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September 10, 2004

Two quick thoughts:

1) If the memos are completely bogus, then how come the White House initially responded as if they were completely accurate?

2) Why is all the contempt from the blogosphere being directed at CBS and a few other media outlets, and none at the White House? Certainly there's a good case to be made that the memos are forgeries. But if that's what you believe, then shouldn't you direct at least some contempt at the White House too? Initially, it made even less of an effort than CBS to establish the authenticity of the memos. And even now that questions of authenticity have arisen, it continues to take a pretty passive approach to the memos. Is it possible that the Oval Office has been infiltrated by biased partisans who will stop at nothing to make President Bush look bad?

In any case, here's an interesting exchange from today's press gaggle, which shows just how uninterested the White House seems to be in trying to verify that the memos are fake:

Q Are you guys doing a -- are you doing an analysis of your own about the documents, to see if they're fake or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: No. I don't know that we have any way to verify that. I mean, these are serious allegations and they are being looked into by others.

Q Two questions. Does the White House regret handing out those documents, taking CBS's word on their authenticity, without checking them, themselves?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, we -- you know, we released all the President's personnel -- or made available publicly all the President's personnel, medical and payroll files in their entirety. The Department of Defense has continued to go back and look for additional documents that weren't in those files.

It was an issue of openness. CBS provided us with those documents and --

Q Did you ask --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we did ask, and CBS did not disclose to us, either, where they obtained those documents from. We wanted to be open about it, so we provided that information, as we have other documents to the media.

Q Were you duped, do you think?

MR. McCLELLAN: Bill, that's assuming a lot of things. Like I said, we don't know whether the documents were fabricated or authentic.

Posted by Greg Beato at 01:31 PM