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September 29, 2004

FoxNews Ain't Afraid to Say the Obvious: Rathergate Forgeries Were Likely Criminal

It's about time:

Much has been written about CBS' concession that it can no longer vouch for the authenticity of the documents that served as the foundation of its Bush National Guard story. But another story is developing, one that could possibly lead someone not just to public humiliation, but to a jail cell.

...

In Texas, the state in which Burkett concedes the false National Guard memos originated, it is a felony to make or present two or more documents with knowledge of their falsity and with intent that they be taken as a genuine governmental record. Under the U.S. Code, use of an interstate telephone wire, such as the one used to transmit an image of the forged documents from Texas to CBS headquarters, triggers federal jurisdiction.

...

Burkett now insists that he presented the documents to CBS with the proviso that CBS verify them, but there is plenty of evidence that this conversation never took place, and that Burkett in fact presented them as genuine National Guard (search) documents. Indeed, CBS has insisted that prior to broadcast, it was satisfied after speaking with Burkett β€” whom they dubbed an "unimpeachable source" β€” that the two memos were real.

It defies logic that Burkett would first lie to CBS about the documents' source in an effort to foil verification (as he now suddenly says he did), and then tell CBS that the documents required verification. But if this is in fact the case, Burkett not only frustrated CBS' verification efforts, but necessarily closed his eyes to what otherwise would have been obvious to him: that the documents were fakes. That alone would probably be enough to satisfy a jury that Burkett knew the documents were fake when he presented them to CBS, which would result in a criminal conviction in a Texas court.

CBS has cause for concern, too. The documents were not just forged; they were obviously forged to the generation over age 40, which has used both a typewriter and a computer to write; CBS did not have to be misled about the source of the documents to be tipped that the documents were not real. While Burkett might have been willfully blind to things that would indicate that the memos were fake, there is mounting evidence that even CBS' experts told producers of 60 Minutes II that they could not verify that the documents were real. The story was aired – or in the terms of the Texas forgery statute, "presented" β€” in spite of this.

Brit Hume reported tonight that a gaggle of Congressional Republicans wrote a letter to the Texas Attorney General, suggesting that he open and investigation to determine if state or federal laws were violated. The AG says he's referred the matter to, ahem, the Texas Rangers.

Sounds like there's justice a-comin'.

Ace of Spades Justice.



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posted by Ace at 09:42 PM

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