Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 19, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

DOWNING STREET DELUSIONS....The wingnuts are getting desperate. Captain's Quarters, in a nostalgic attempt to recreate the glories of Rathergate, suggests that the Downing Street Memos aren't real. Why? Because Michael Smith, the reporter who got hold of them, had them retyped to protect his source and then returned the originals. Jonah Goldberg feverishly calls CQ's revelations a "must read."

Now, unlike the Killian memos that were at the center of Rathergate, there are quite a few principals in this case who either wrote or received these memos and therefore have absolute knowledge of whether or not they're genuine. The first memo, for example, was written by Matthew Rycroft and distributed at the time to David Manning, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, Richard Dearlove, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, and Alastair Campbell. So far, not a single one of these people has claimed they're fake.

In fact, just the opposite. Here's Tony Blair himself on May 1, the day the first memo was published:

In a Sunday morning television interview, Mr. Blair did not deny that the meeting took place in July 2002, but he recalled that "subsequent to that meeting, we went the United Nations route," seeking a resolution in November 2002, calling on the Iraqi government to disarm.

Here's Knight Ridder on May 5:

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.

Here's the Washington Post on June 12:

Excerpts were made available to The Washington Post, and the material was confirmed as authentic by British sources who sought anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.

Give it up, guys. They're real.

Kevin Drum 1:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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