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9/25/2004
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS OF RATHERGATE
CATEGORY: General

The following is a list, by no means complete, of questions that still remain to be answered about Rathergate:

1. Who gave Burkett the documents?

This one’s a toughie. There’s been a lot of speculation in the blogosphere that the documents were created as early as February. A PDF stamp on one of the docs uses Feb. 6 as a creation date. Others point out that, if the docs were created on a general use computer like those found at Kinkos, the PDF stamp could be in error due to technical issues that involve not resetting the date/time stamp after a meltdown. What we know for sure is suspicious. Newsmax reports that an April 27 Kerry press release mentions “verbal orders” to suspend Bush for missing the flight physical dated Aug. 1 as a “fact.” One of the memos cites Killians “verbal orders” of Aug 1 to suspend Bush and includes the relevant AF Manual provision. So does the Kerry press release!The Kerry release did not cite news sources for these “facts” but rather “Aeronautical orders”...”

Perhaps the Kerry press release references a Bush TANG document dump that occurred in Mid-February. Efforts to secure any relevant material from White House documents that were released then have not been successful. At the very least, this connection is very curious. More than 4 months before Rathergate, the Kerry campaign had chapter and verse of Bush’s failure to obey “verbal orders.” It is therefore possible that the documents were fabricated between the time Bush’s TANG records came out in Februrary and the April 27th Kerry press release. This brings us to another question…

2. How did the fabricator have such detailed knowledge of Bush’s TANG records?

It isn’t just the terminology, font, typefacce etc. that’s suspicious it’s the fact that SOMEONE HAD DETAILED KNOWLEDGE OF BUSH’S TANG RECORDS TO MAKE THE FABRICATIONS BELIEVEALBE!

Bill Burkett isn’t this smart or clever. Whoever fabricated the documents would have had to pore over Bush’s TANG records and come up with the appropriate dates, personnel, situations, and perhaps most importantly, the tone and tenor of the memos that would match what’s known of Killian. (Remember, both granny Knox and General Strong said the memos “sounded” like Killian.) I’ve tried my limited best to search for these docs on the net and can’t find them. I’ve searched both candidates web sites as well as the White House site…no go. We know that the easiest way to get these documents (if they’re not on the net) was through 1 of 2 places: either someone from the press who was researching these docs or one of the campaigns. I may be wrong on this but if this would be true, it sure would be a curious coincidence.

3. What did the Democrats know and when did they know it?

Former Gore campaign aid Tony Coehlo claims that he heard of these docs floating around as far back as 2000. He even hinted that the docs were offered to the Gore campaign but were turned down (not likely but sure makes a good story!) Then all of a sudden, the docs resurface and it becomes general knowledge among press people pursuing the story that the docs exist and Bill Burkett has them.

“The American Spectator” article of 9/10 says that an oppo resarcher at the DNC had the memos 6 weeks before the CBS broadcast and that they had been seen by “senior staff members of both the DNC and the Kerry campaign.” Six weeks before the CBS broadcast would have been mid-July, right before the Democratic convention. If you’ve never been to a political convention, you wouldn’t believe the kooks, crazies, and political groupies that come out of the woodwork. They mill around hotel lobbys and coffee shops. It would not be beyond imagination to think that the DNC was able to get a hold of the memos at the convention…especially if Burkett was NOT the fabricator in the first place.

I think we can narrow down the time period to when the Democrats got a hold of these memos: sometime between April and July. They certainly had them before September. What’s unclear is did CBS force their hand? Recall that 5 days before the 2000 election the Gore campaign dumped the Bush DUI story on the press. Were they looking for a repeat performance only to be stymied by CBS’s rush to get the story out?

4. Why would Mary Mapes put Lockhart in touch with Burkett?

Conventional wisdom points to a desire to coordinate the attack with the DNC “Fortunate Son” campaign. But what if its something else? What if Burkett had access to other more “damaging” documents? One of the authenticators of the CBS documents told “The National Review” that there were many more documents that CBS wanted him to sign off on. Was Lockhart, who probably had the CBS memos already, digging for additional dirt by asking Burkett what else he had on Bush? Pure speculation but fun nonetheless.

5. Will we ever get to the bottom of all this?

Three things have to happen for the whole story to come out. First, someone with subpoena power and the ability to convene a grand jury would have to investigate. Since the crime occurred in Texas, one would think that some enterprising Texas prosecutor would jump at the chance for such a high profile case. Not so. Since the originals have either been lost or destroyed, these documents are FABRICATIONS not FORGERIES. If one takes a document and alters it, that’s forgery. If one makes up a document that never existed, that’s a fabrication. And since no monetary loss was involved, no felony was committed.

A federal prosecutor may have a case for fabricating military documents. But sinec these documents are purported to hvae come from the personal files of Killian, such a scenario is unlikely.

Congress may want to investigate but, again, don’t hold your breath. Judging from reaction to Rep. Cox’s letter asking for such an investigation, it probably won’t fly.

The second thing that’s got to happen if we’re going to find out the truth is that Mr. Burkett has to roll. Since it won’t happen in the context of any legal investigation, Burkett will have to tell his story to the press. Since he’s totally discredited with the MSM, watch for Bill Burkett’s story coming to a tabloid near you! Like Donna Rice, anything Burkett says after selling his story will be viewed as suspect and we’ll be left to ponder how much of what we read is the truth and how much is part of Mr. Burkett’s troubled imagination.

The third thing that has to happen is that the CBS external investigation headed up by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh will find out anything relevant. What most may not be aware of is Thornburgh’s animus towards Karl Rove. Rove sued Thornburgh back in the 1980’s over a campaign debt owed to him and won. How much does Thornburgh want to help Rove out by revealing CBS collusion with the Kerry campaign? Not too damn much. Put this one down as a blind alley.

The answer to #5 is probably not…unless the person who originally fabricated the memos comes forward. I suspect like Watergate’s “Deep Throat” that individual’s identity will remain a mystery.

UPDATE: One more question occurred to me…in fact, it was the first thing I thought of when I’d heard that Burkett had called Max Cleland on his cell phone in his car…

6. How did Burkett get the private cell phone number of an ex-U.S. Senator?

Clearly, you don’t get the phone number of Max Cleland (or, if Burkett can be believed Howard Dean) by looking it up in the Yahoo white pages. Burkett had been meeting with Mary Mapes throughout the month of August. Could Burkett have asked for those numbers in return for the first two documents that were turned over on Aug. 21? That would make the subsequent quid pro quo with Joe Lockhart more understandable.

THe “Spectator” article can be found here.

By: Rick Moran at 10:47 am
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