Beauchamp update: When are leaks baaaad?

posted at 1:36 pm on October 25, 2007 by Bryan

When they don’t favor the left, evidently. Check out this post over at The Horse’s Mouth, a subsidiary of Talking Points Memo. Greg Sargent decries the awfulness and injusticeness and just plain meanness that is the leak of the Beauchamp docs.

There’s been a very interesting turn in the saga of The New Republic’s “Baghdad Diarist,” the American soldier in Iraq who’s been accused of fabricating negative stories about U.S. troops and publishing them in the mag.

For those of you who haven’t been following this story, the soldier, Scott Thomas Beauchamp, came under withering criticism a few months ago by conservative bloggers who alleged he’d made up the stories about the troops. The Army conducted an internal investigation into the affair and concluded he’d largely fabricated them. TNR has stuck by Beauchamp, demanding that the Army publicly reveal whatever documents it had supporting the probe’s conclusion. The Army has refused.

Well, guess what — the Army may not be willing to reveal its docs to TNR, the target of its investigation, but it has just acknowledged that someone internally has willingly leaked them to Matt Drudge.

This again calls into question the Army’s handling of this affair in a big way. It’s bad enough that the Army hasn’t been willing to show any transparency with regard to its probe into this. It’s worse still that someone — apparently an Army official — is leaking some of the probe docs to Drudge, likely as part of an effort to get back at TNR.

Actually, the leak might or might not have been intended to “get back at TNR.” That’s mind-reading that Sargent simply isn’t in any position to do. What the leak actually did was torpedo the raft of lies that Franklin Foer et al have been floating on for months now. The leak confirmed that TNR had spoken to Beauchamp despite their claims that the Army is not allowing him to speak, confirmed that TNR asked Beauchamp not to speak with other media outlets so that TNR could control the story (a story that they have a vested interest in, obviously, and therefore ought not be allowed to control), and confirmed that Foer was even willing to drag Beauchamp’s wife into the discussion as a weapon against him. It also confirmed that Beauchamp doesn’t stand by his stories and has signed official documents to that effect, and those documents detail the reasons why Beauchamp’s stories don’t hold up to the “rigorous fact-checking” and “re-reporting” that Foer claimed to be engaged in back in July. The leak has actually been instrumental in getting at the truth that Foer & co have tried to conceal.

I thought reality-based types are all about the truth. Evidently not.

Our friends on the left love it when someone in the government leaks to make the Bush administration or the military or the CIA etc look bad, and they hardly ever if ever object to the leaks even when they harm national security or make it easier for terrorists to evade detection. They love leaks from Gitmo that pass on terrorist propaganda as fact.

But this leak…baaaaad. Naughty leaker. Malignant Army. Total disgrace.

Next, the left will be out front calling for the leaker to be named, tried and discharged from the Army. They’ll burn a soldier’s career. For leaking some truth that they find inconvenient.

But Foer’s obviously unethical actions, they find

murky.

Your reality-based community in action, folks.

Senator John McCain, for one, isn’t surprised at how things are turning out.

More: In Iraq, Michael Yon writes that TNR has managed to make itself the villain in this story even while Beauchamp is on the path to redeem himself.

Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it.

As for The New Republic, some on the staff may feel like they’ve been hounded and treed, but it’s hard to feel the same sympathy for a group of cowards who won’t fess up and can’t face the scorn of American combat soldiers who were injured by their collective lapse of judgment. It’s up to their readers to decide the ultimate fate.

That last sentence doesn’t leave me optimistic that Foer et al will ever be forced to learn any of the hard lessons that Beauchamp is in the process of learning.

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…now the venerable Glenn Greenwald has jumped on the “ignore the liar…pay attention to the rightwing-military connection”. CONSPIRACY!!!!

StoutRepublican on October 25, 2007 at 1:52 PM

Speaking of Scott Thomas Beauchamp, Capt. Ed highlights something from Michael Yon on the subject.

KelliD on October 25, 2007 at 2:03 PM

Screw Greg Sargent with a baseball bat.

He’s a pig.

georgej on October 25, 2007 at 2:06 PM

Your reality-based community in action, folks.

Uh, what reality-based community is that? Bizarro community?

Rick on October 25, 2007 at 2:08 PM

Yon on Beauchamp at LGF

JiangxiDad on October 25, 2007 at 2:10 PM

KelliD on October 25, 2007 at 2:03 PM

Yon’s article is great. That is how I felt when reading the transcript. If it was genuine or not, he is there doing the job. A kid can get a second chance…

sunny on October 25, 2007 at 2:12 PM

Well, guess what — the Army may not be willing to reveal its docs to TNR, the target of its investigation, but it has just acknowledged that someone internally has willingly leaked them to Matt Drudge.

Excuse me, but just when and where did the Army investigate , charge and punish TNR? Did I miss something here?

CommentGuy on October 25, 2007 at 2:13 PM

Yon reports that Beauchamp is trying to atone for his actions by choosing to remain in Iraq and by choosing to serve with the men he defamed. Maybe that’s true. And maybe Beauchamp is very, very lucky to have the CO that he has.

We haven’t talked about it, but his CO *could* have preferred charges against him for conduct detremental to good order and disclipline, and had him court martialed.

I can’t say if Beauchamp has been “punished enough”, but Foer, clearly HAS NOT.

georgej on October 25, 2007 at 2:18 PM

It hasn’t been established – except in Greg Sargent’s mind – that the military has acknowledged any such thing. He bases that conclusion on Kurtz’s article which reads,

Foer said the Army has refused to turn over supporting documents in the case, despite a Freedom of Information Act request, and then “selectively leaked” material to Drudge. In an e-mail to the magazine yesterday, Army spokesman Maj. Kirk Luedeke said he was “surprised and appalled that this information was leaked” and that the military would investigate.

How does that admit that “someone internally” (in the Army) was the leaker? The admission – if one is required – will come after the investigation. I’d like to see the entire quote from Luedeke; I suspect that he didn’t make any such admission.

Laura on October 25, 2007 at 2:26 PM

There is a difference between leaking done (often by non-leaders) to expose the activities of leaders (Bush, Cheney, Clinton) and leaking done (often by leaders) to expose non-leaders (Wilson, Foer, etc.). I agree that it’s good to get to the bottom of the Beauchamp affair, but I don’t think this is the double standard it seems to be at first blush. When the weak expose the powerful, it’s a lot different than when the powerful expose the weak. And, in spite of its self-aggrandizement, TNR is weak (and getting weaker by the day). Foer may have deserved this, but it’s not hypocrisy to claim he didn’t.

calbear on October 25, 2007 at 2:27 PM

Just as I said from the beginning, Beauchamp is just a bum who’s been set up by TNR and his own wife to sex up stories.

Even if Beauchamp wasn’t there, TNR would have found another pawn to stick the story to. Beauchamp is interchangable, but the liberal narrative is what remains.

Niko on October 25, 2007 at 2:34 PM

I got to agree with Yon. I made a lot of dumbass mistakes when I was in my 20s that I would hate to have had held up my entire life. This guy messed up, but appears to be trying to get his head on straight.

He deserves another chance.

As for TNR? Bury them. No credibility at that Glass House.

JayHaw Phrenzie on October 25, 2007 at 2:36 PM

Just as I said from the beginning, Beauchamp is just a bum who’s been set up by TNR and his own wife to sex up stories.

Don’t you mean, “make up stories”? “Sex up” implies some level of truth not present here.

calbear on October 25, 2007 at 2:36 PM

Oh, and by the way – is it in bad taste to suggest that in all likelihood at least one person at TNR is actually hoping that something happens to Beauchamp in the line of duty?

Niko on October 25, 2007 at 2:36 PM

Don’t you mean, “make up stories”? “Sex up” implies some level of truth not present here.

calbear on October 25, 2007 at 2:36 PM

Well, it is true that a country named Iraq exists, and that Bradleys are vehicles.

Niko on October 25, 2007 at 2:38 PM

Its the same as the Rather memos.

Who cares if the facts aren’t actually facts, and the story never really happened. What matters is that it strokes their fantasies about how rotten things are with people they hate.

Kendrick on October 25, 2007 at 2:56 PM

This is why a business (yes, it’s a business) like TNR is able to survive repeated major blows to its credibility. It’s customers don;t care about the truth or reality. They want to read things that confirm their biases even if they are completely fictional.

TheBigOldDog on October 25, 2007 at 2:58 PM

the Army may not be willing to reveal its docs to TNR, the target of its investigation, but it has just acknowledged that someone internally has willingly leaked them to Matt Drudge.

Did that actually happen? When did the Army admit they were the source of the leak? Or is this a big leap from the fact that these are Army documents, so golly gee, who else could have leaked ‘em?

MamaAJ on October 25, 2007 at 2:59 PM

Note of interest:

The author has disabled comments in his page.

EEprom on October 25, 2007 at 6:46 PM

Well, guess what — the Army may not be willing to reveal its docs to TNR, the target of its investigation, but it has just acknowledged that someone internally has willingly leaked them to Matt Drudge.

The military investigate these stories because, if true, they indicated severe lapses in military discipline. How can anybody with an ounce of sense think that the Army was targeting TNR by actually attempting to seek the truth regarding horrible allegations of misconduct? Arrogance overflowing.

This again calls into question the Army’s handling of this affair in a big way. It’s bad enough that the Army hasn’t been willing to show any transparency with regard to its probe into this.

The Army never had a mandate to investigate, except it’s own internal integrity. And TNR would have loved for them to NOT investigate. It is only idiots like Sargent that are “questioning” the Army’s handling of “this affair”. They are seeking the truth. Oops, the truth is, STB lied, TNR printed the lies.

As for transparency, since when is a military investigation up for public scrutiny, especially by the media outlet that blindly published the fabrications?

Sargent, get a clue, you aren’t worthy of your own name.

Freelancer on October 26, 2007 at 2:43 AM