Beauchamp update: When are leaks baaaad?

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


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.