if he didn't initially tell everyone the memos were re-typed copies of what he reckons he saw, then I'd like to know why he left that important bit out. Why be so devious?

That's all.

(FWIW, if I was a betting man I would say that, in retrospect, Georgie Porgie wanted to go to war with the oil-rich Iraqis for many reasons, many of them having NOTHING to do with freedom and democracy and killing terrorists.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:59 PM on June 21, 2005


transcript of Michael Smith on Hardball on Monday--...GREGORY: Let me begin with new information that's come out about the Downing Street memo and your notes, your own reporting on this. It's come out that you destroyed some of your initial notes that supported the memo. Is that the case and why have you done that?
SMITH: We—I haven't destroyed any notes.
What happened was that, when I first received the first six batch—sorry—when I first received the batch of six documents back in September of last year, when I was working on “The Daily Telegraph,” I was under very strict orders from the lawyers as to how I should handle that. I had to photocopy the documents, send the originals back to whoever had sent them to me. That meant that the photocopy paper that the actual documents were now on was our property at “The Daily Telegraph” and therefore couldn't be taken away from us on that basis.
And then the lawyers, not me, the lawyers, insisted that a secretary typed up on a typewriter the actual text of the documents. And then, on the evening, as we went to press on the story, we actually shredded the photocopies of the documents. And the reason for that is that the source who had given them to us could have been identified by the particular copy of that document that they had by an elimination process. And we were anxious to protect the source.
GREGORY: But the bottom line is, the British government has never said the memo is not real or the content is wrong?
SMITH: No, they haven't, no. And all the embarrassment it's given them, they would rush immediately to say, this is rubbish, this is not a true document.
GREGORY: Right.
SMITH: And, indeed, everyone saw Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush at the White House press briefing, where Mr. Blair responded to that.
GREGORY: Right.
SMITH: And, you know, Mr. Blair didn't say it's false. He said that he didn't agree with something that was said in here by the head of MI6. But he didn't say the document didn't exist. He said it was an old document and things had moved on after that document. ...

posted by amberglow at 6:30 PM on June 21, 2005


SMITH: No, they haven't, no. And all the embarrassment it's given them, they would rush immediately to say, this is rubbish, this is not a true document.

Thanks for that excerpt, amberglow, but we've already been over this.

1. The exact same excuse was being used by many people to "prove" the British soldiers / Iraqi POW torture photos were real.

Is it a telling omission? Yes. Very much so. Is it proof positive? No. As can be seen by my example above.

2. I would like to know if he initially told everyone the memos were re-typed copies of what he reckons he saw.

And if he didn't initially tell everyone the memos were re-typed copies of what he reckons he saw, then I'd like to know why he left that very important bit out. Why the oversight?

Does anyone have the answer to question number 2?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:53 PM on June 21, 2005


I'm sure we'll hear from the lawyers too--the Brits have no reason not to talk.
posted by amberglow at 8:57 PM on June 21, 2005


and uncanny, it's absurd that you doubt these reports of all the lies generated, when our own administration lies about most things, if not everything. Do you believe them?
posted by amberglow at 8:58 PM on June 21, 2005


and uncanny, it's absurd that you doubt these reports

Why is it absurd? If the guy retyped memos of what he reckons he saw. If he retyped those memos to look suspiciously like the real thing. If he conveniently forgot to tell us that when he reported on them…

I think that's extremely fishy. But no one wants to or seems able to answer these very simple questions (see above - I've repeated them in successive posts). It's more been a case of:

1) Build a bridge and get over it.
2) Please stop discussing what the post was actually about.



of all the lies generated, when our own administration

It's not my administration. I'm Australian.



lies about most things, if not everything. Do you believe them?

Politicians are very untrustworthy. So I tend to disbelieve all politicians, for want of a better word.

So, because your own administration lies about things (a lot, it would seem!), I'm not allowed to question Michael Smith? That's what you seem to be saying. Interesting logic.

Again, harking back to the British soldiers / Iraqi POW torture photos thread. I was trying to discuss the post, and all these tweety birds were constantly flapping around saying "Abu Ghraib Abu Ghraib Abu Ghraib" and I'm thinking "shut the f*ck up already about Abu Ghraib that's not what the post is about!"

What's your opinion on my oft-repeated questions, amberglow?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:04 PM on June 21, 2005


Thanks for that excerpt, amberglow, but we've already been over this.

1. The exact same excuse was being used by many people to "prove" the British soldiers / Iraqi POW torture photos were real.


uncanny, your argument on this point basically amounts to this: that on the same day that the photo story broke, some people said that the UK government would be quick to denounce the pictures as fakes if they could; failure to do so meant that they were genuine. You were right to point out the weakness of this argument, and indeed within a couple of weeks your position was fully vindicated.

But this isn't the same situation. The photos were of unknown provenance; it was reasonable to take time to verify them before issuing an unequivocal denial. The memo in question can be verified easily, and there is zero reason to believe that Number 10 didn't do so within hours of the story being published (over seven weeks ago). It really would take only a few minutes to do so, with 100 percent reliability. Instead, there's been silence.

Yes, we're speculating that seven weeks of silence is incriminating. There are good reasons to do make this small deductive step. They haven't commented because like any Western government (a) they won't comment publicly on "intelligence matters" - unless of course it would suit their purposes to do so, and (b) because politicians' standard operating procedure is to change the subject when asked questions they don't want to answer.

Can you point us to a link that shows a senior UK official or politician, named or otherwise, casting any serious doubt on the credibility of the memo? Or can you at least offer a counter-explanation as to why the control-freakish Blair government, which you can be sure checked the authenticity of the published account weeks ago, would be refraining from issuing even a tepid, vague denial if it thought it could do so?
posted by senor biggles at 8:57 AM on June 22, 2005


Using the logic of most of the posters above, the lack of a link telling me that Michael Smith always admitted his memos were retyped copies of what he reckons he saw means that Michael Smith didn't admit that. He left that extremely important piece of information out when he reported on the memos.

Why?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:11 PM on June 22, 2005


I was a juror at a trial. Simple case. Extended family had been on a week-long drinking bender. Someone gets punched. Hits wall and ground. Thin skull. Brain damage.

And they had photos of small specks of blood and they'd drag an expert out who'd say "Yesss, this is blood." And then they'd show him another photo and he'd say "Yesss, this is blood." And they'd drag out another expert and show him a photo and he'd say "Yesss this is blood consistent with a skull fracture." And then they'd show him another photo and he'd say "Yesss this is blood consistent with a skull fracture." And then they'd drag out another expert and he'd testify that it was a match to the victim's blood. On and on and on with these experts answering 2 or 3 banal questions and then sitting down again.

And by the end of the first day I'm tearing my hair out saying to myself, "Can't we get this freakin' over already?! It's obvious what happened?!"

Er, my point?

Why is everyone so keen to ignore my very simple questions? Or even worse, castigating me for even asking them?! Why can't we dot all the "i"s and cross all the "t"s?

Michael Smith had one of the stories of the year and he didn't tell us the memos were copies of what he reckons he saw? This is stupid, sloppy, and devious all rolled into one.



Can you point us to a link that shows a senior UK official or politician, named or otherwise, casting any serious doubt on the credibility of the memo?

Again, dodging my questions. I agree that the lack of denial is very damning (but not proof). I have already stated that. Why ask me again?

Can you, Senor Biggles, point us to a link that tells us why Michael Smith conveniently forgot to tell the world that the memos were not real, they were retyped copies of what he reckons he saw? Were his copies reprinted and distributed to interested parties minus that very important piece of information? Could you point us to a link saying one way or another?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:14 PM on June 22, 2005


Can you point us to a link that shows a senior UK official or politician, named or otherwise, casting any serious doubt on the credibility of the memo? Or can you at least offer a counter-explanation as to why the control-freakish Blair government, which you can be sure checked the authenticity of the published account weeks ago, would be refraining from issuing even a tepid, vague denial if it thought it could do so?

Exactly. This guy and his lawyers say it's real. Other British government officials have confirmed that they're real. We've posted the explanation from the guy, but whether you believe him or not, others have already confirmed it all. The burden's on you to prove the minutes are false.
posted by amberglow at 5:23 PM on June 22, 2005


Uncanny, I'm not trying to be rude here, but what is so "extremely important" about Smith's failure to detail how he handled the memo? By itself, this is about as important as whether a historian fails to declare whether he used a pen or a pencil to take notes in the research library. I don't look for this level of logistical detail about the preparation of anything else I read. Do you?

I keep raising the other point because it's related. If the UK government was saying "Never happened - those memos are fakes" then yes, Smith's failure to detail how he handled the copies he said he was working from might take on some importance, possibly even damning weight. But as a stand-alone fact and in the context we're dealing with, it's trivial.

And no, I can't point you to a link that explains why Smith didn't fess up instantly to having a secretary type up a copy of the memo. Nor can I point to a link that proves Smith doesn't own the world's largest collection of Christopher Ecclestone rendered in Vegemite. I can, however, offer a convincing explanation for the former: he didn't do so because he didn't think it was important. Works for me. If you're still worried, perhaps you should drop him an email and ask him to explain what you see as an important oversight in his original article. I'm serious - these days a lot of journalists will reply directly to inquiries from readers. Let us know how it turns out.
posted by senor biggles at 8:01 PM on June 22, 2005


"Christopher Ecclestone portraits". There, that makes a teeny bit more sense...I think...
posted by senor biggles at 8:05 PM on June 22, 2005


Michael Smith didn't tell us the memos were copies of what he reckons he saw? This is stupid, sloppy, and devious all rolled into one. Or at least that's how it appears to me. And I still don't get the obsolete typewriter bit. So his lawyers said to do it. That doesn't explain anything, it's just shifting the blame.

So sorry for wanting to dot all the "i"s and cross all the "t"s?

Be careful what you wish for.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:51 PM on June 22, 2005


So how do you explain the British officials and former officials who have verified them?
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on June 22, 2005


All Smith's explanations for doing what he did are simple and make sense. He wanted to protect his source, he knows that any leak of a high-level document will prompt a full investigation from the police, including searches and seizures, so he took steps to ensure he didn't have anything that could be traced back to the source. None of this strikes me as remotely stupid, sloppy or devious. On the contrary, he sounds like a good journalist who cares about protecting his sources.

(While Smith doesn't say so, there are other valid reasons for keeping a document off a computer. Computers radiate whatever they're processing in various ways, including through the screen and the power outlet. If you're not familiar with this problem, you can read about the basic issues in the introduction to this paper. Even if Smith didn't know any of this, any source who had access to that memo would have known all about it, which would explain the strict handling instructions).

I still don't see why you want unusual logistical details not normally provided in articles based on leaked memos.
posted by senor biggles at 10:16 PM on June 22, 2005


So how do you explain the British officials and former officials who have verified them?

From your link in a recent post:

GREGORY: But the bottom line is, the British government has never said the memo is not real or the content is wrong?
SMITH: No, they haven't, no.


That is not the same as verified, amberglow. I've been over this a million times. Unless you're talking about the unnamed sources who have verified them.

Unnamed sources verifying typed copies of documents Michael Smith reckons he saw. Well, that ain't good enough for me. Sorry.

Now, if I was a betting man and you asked for my opinion, then it would be a different story. But right here in this thread I'm just trying to dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s. I'm starting to sound like a broken record. Maybe we should just agree to disagree?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:52 AM on June 23, 2005


(While Smith doesn't say so, there are other valid reasons for keeping a document off a computer. Computers radiate whatever they're processing in various ways, including through the screen and the power outlet. If you're not familiar with this problem, you can read about the basic issues in the introduction to this paper. Even if Smith didn't know any of this, any source who had access to that memo would have known all about it, which would explain the strict handling instructions).

Ridiculous. Think of the implications. Why aren't ALL sensitive documents written on obsolete typewriters then? And are you suggesting that government agents might be scanning his workstation for radiation to get clues? Are they scanning all PCs in all offices of all newspapers? Or if they were only scanning Michael Smith's, then why not just execute a search? It would be justifiable, given he has secret government documents.

The copying was to be done to eliminate hidden embedded codes that would show up on an exact facsimile or photocopy. How is scanning his PC for radiation going to pick up those clues? In this respect, there is no advantage whatsoever between typing the document out from scratch on a PC and typing the document out from scratch on an obsolete typewriter.

Ridiculous on about a dozen levels. Swap "scanning for clues via radiation" with plain old "hacking" and it's still a ridiculous assertion.



I still don't see why you want unusual logistical details not normally provided in articles based on leaked memos.

Wanting to know why he copied out the memos (that bit has been answered), copied them on a typewriter, reported on them, and showed them to people... all the time failing to inform everyone that they were only copies is NOT wanting unusual logistical details.

IMHO.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:56 AM on June 23, 2005


Intelligence agencies and other government bodies often release documents that should remain out of the public eye with minor changes on each copy which allows them to identify the source of the leak in the event that it is made public. Anyone who knows of this little tactic would be sure to retype the document so that the identifier in the text or formatting was removed. The other worry from above seems to be TEMPEST equipment and van eck radiation.

I don't see what the fuss is about uncanny. Oh and btw - you can stop going on about the fake soldier pics thread. We remember you being right. Other people were right too, but they don't harp on about it endlessly like it's some sort of McDonalds grill proficiency badge. I know you are dedicated in your pursuit of truth but you are really barking up the wrong tree here. Could you make it really, really obvious why it's important whether he told people the documents were original or not?
posted by longbaugh at 3:55 AM on June 23, 2005



Ridiculous. Think of the implications. Why aren't ALL sensitive documents written on obsolete typewriters then?


In Western countries (including Australia), sensitive government documents are written on computers that don't emit radiation. It's covered in the link I posted.

And are you suggesting that government agents might be scanning his workstation for radiation to get clues?...

This is what I'm saying: If you were leaking a document, you would want to insure that the lucky journalist you've chosen to do business with took very good care of the material you'd just given him. Just carrying the documents out of your office is a criminal offence which will end your career and possibly send you to jail if you're caught. You don't know for sure that you weren't spotted. You don't know if your journalist buddy happens to be under investigation for something completely unrelated. So, yes, you ask that the journalist takes very good care of these sensitive documents. As a prudent leaker, you consider all the risks. These include seizing the physical copies ("so destroy any that you keep"), and seizing the computer (which requires a warrant) or scanning from a distance (which doesn't require a warrant) ("so don't use a computer"). There are probably others.

...is NOT wanting unusual logistical details.

It is, actually, unless you demand similarly detailed disclosures of everything you read that is based on leaks. Most people don't, but if that's your practice, I apologise and wish you well.
posted by senor biggles at 4:49 AM on June 23, 2005


Oh and btw - you can stop going on about the fake soldier pics thread. We remember you being right. Other people were right too, but they don't harp on about it endlessly like it's some sort of McDonalds grill proficiency badge.

OK then, sizzlechest. Enough about the photos.

You might think it boring, but it was an epiphany for me. A crowd of otherwise intelligent people debating not on what was obvious, but debating "backwards" from their own personal left-right perspective.

"Hmmm, let me see. If these photos are fake then which side of the left-right blogosphere will get the most satisfaction? The right? OK then, therefore the photos must be real."

I could not believe the childish carry-on.

That, and it was a very good analogy for the high jinks in this thread.

So I'll try, longbaugh, just for you (and the dozen-plus other people I've probably annoyed by mentioning it!). I'll try really reeelly hard not to talk about it agian. Marge Simpson style.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:03 PM on June 23, 2005


Could you make it really, really obvious why it's important whether he told people the documents were original or not?


This is how I see it. There are some edumucated guesses in here, so I'll graciously back down if I've got bits wrong.

1. Michaels Smith gets his hands on some "explosive" memos.
2. He gets them retyped to remove any "minor changes", as you put it.
3. He gets them retyped on an obsolete machine. Some people claim this is because government agents could have been peeping over his shoulder with a van eck radiation detector. How this will identify the "minor changes" (and therefore the leak) when compared to a typewriter still hasn't been properly explained to me.
4. Does he type them up in note form so he can simply refer back to them and report from them? No. He gets them typed up to look like the real thing.
5. They are circulated widely.
6. When they are being circulated widely, does he mention to people that they aren't the real thing? That they just look like the real thing and he swears that the words are the same? No.

Personally, I find that either.

1. Sloppy.
2. Stupid.
3. Devious.

And you know what? I really hope that it's 0% a case of point 3. Honestly. Because I'm sick of all the lies and crap and I'm starting to question nearly everything I get told. I'm becoming a right cynic.

That was very poor form from Michael Smith, no matter which way you look at it. And I'd like him to explain his reasons.



(Apologies for the numbered post. I try and avoid that technique most times. I hope I didn't come across as being too aloof and self righteous.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:59 PM on June 23, 2005


I'll have a wee bash at the answer to 3 for you - using TEMPEST equipment it's possible to "see" what is being shown on a computer monitor. If you have the original documents in electronic format then any identifiable sections of text may be visible. If the word "and" is duplicated at some point in the document and it's typed up exactly as written then it specifically identifies the individual copy and thus shows who has leaked the document.

The question you then ask - "Why didn't he tell people they were copies?"

I'm sorry but I don't see why he would need to. Why does it matter? I wouldn't expect anyone to be handing out the original documents when the subject is as important as it is. That would be madness. I apologise if I sound stupid but I am having massive difficulty understanding your concern. The content of the documents was confirmed by the people most likely to be hurt by them. A shitty example follows.

You write a note saying "longbaugh is a spaz" and someone then brings me a note that states "longbaugh is a spaz" or "longbaugh = spaz". I see the 2nd note and then go up to you and say "dude - did you call me a spaz?" and you say "Yes. Yes I did". You have confirmed that you called me a spaz, even though the documents were not the originals. The person who gave me the note never explained that the note was not original nor that it was rewritten, but then, that's unimportant because I got confirmation that you called me a spaz, directly from you.
posted by longbaugh at 5:22 PM on June 23, 2005


You write a note saying "longbaugh is a spaz" and someone then brings me a note that states "longbaugh is a spaz" or "longbaugh = spaz". I see the 2nd note and then go up to you and say "dude - did you call me a spaz?" and you say "Yes. Yes I did".

:)



You have confirmed that you called me a spaz, even though the documents were not the originals.

Close but no cigar. As far as I can tell there has been no confirmation by an identifiable source. The closest I can find is an unnamed source who said they appeared authentic.

To me, that looks very much like an "i" that is missing a dot.

Also, while you're in the mood: Sloppy? Stupid? Devious? None of the above?

Again I'm guessing, but wouldn't he have had to circulate these memos first, before there could be any unnamed source saying they appeared authentic? Why didn't he say they were retyped copies when he began to distribute them? Sloppy? Stupid? Devious?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:47 PM on June 23, 2005


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