Skip to comments.First, Find the Forger
Posted on 09/21/2004 9:21:43 PM PDT by neverdem
Whoever, having devised any scheme or artifice to defraud transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. " U.S. Criminal Code, Chapter 63, Section 1343.
WASHINGTON At the root of what is today treated as an embarrassing blunder by duped CBS journalists may turn out to be a felony by its faithless sources.
Some person or persons conceived a scheme to create a series of false Texas Air National Guard documents and append a photocopied signature to one of them. The perpetrator then helped cause the fraudulent file to be transmitted by means of television communication to millions of voters for the purpose of influencing a federal election.
That was no mere "dirty trick"; it could be a violation of the U.S. criminal code. If the artifice had not been revealed by sharp-eyed bloggers, a national election could have been swung by a blatant falsehood.
Who was the forger? Did others conspire with him or her to present a seeming government document - with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to defraud, which is a felony in Texas? Who was to benefit and how?
CBS News belatedly apologized and agreed to appoint independent examiners. That's a start.
The government and the courts have no business forcing journalists to reveal sources. But no ethic requires a journalist to protect a source who lied. Accordingly, Dan Rather went to the Texas ranch of his source and telecast Bill Burkett's admission of having falsely "thrown out the name" of someone who gave him the false evidence. Burkett now claims his real source was some hard-to-find mystery woman.
What benefit did the Bush-hating Burkett gain from CBS in return for his fake documents? One plausible answer: he got coveted access to someone high up in the Kerry campaign.
We learned last week that Burkett had reached Kerry's convention introducer, former Senator Max Cleland, to plead for access to higher-ups so as to launch a "counterattack." Cleland confirms getting the call and says he told him to try the D.N.C., (where Terry McAuliffe, as former prosecutor Joseph DiGenova noted on MSNBC, carefully denied a role only in the preparation of the documents).
When his call to headquarters was not returned, Burkett then asked Mary Mapes, the CBS producer, to help him gain the top-level Kerry access he so highly valued.
Only days before the telecast, Mapes or some other "60 Minutes" staff member delivered the goods: their "unimpeachable" source was paid off with a call from Joe Lockhart, the Clinton press aide newly hired to strip nuance out of Kerry's message. With the number supplied by CBS, Lockhart called Burkett. We don't know what was said, but the call from on high was payoff in itself.
What should CBS do now? First, release Rather's interview with Burkett in its entirety; viewers are entitled to the outtakes now. Next, let Mary Mapes, at the center of all this, speak to reporters. Third, expend some Viacom resources to track down the possible original sources, including the man whose name Burkett says he "threw out" to mislead CBS.
Appointing independent reviewers should not be a device to duck all others' questions; that's Kofi Annan's trick to stonewall his oil-for-food scandal. But lacking the power of a grand jury's subpoena or testimony under oath, victimized CBS cannot put real heat on the perpetrator or conspirators. We have hard evidence of crimes by low-level operatives here - from wire fraud to forgery - as well as the potential of high-level political involvement. Is no prosecutor prepared to enforce the law?
Conservatives should stop slavering over Dan Rather's scalp, and liberals should stop pretending that noble ends justify fake-evidence means. Both should focus on the lesson of the early 70's: from third-rate burglaries to fourth-rate forgeries, nobody gets away with trying to corrupt American elections.
Third rate forgery bump.
Oh, come on, Bill, that's way over the top, even for you! Enough of this! Mapes, Rather, Heyward and the rest are not innocent little wide-eyed street urchins. They engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the American public while unlawfully influencing a federal election. And now you're making excuses for them, Bill? Puleeeeeeeze!
I should think this indicts all the conspirators in this CBS scheme to defraud the public with forged memos. Including Mapes and Rather and Barnes....
I heard somewhere (Probably Fox)today that the Viacom Board is made up of liberals. Only one donation came from the top of Viacom to a Republican, and that person also donated to Kerry.
ping. Safire believes felonies have been comitted.
It's Bush's fault. Rove made him do it.
Funny how these big boys are a little behind the curve nowadays.
We need to get the FBI out asking these folks questions at some point. Let's see how anxious they are to lie with Martha Stewart fresh in their memories! This may have to keep until after the election but at least it should put the fear of G-d into some of these miscreants, eh Terry?
I've been saying this all along. Watergate finally was broken when Judge Sirica starting putting the burglars behind bars. They all broke except for Liddy. Same thing should happen here. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Lock 'em up.
They should throw the book at ALL pictured! That having been said,I just adore your new poster. LOL
Prosecuted by the dreaded ASHCROFT who'll probaby burn them at the stake, they might as well commit suicide!
Note to Democrats: Before the CBS investigation starts the chips falling, you people who are involved should fess up now while you can. If CBS starts gasping for air to survive, your bodies are going to be mere flotation devices.
LOL! Who's the guy with the suspenders and arm on Cleland's shoulder, and who's the female behind Mapes?
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