Lots of people will be talking about the independent panel's report on the CBS memo-fraud fiasco, which led to CBS's firing of 4 people who were involved. Some interesting tidbits from the report as to where Bill Burkett claimed to have gotten the memos:
From page 69:Consider the journalistic cliche: "If your own mother says she loves you, check it out." What sort of journalist believes an admitted liar like Burkett without even trying to verify where the documents came from?
Mapes told the Panel that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett informed her that the documents
came from Lieutenant Colonel Killian’s personal file and that he had received them in March 2004 after he had appeared on the MSNBC cable television program Hardball in February 2004. Mapes recalled that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett said that he had received them from someone who said that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett would “know what to do with [the documents] better than” he or she would. Mapes said that she did not press Lieutenant Colonel Burkett about the chain of custody during the September 2 meeting because her primary objective was to be allowed to take the documents with her, and she thought that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett might be offended if she pressed too hard at that time on source issues.
Smith told the Panel a different story about what Lieutenant Colonel Burkett said about the source of the documents. Smith said that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett claimed that he had received the documents anonymously in the mail. Colonel Charles also recalled hearing from Smith or Mapes that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett “had received the two documents in the mail from an anonymous source after he appeared on television in February 2004” and his recollection is consistent with his contemporaneous notes. Thus, Colonel Charles’ handwritten notes, apparently reflecting a phone call with Mapes or Smith on September 2, state “Bill B got them in the mail after going on TV” and “source anonymous.” Mapes told the Panel that she did not recall Lieutenant Colonel Burkett ever saying that he received them anonymously in the mail.
From page 89-90:
Mapes told the Panel that once she obtained the first two Killian documents, she pressed Lieutenant Colonel Burkett for information about his source, particularly on Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5. She said that she discussed with him the importance of the chain of custody and that she needed to know “whose hands” were last on the documents. According to Mapes, Lieutenant Colonel Burkett eventually told her that Chief Warrant Officer George Conn, a former officer in the Texas Army National Guard and a long-time friend, had given him the documents. He told Mapes, however, that she should not call Chief Warrant Officer Conn because he would deny it. [How convenient.]
* * *
Mapes told the Panel that she believed that the confirmation of the content of the Killian documents was more important than finding the source to trace the chain of custody. [Talk about obvious.]
From page 91:
As discussed previously in this Report, Lieutenant Colonel Burkett by now had given Mapes and Smith at least two different stories as to how he obtained the documents – that they were sent to him anonymously in the mail and that they were given to him by Chief Warrant Officer Conn.
From page 200:
During this call, Lieutenant Colonel Burkett stated that Mapes had pressed him hard over Labor Day weekend on the chain of custody issue and that he had misled Mapes by stating falsely to her that he had gotten the Killian documents from a fellow Guardsman named George Conn. Lieutenant Colonel Burkett said this was not accurate and he explained a different scenario concerning how he obtained the documents. Lieutenant Colonel Burkett stated that he had repeatedly been in the news in February 2004, primarily pertaining to his allegation that President Bush’s TexANG files had been “scrubbed” or sanitized in approximately 1997-98.
Shortly after this media blitz, Lieutenant Colonel Burkett said, he received a phone call from a woman who identified herself as Lucy Ramirez. Ramirez indicated that she had some documents pertaining to President Bush’s TexANG service that she wished to provide to Lieutenant Colonel Burkett and asked him to come to Houston to get them. Lieutenant Colonel Burkett said that he and his wife were planning to be in Houston in early March 2004 for a livestock show. When in Houston, he called Ramirez at a pre-arranged Holiday Inn phone number and was told that he would be given the documents at the show. Thereafter, a man he didn’t know handed the six Killian documents to him at the show and disappeared.