The Pentagon Papers: The First Time as Tragedy, the Second Time As Farce
March 31, 2004 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Pentagon Flunky Misplaces 9/11 Talking Points at Starbucks A Pentagon employee left documents with talking points to help Donald Rumsfeld deal with questions about 9/11 on Sunday political chat shows. The employee is almost certainly due to get fired, because the documents even included a hand-drawn map to Donald Rumsfeld's house! (Note: documents in pdf file.)
posted by jonp72 (13 comments total)
The best line in the whole document, on ben-Veniste:
He is writing a book about the string of reports and just wants to make a lot of money. Ann Coulter and Robert Novak told me that he can't deal with an African-American woman.

Golden. What a find.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:01 PM on March 31, 2004

I should point out that a large number of those points were answered by the american progress site...making all but one of those pages moot imho. Why turn yourself into a shrill harpy when you have plenty of ammo sitting right there? That should have been 1-2 pages.
posted by Dantien at 12:08 PM on March 31, 2004

In case anyone else is confused, as I was, about the snarky comments on page 5: it appears that page was inserted by American Progress as a satirical reply to the talking points questions. It's a shame they did that, though. It undermines the entire document's credibility.

On preview: exactly, Dantien
posted by 4easypayments at 12:12 PM on March 31, 2004

That page wasn't in the original documents, but was added by the website. It pretty much destroys the site's credibility.

Lame. In the future, hand these things over to The Smoking Gun; they know what to do with them.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:12 PM on March 31, 2004

Another somewhat disingenuous bit about this - the hand-drawn map of Rumsfeld's residence on the last page. They covered up the center, but left a major cross-street name in plain sight. Take that info, do a little googling and mapquesting and it's not too hard to figure out exactly (within a block or so) where Donald Rumsfeld lives. It took me about 10 minutes. If they were really that concerned about national security (the reason they give for redacting the chunk in the middle), they should have been a bit more thorough, imho.

(Side Note: Maybe it's just me, but it felt weird to look up Rumsfeld's residence - like I was doing something wrong just to satisfy my curiosity.)
posted by kokogiak at 12:50 PM on March 31, 2004

What I want to know is, where's Talking Points Memo on this whole thing?

Guy's been blogging off-topic for five years now - time to snap back into focus, ain't it?
posted by soyjoy at 12:51 PM on March 31, 2004

The CAP didn't alter the original document (other than covering up most of the directions to Rummy's house); they added their response to the documents as part of the download package, and it's clearly marked as such. They should have provided the raw documents as a separate download, but that's a fairly inconsequential mistake -- their credibility is far from "destroyed." I agree that they should have blurred the street names, though.

Regarding the forgetful person who left the pages on the table, I'm compelled to paraphrase Captain Dudley, James Cromwell's character from "L.A. Confidential" ...

"I wouldn't trade places with Special Assistant Eric right now for all the whiskey in Ireland."
posted by chuq at 12:54 PM on March 31, 2004

kokogiak, I think that was more of CAP's "satire" - I mean, really, Donald Rumsfeld's address is a big, big secret no one can possibly know? 100,000,000 Internet users beg to differ...
posted by JollyWanker at 1:41 PM on March 31, 2004

If it's satire, then it flew right over my head. The seriousness of the issue and of their general presentation of the pdf file led me to believe they were being genuine. The fact that we're debating in this thread whether or not parts of this document were altered - or were meant as satire - should be evidence enough that it's either bad satire or a poorly presented document.

At any rate, nothing in this document seems particularly surprising or damning, no? Or is it just me continuing to be cynical.
posted by kokogiak at 2:06 PM on March 31, 2004

PDF file seems to have dissapeared. Trying to download it takes you back to the front page.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:38 PM on March 31, 2004

Yup... anyone want to make the pdf available, perhaps as a torrent if you want to save the bandwidth?
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:45 PM on March 31, 2004

I didn't have any problem opening the pdf. maybe they just hit a traffic snag or something when y'all tried?

I think adding things in the middle of the document, or any editorial alterations with the exception of the block on the address, makes the entire document suspect.
posted by dejah420 at 9:36 PM on March 31, 2004

I think adding things in the middle of the document, or any editorial alterations with the exception of the block on the address, makes the entire document suspect.

Totally. That is a tactic that is probably even below the Heritage Foundation, and I'm not entirely convinced that it's real smart to wave around the fact that you have a copy of the talking points of an administration you oppose immediately after you get them. Poor move, ethically, and strategically.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:33 AM on April 1, 2004

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