Jun 19 2005

Media Faked Downing Memos?

Published by at 6:00 pm under All General Discussions,Downing Street Memos

Welcome Powerline readers! Welcome CQ readers!

Up front let me say I share Powerline’s skepticism regarding why anyone would go through the effort to forge such non-news. And the lack of any rebuttal from Blair’s administration is curious. But it is also curious why Mr. Smith had to find a typewriter and then not scan in the typewritten pages. Why did he not simply transcribe the contents into his PC? Maybe he will be forthcoming in the next days as to why he went through all these efforts. Therefore I see Capt Ed’s points as well. – AJStrata

I am bumping this to the top of the page – 6/19/06

The stunning confession by the UK reporter who has those vague and unsurprising Downing Street memos that he typed them from the originals, and then destroyed the originals, is too much.

Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals.

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

Why would one destroy the originals? You could copy them so as to hide incriminating evidence of who the UK government weasal is (and who should come forward on the record if he feels so strongly about this subject), but why destroy the originals. Was Dan Rather involved at all in this?

The only reason I hesitate to call the memos fake is the fact they are so innocuous. Why bother faking them? The memos talk about US and UK discussions 8 months out from the actual invasion, and unsurprisingly find US plans in flux and incomplete. The UK side is not keen on regime change, and many in this European country share the same biases about the US as their fellow Europeans. Big deal.

[OK. Concern about Bush’s last flight physical in the TANG is trivial too, granted]

If there was something truly incriminating I would have my doubts about the authenticity of the memos. But we all know there were plenty of doubts about Iraq which were debated for the next 8 months that followed the events in these memos (circa March July 2002). 8 months that included President Bush calling on Congress to support him, which they did in October 2002. 8 months that included President Bush going to the UN to call for a last resolution for Hussein to come clean or else, which they did November 2002. 8 months in which Hussein defied the UN resolution, ending in invasion.

So why destroy the originals? I understand this liberal reporter thinks (more like fantasizes) he has some Pulitzer Prize making goods on Bush, so why destroy the one tie to reality? While the international, liberal MSM draws wild conclusions in their memory erasing zeal over these memos (I could have sworn they reported on all this doubt, concern and hesitation prior to the war, but maybe it was some other press), I will have to conclude they are rea – and trivial.

Unless someone can show alterations from the originals.

Now THAT would be a story.


Unsurprisingly Ed Morrissey and Little Green Footballs see shades of 60 Minutes in all of this.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has updates on the original post above which expands on the ludicrous excuses given by Michael Smith, possibly a Dan Rather wannabe.

“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.”


As Morrissey properly asks, why a typewriter? Why not just type them into MSWord in a computer if you are worried about an evidentiary trail? The file name and date in the computer is as far back as anyone could track the information. Check out the PDF files at Rawstory and notice the attempt to make them look like copies of original typewritten documents – why the charade? Those are not copies of a new typewritten page, they have been put through the same multi-copy cycles as the Rathergate documents were to make them look old. But why? These are not from a few years ago? Why are these not scanned in with today’s basic technologies that are capable of clear reproductions of originals?

Obviously someone was trying to stage something. No one is going to use a typewriter in 2000 to document government records. And the fact these forgeries were copied multiple times to ‘age’ them shows a real ignorance about forging documents. Since the Smith admits these were typed this year, why the bogus aging? How does he explain that?

UPDATE III: These documents were scanned into PDF Sep 2004, the originals written circa July 2002. Again, why the poor quality unless there was a deliberate attempt to deceive the public?


I guess the other questions are why hold these since Sep 2004, when they were scanned? Is there any coincidence that Sep 2004 is the time of Dan Rather’s forgeries as fact story? Hmmmm.

Thanks to Morrissey and USS Neverdock for their work on this.

Check out these blown up snaps from the documents and realize these were supposedly newly typed documents (per Smith’s claim) scanned in Sept 2004, and then ask yourself why do they look like they have been copied a few times over:

Image 1

Image 2

Why all the extra effort on the typewriter instead of transcribing them into his PC? Why not scan the typewritten pages into PDF instead of copies that look like they have been copied numerous times? Why all this extra effort when transcribed PC files provide no path back to his source – which he claims is his motive.


There is a good discussion at All Things Conservative [hat tip Powerline] on the subject.


OK, Smith is a very common name so don’t take this too far – but hat tip to Little Green Footballs for pointing to a post at Scylla & Charybdis that recalls the reporter hired by Mary Mapes in the Rathergate story was also a Michael Smith. Of course the Mapes Smith supposedly lived in Texas, as I recall, and the DMS Smith is in the UK. But the coincidence is interesting.

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Media Faked Downing Memos?”

  1. Questions on Downing Street Memos

    Apparently the reporter re-typed the memos and then destroyed them. Or maybe he destroyed them first and then re-typed them from memory. AJ at the Strata-Sphere is all over this: Why would one destroy the originals? You could copy them so as to hide in…

  2. Decision '08 says:

    The Downing Street Memos Redux: Are They Real?

    AJ Strata and Captain Ed have been blogging pretty heavily on a confession by reporter Michael Smith, who first obtained the Downing Street Memos, that they aren’t originals (he destroyed the originals, he said, to protect the source). I’ll refer you…

  3. The Downing Street Memo Follies

    You’ve just got to LOVE the Moonbats who have taken over the Democrat Party!…

    First, a group of partisan nut-jobs bow to pressure from their extremist tin-foil headgear base and decide to hold make-pretend impeachment hearings in the basement of …

  4. Bryan C says:

    Hmm. They may have been re-copied as you suggest, but it’s also possible that someone may have just scanned them poorly. You can get similar results by scanning a printed page in low-resolution black-white (not grayscale) mode. Or by using an older fax machine that has a scanning/copying function.

    Not that that makes sense either. But it is possible.

  5. AJStrata says:

    Bryan, thanks for stopping by. I had considered that for a moment, and then realized this guy works for a top line news company which has all sorts of technology for capturing information and images. I also have little doubt this is not a scan of typewritten pages, even on low resolution. Can I prove it? Nope. But I go back to Mr. Smith’s own claim for his motivation: he did not want any evidence traceable back to his source. Well, transcribing them into a computer has no trace back to his source. So Mr. Smith needs to come up with a much better alibi than that. And he can answer the question as to why he had to copy the typewritten pages (look at the ‘fuzziness’ in the letters on all the scans to realize that is an artifact of photocopying – not scanning) before scanning them in.

    Thanks for your time and inputs.

  6. Skid says:

    Grasp for whatever straws you can fools!

  7. AJStrata says:

    Skid, Thanks for stopping by. I think I made clear the memos are unimpressive since they reflect the debates at the time and nothing more. I am simply trying to unravel the reporter’s statements, which make no sense. But, thankfully, we live in a free and open country where we can have our own opinions and ask questions.

  8. Seixon says:

    I think there is something everyone is missing here.
    When he talked about re-typing and destroying copies back in September, he is talking about the 6 previous documents which he unveiled back in September. He did not reveal anything about the DSM at the time. Why? I think that he didn’t have the DSM at that point in time. I think he got them after the US election.

    There are two exclusive sets of documents here. One is the package of 6 documents he wrote stories on in September 2004 (Daily Telegraph, September 18). These documents have been quoted by the Butler Commission, and are most likely authentic, even though I only found evidence of two of them being quoted or referenced in the Butler Commission Report.

    The second set of documents is the DSM itself, and the Briefing Paper. These two documents have no typewriter-written PDFs, like the previous six. Why is that?

    Is it perhaps because he didn’t get the DSM and Briefing Paper until later?

    I think it is.

    Read more at my blog:

  9. AJStrata says:

    Seixon, I did notice the one document was not in a PDF. I have to admit I was not all that interested in the memos since they state one persons opinion during a time of great debate. But if you are correct, then is even something more to be learned here. I be checking your site ASAP.

  10. http://macsmind.blogspot.com/2005/06/mr-smith-is-t

    Seems there is a blogger on a site called, “Think Progress”, who claims to have called C-BS and got a absolute confirmation that the two Michaels are not the same:

    “It took me a grand total of one phone call to CBS to see if this rumor was true. …

    [this may be a better link – http://macsmind.blogspot.com/2005/06/mr-smith-is-that-you-update-response.html, AJStrata 6/20/05]

  11. The Downing Street Memo

    I’ll reserve judgment on this for now as there aren’t enough facts to suit me. Take a look for yourself at the various posts which question the authority of the Downing Street Memo: Captain’s Quarters Strata-Sphere Powerline LGF – Little…

  12. […] The rumor is repeated on right-wing blogs here, here, here, here and here. […]

  13. […] Mac Ranger pointed out a glaring problem with the Sunday Times article – it was written by serial forger Micheal Smith. We were on of the early blogs that pointed out the insanity of the Downing Street Forgeries which caught Michael Smith making up ridiculous excuses for the forgery efforts – including the question of why type these memos on a ancient typewriter that is hard to find, age the documents through a series of copier cycles, all to hide the source when all that required was re-typing them into anyone’s MS Word to lose all source forensics? […]