Drudge: Leaked documents prove TNR’s Beauchamp story has collapsed? Update: Drudge pulls documents? Update: TNR preparing to torpedo Drudge? Update: TNR editor doesn’t dispute accuracy of docs

posted at 1:46 pm on October 24, 2007 by Allahpundit

Haven’t even had time to read it yet. Just tossing it up so that you guys have a place to comment while you read it yourselves. At a glance, though, the key document appears to be a transcript of a September 7 interview between TNR and Beauchamp. TNR conspicuously never reported the details of that conversation; the only reason we even know it happened is because Kirk Luedeke, the PAO at Beauchamp’s base, mentioned it to Bob Owens.

Stand by for boatloads of updates, no doubt. Your opening exit question: How’d Drudge get the documents?

Update: Obviously the documents come from the military. Did they go straight from the base to Drudge, I wonder? Or was there a blogger middleman?

Update: All right, I’m through the first part of the transcript. It reads, I kid you not, like a scene from “Shattered Glass.” All that’s missing is, “Are you mad at me, Frank?” It should be noted that Beauchamp’s squad leader and a specialist are in the room with him at the time, so while he insists that he’s free to speak his mind, there’s obviously some question about how true that is. As for the substance, it’s seven pages of Beauchamp hanging TNR completely out to dry. Sample:

doc1.jpg

The subject of a full retraction is broached — and our hero seemingly couldn’t care less:

doc2.jpg

And finally, the inevitable heart-ache:

doc004.jpg
doc005.jpg

Now here’s where it gets interesting: Foer passes along a message from Beauchamp’s wife essentially begging him not to recant. TNR’s executive editor had warned Beauchamp earlier in the conversation that he’d likely never work as a writer again if a retraction is issued, so severe would the damage to his credibility be. As such, you can read his wife’s appeal as either a plea to her husband to preserve his career options or a plea not to let TNR lose face — or a plea for Beauchamp to stand by his story because it’s true and she knows it:

doc3.jpg

Whether it’s ethical for Foer to be leaning on Beauchamp with appeals from his own wife during what’s ostensibly a fact-finding conversation I’ll leave for you to judge.

Early on, Foer mentions that they can’t pass “final judgment” without having this conversation with Beauchamp. A month later, still not a peep. When is that final judgment coming, pray tell?

Stand by for transcript part 2.

Update: All right, done with part 2. More high drama as Foer and executive editor Peter Scoblic realize how much crap Beauchamp’s willing to see them — and his wife — eat to conclude this on his end. “[I]f it hurts you or hurts my wife, which I know it will, then I’m really sorry.”

doc6.jpg

And later:

doc7.jpg

The document ends with a copy of the “Memorandum of Understanding” from his Colonel accusing him of having violated regulations by publishing details about his unit’s deployment dates on his blog. Bloggers following this story had speculated in the past about whether he’d be administratively reprimanded for that. They have their answer.

The transcript also recounts Beauchamp authorizing his lawyer to obtain copies of his statements to the Army and to release them to TNR. Ace e-mails to speculate that the leak to Drudge may have come at the end, either from within TNR itself or from within the lawyer’s office. I find it hard to believe Foer would let general staff have access to these documents, especially given the internal leak that helped drive this story at the beginning. (See the updates about “gracie” here.) I think it’s an Army leak.

Stand by for the third document.

Update: Document 3 is the findings of the Army investigation. No drama here, just the meat. I’ll spare you their finding that no one saw a disfigured woman at FOB Falcon; TNR’s already admitted that, claiming that the incident happened in Kuwait instead. Read this closely, as one line will live in your memory forever:

memoa.jpg
memob.jpg

A little more:

memoc.jpg

The report goes on to recommend a “mental health consultation.” The irony of all this is that it won’t change anyone’s mind. The left will dismiss the statements as coerced, even the circumstantial evidence re: the dog-killing. And then, in a year or two, when Beauchamp’s out of the service he’ll write a new piece for TNR or Vanity Fair or whoever claiming that it’s all true and he was “silenced” and you’ll just have to take his golden word for it, and then they’ll turn him into a free speech martyr. Whatevs.

Now the wait begins for TNR’s response.

Update: Hmmm. The Drudge link still exists but the links to the documents don’t, and he’s removed the item from the front page. The Army documents look too real to have been forged but did he get snookered on the transcript?

Update: A cryptic post from K-Lo at the Corner: “We’re hearing from The New Republic that the Drudge story isn’t the damning evidence it suggests to be … stay tuned.” They flipped the script!

Update (Bryan): I just rang up TNR’s offices and asked for Franklin Foer. He’s in a meeting at the moment. I wonder what it might be about.

Update (Bryan): From my admittedly limited experience with military justice (traffic tickets really don’t count for much), I don’t buy the coercion possibility as being very high. In the grand scheme, STB rates pretty low as a military criminal, and the incidents of which he wrote don’t, for the most part, amount to crimes. They amount mostly to misconduct that reflects poorly on the character of his mates (or himself, since what he wrote isn’t true). The military’s tendency in this war (think LtCol Allen West, and Illario Pantano, and Haditha) has been to prosecute first and ask questions later. Based on that and the fact that at the end of the day no officer in his or her right mind is going to risk burning a career over getting false confessions out of the likes of STB, I just don’t see coercion being much of a possibility. The more likely possibility, and the one that I believe is true, is that faced with the possibility of being caught lying under oath to the Army, he fessed up.

But never mind that. The fact is, according to the conversation transcript, he doesn’t stand by the stories anymore. Based on that and that alone, TNR has to retract them. How can they stand by stories that their own author doesn’t?

Update: K-Lo has updated to say she’s spoken to Jonathan Chait and he doesn’t dispute the legitimacy of the documents, merely Drudge’s characterization of them as a confession. Fair enough; it’s true that Beauchamp doesn’t admit to anything. It’s one, long 16-page “no comment” with Frank Foer and Peter Scoblic and, by extension, Beauchamp’s own wife begging him not to recant. Draw your own conclusions.

Jeff Emanuel has more circumstantial evidence proving the transcript is genuine.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Not Just TNR, I’m awaiting the Andrew Sullivan statement.

Can we now expect apologies from the people who smeared and maligned the magazine and its soldier-reporter? I doubt it. The attackers are not the kind to acknowledge their own errors.

Damn kettle!!!

sunny on October 24, 2007 at 3:39 PM

Looks like Drudge pulled the link to his story.

RushBaby on October 24, 2007 at 3:40 PM

I retract (see how easy that was?) my claim that the Army leaked this.

They didn’t.

Bob Owens on October 24, 2007 at 2:24 PM

Care to explain?

MamaAJ on October 24, 2007 at 3:42 PM

Feeling as I do about marriage (24 years, 5 months, 17 days – best), and the military’s difficult duties, my heart goes out to this guy. To have something as pathetic and meaningless as politics allow him to get into a position where he is hearing from some a$$hole (Foer) how much this is going to hurt his (Beauchamp’s) wife, while he is in Iraq and unable to discuss it with her?

Absolutely brutal. Hopefully, they’ll be able to put aside their America hatred/leftism issues and focus on the importance of their marriage and get through this.

That said, the irony of the Army leaking docs to Drudge is giving me a good chuckle. And the image of Foer and his monkey sweating it out over this is almost too good.

Jaibones on October 24, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Rush Baby: so he did! interesting…

see-dubya on October 24, 2007 at 3:44 PM

pdfs were deleted too. hmmm.

lorien1973 on October 24, 2007 at 3:45 PM

Sounds to me like the “people to the right and left of me” (squaddies, I assume) let him know how unhappy they were with his attitude, and how unlikely they’d be to worry too much about Scottie catching a bullet.

But that’s just me. Probably.

mojo on October 24, 2007 at 3:47 PM

… and everyone in his unit wouldn’t mind if a bullet found him.

PRCalDude on October 24, 2007 at 3:00 PM

Oddly enough, I am certain that this is not true.

Jaibones on October 24, 2007 at 3:48 PM

WTF? They’re gone…did he get a C&R?

Bad Candy on October 24, 2007 at 3:48 PM

Sigh…a C&D?

Bad Candy on October 24, 2007 at 3:49 PM

Didn’t TNR claim the Army was preventing Beauchamp from speaking with the press? Now it seems they were the ones asking him not to speak with Newsweek and the Post.

mikeyboss on October 24, 2007 at 3:52 PM

Snookered? The New Republic is talking, sort of.

Slublog on October 24, 2007 at 3:54 PM

Oddly enough, I am certain that this is not true.

Jaibones on October 24, 2007 at 3:48 PM

Yeah. I should’ve thought twice before writing that.

PRCalDude on October 24, 2007 at 4:00 PM

Snookered?

CYA, again. After the fact. Doesn’t matter — it’s out there now.

mesablue on October 24, 2007 at 4:04 PM

Dammit, I just got done wasting half an hour at work reading those PDFs and now Drudge has pulled them from his site?

I’M OUTRAGED!

Enrique on October 24, 2007 at 4:05 PM

Is it likely that TNR has more documents ?

But again this whole situation was created by their own stonewalling

William Amos on October 24, 2007 at 4:06 PM

I just typed the documents out on a 1966 IBM Selectric Typewritter and they match perfectly.

I’m not sure what that means but I’m on it.

sunny on October 24, 2007 at 4:10 PM

PRCalDude on October 24, 2007 at 4:00 PM

Good on you.

baldilocks on October 24, 2007 at 4:12 PM

I’M OUTRAGED!

Enrique on October 24, 2007 at 4:05 PM

They can’t poison our red meat. This gets curiouser and curiouser.

Jaibones on October 24, 2007 at 4:13 PM

Update (Bryan): I just rang up TNR’s offices and asked for Franklin Foer. He’s in a meeting at the moment. I wonder what it might be about.

Hopefully a resignation is forthcoming

William Amos on October 24, 2007 at 4:16 PM

Bob O. says the Army didn’t leak the docs.

Ace says he knows who gave them to Drudge.

Drudge pulled the docs.

TNR thinks it’s a big deal that Drudge doesn’t have one of the docs…when he actually pulled all of them.

I’m gonna go play with the kids and come back later when all is clearer.

MamaAJ on October 24, 2007 at 4:17 PM

“We’re hearing from The New Republic that the Drudge story isn’t the damning evidence it suggests to be … stay tuned.”

That doesn’t sound like a denial, exactly, does it? If any of the docs were fakes, wouldn’t TNR already have a post up about it? I’ll suspend judgment, but it would appear that Drudge has beaten the grass and startled the snakes.

Karl on October 24, 2007 at 4:21 PM

Bob at confederate yankee said he tried to get the documents via FOIA. Is possible that is how drudge got them.

William Amos on October 24, 2007 at 4:23 PM

link is gone on drudge.

Kaptain Amerika on October 24, 2007 at 4:27 PM

Has John Cole had his blood pressure checked lately?

Jim Treacher on October 24, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Who cares who leaked it to whom? No one cares who leaked national secrets to the NY Times or Wash Post. No one cares that Sandy Berger stole and destroyed secret documents. If conservative politicians and media allow this to become some kind of controversy we deserve the fascist state the democrat party is fashioning.

peacenprosperity on October 24, 2007 at 4:34 PM

I’m waiting for:

1) “This is old news.”
2) “Beauchamp’s writings reveal ‘larger truths’ about the Army.
3) “I question the timing.”
4) Something about a ‘right wing smear machine’.

Matticus Finch on October 24, 2007 at 4:40 PM

Anyone want to bet that TNR envokes the new democratic party reporter sheild law and threatened drudge ?

William Amos on October 24, 2007 at 4:40 PM

Update (Bryan): I just rang up TNR’s offices and asked for Franklin Foer. He’s in a meeting at the moment. I wonder what it might be about.

Best laugh of the day!

JustTruth101 on October 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM

It looks like TNR is simply pointing out that he doesn’t actually confess in the transcript, which I noticed myself. It’s still practically a confession.

DaveS on October 24, 2007 at 4:46 PM

I have the impression that The New Republic likes leaks a lot less when it is the “leakee”.

Blaise on October 24, 2007 at 4:48 PM

Ace says the docs are legit:

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/244463.php

bnelson44 on October 24, 2007 at 4:50 PM

My prediction of what’s going to happen to “The New Republic” (kinda of like what happened to “The 1000-Yr Reich”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFZvCJYDme0

MikeHu on October 24, 2007 at 4:57 PM

Looks like the entire story is gone from Drudge’s site now.

SailorDave on October 24, 2007 at 5:17 PM

Really, when you do an update like this you really should post the time, right? No clue if this was 2pm, 4pm, or just now.
DKK

“Update (Bryan): I just rang up TNR’s offices and asked for Franklin Foer. He’s in a meeting at the moment. I wonder what it might be about.”

LifeTrek on October 24, 2007 at 5:19 PM

In addition to the Ace link above, Blackfive saw these transcripts weeks ago and thinks they are real.

Karl on October 24, 2007 at 5:21 PM

Has John Cole had his blood pressure checked lately?

Jim Treacher on October 24, 2007 at 4:28 PM

He seems more in need of an EEG.

Karl on October 24, 2007 at 5:23 PM

KJL at The Corner says TNR doesn’t dispute the authenticity:

I’ve talked to Jonathan Chait at TNR and he doesn’t dispute the accuracy of the documents but he does dispute the analysis that was on Drudge.

amerpundit on October 24, 2007 at 5:23 PM

About that “non-confession” thing. KJL updated with a comment from a reader:

Looking at the documents, it appears that the Army has documents in which Thomas admitted his stories were false. He doesn’t confess on the phone call, but the Army’s Article 15 documents refer to statements he made admitting their falsehood. Moreover, the findings need to be based on a preponderance of evidence, which suggests that, while the kid may be in over his head, he was also lying in his stories. TNR needs to acknowledge these facts, if they want to retain any semblance of journalistic credibility.

amerpundit on October 24, 2007 at 5:26 PM

Ace is right, AP, you’re paranoid.

PRCalDude on October 24, 2007 at 5:31 PM

How can they stand by stories that their own author doesn’t?

Exactly.

Matticus Finch on October 24, 2007 at 5:39 PM

When he’s out of the military he’ll come back and say they threatened to send him to Gitmo and water board him. He’ll be the toast of the nutroots.

roux on October 24, 2007 at 5:44 PM

Scott’s upcoming tell-all book title:

BIG TWO-FACED REIVER

(A “reiver” being a border raider, since Faulkner, more than Hemingway, indulged in outright fantasia.)

profitsbeard on October 24, 2007 at 6:13 PM

So we dont know if the wife knew this was BS or not? I think that answer will determine who the real villain is in this story. Beauchamp strikes me as a dopey kid from this interview. He seems just out of touch with reality and very immature.

Whoever was supposed to fact check is the prime jackass in this situation. Followed by those who covered for this obvious nonsense.

However, if the wife knew this was BS she wins the jackass race.

Dash on October 24, 2007 at 6:21 PM

maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way.

STB sacrificed his future writing career to take down an obnoxious set of anti-war journalists in a time of war, in a messy verbal explosion. He was like a human claymore taking out a chunk of the fifth column, luring them into a trap of their own warped percetions.

Give him a medal, I say. “Presidential Medal of Stickin’ It to the Press Weasels” has a nice ring to it. Make it a nice bronze typewriter.

sulla on October 24, 2007 at 6:52 PM

How would the wife know? I think it unlikely that STB was sending in his tall tales and then turning around and telling his wife he was lying through his teeth. I suspect he married her as an “in” to the journalism profession (being too lazy to actually earn it) and was no more interested in telling her the truth than he was telling Foer.
Either way, it sounds like the Army gave him one serious if belated wake-up call. The guy doesn’t have the brainpower to look ahead past the next hangover, but it sounds as if he’s not too sure about his ambition to be a writer. For now, anyway.

Lancer on October 24, 2007 at 6:53 PM

So, when can we expect TNR’s public and published apology to the men and women serving in Iraq?

GT on October 24, 2007 at 6:59 PM

New York Observer

TNR’s Foer: Drudge’s Documents Could Have Come Only From the Army

Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic, said in an interview that the documents Matt Drudge posted this afternoon–and removed several hours later without explanation–could have only come from the Army.

Mr. Foer said he called TNR’s contact there, Major Kirk Luedeke, as soon as the documents appeared on Drudge’s Web site. According to Mr. Foer, Major Luedeke told him that the Army was “investigating the source of the leak,” though they did not explicitly take responsibility for it.

“It’s maddening to see the Army selectively leak to the Drudge Report things that we’ve been trying to obtain from them through Freedom of Information Act requests,” Mr. Foer said. “This fits a pattern in this case where the army has leaked a lot of stuff to right wing blogs.”

Mr. Foer said TNR had been trying since July to get access to some of the documents Mr. Drudge posted, but that the Army had not cooperated.

The important point here is he does not dispute the accuracy of the documents and he would be screaming if they were bogus

CommentGuy on October 24, 2007 at 7:37 PM

Don’t worry Scott, you can always be a writer for Truthout.

Seixon on October 25, 2007 at 3:34 AM

Ahhh…, the schadenfreude… It’s almost, er…, orgasmic. :)

Rugged Individual on October 25, 2007 at 1:12 PM

Comment pages: 1 2