Tags: Forging | Ahead

Forging Ahead

Tuesday, 14 September 2004 12:00 AM

The question that must be answered, therefore, is exactly who did the forging and why.

One of the first things to look for when faced with finding the perpetrator of a crime is motive. Who had the most obvious reason to commit the crime? And make no mistake: Forging official government documents is, as my NewsMax colleague Carl Limbacher said on "Scarborough Country" Monday night, a felony.

To get there you have to look at the state of the Kerry campaign at this point. Kerry has based his campaign on his claim that his service in the Vietnam War proves him to be a leader well qualified to serve as this nation's commander in chief during the war on radical Islamic terrorism. He suddenly found himself facing a band of very determined Vietnam vets who raised serious questions about his fitness to be president.

The campaign waged by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth seriously damaged Kerry by first proving that he lied when he claimed to have been under fire in Cambodia on Christmas Eve in 1968. Then the Swiftees all but demolished Kerry's claims about the legitimacy of his first Purple Heart and raised credible doubts about his other decorations.

Even more damning to his cause was the Swifties' continuing and successful campaign to re-awaken the long-simmering anger felt by most Vietnam vets over Kerry's slandering of them as baby killers, rapists and out-and-out war criminals. This was especially true of those American POWs who were subjected to additional horrors as a result of the charges Kerry was safely making in the U.S. about American GIs.

The vets have emerged as a powerful third force in this year's presidential race and have been daily sapping more and more blood out of the Kerry campaign. Clearly something had to be done to stop his campaign from bleeding to death over an issue he created by basing his whole campaign on his record in Vietnam.

Recognizing that the Swifties had created serious doubts about Kerry's fitness as a leader, the Kerry hatchet squad settled on the resurrection of long-discredited charges about Bush's National Guard service that have repeatedly surfaced every time Bush has run for office.

The strategy was not working - and then, miraculously, Dan Rather and CBS gave new life to it by airing a story about four "documents" that appeared to show that the president had disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer. The officer's alleged complaint that George Bush was being coddled by the commanders above him was a gift from the political gods - exactly what was needed to counter the Swifties' assaults on John Kerry.

The disreputable DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe, launched an attack on Bush based on the CBS documents - as did Kerry. Incredibly, Sen. Tom Harkin leapt into the fray charging that the documents proved that George Bush lied about his wartime service in the Guard - the same Tom Harkin who had been caught red-handed lying about his Vietnam service by claiming he flew in combat when he was nowhere near Vietnamese air space, but was instead ferrying damaged aircraft from Japan to the Philippines.

These people have no shame.

Shame came quickly, however, when the CBS documents proved to be fakes.

So, where does this all leave us? I'll leave it up to the American Spectator, whose The Prowler feature dug into the question of the who. Everything the magazine learned pointed to the Kerry campaign as the source of the forged documents.

In its blockbuster story "The Anatomy of a Forgery," the Prowler quoted a source in the DNC as saying: "More than a couple people heard about the papers. I've heard that they ended up with the Kerry campaign, for them to decide how to proceed, and presumably they were handed over to 60 Minutes, which used them the other night. But I know this much. When there was discussion here, there were doubts raised about their authenticity."

According to the source: "It wasn't clear that our source for the documents would have had access to them. Our person couldn't confirm from what file, from what original source they came from."

Oops!

According to a Kerry campaign source, the Prowler wrote that there was little gossip about the supposedly hot documents inside the office of the [Kerry] campaign on McPherson Square. "Those documents were not something anyone was talking about or trying to generate buzz on," says the Kerry staffer. "It wasn't like there were small groups of people talking about this as a bombshell. I think people here weren't sure what to make of it, because provenance of these documents was uncertain."

Oops again!

According to the Prowler, "A CBS producer, who initially tipped off The Prowler about the 60 Minutes story, says that despite seeking professional assurances that the documents were legitimate, there was uncertainty even among the group of producers and researchers working on the story.

"The problem was we had one set of documents from Bush's file that had Killian calling Bush 'an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot.' And someone who Killian said 'performed in an outstanding manner.' Then you have these new documents and the tone and content are so different."

Oh boy, oops once more.

"The CBS producer said that some alarm bells went off last week when the signatures and initials of Killian on the documents in hand did not match up with other documents available on the public record, but producers chose to move ahead with the story. 'This was too hot not to push. If there were doubts, those people didn't show it,' says the producer, who works on a rival CBS News program."

And now we get to the alleged source:

"Now, the producer says, there is growing concern inside the building on 57th Street that they may have been suckered by the Kerry campaign. 'There is a school of thought here that the Kerry people dumped this in our laps, figuring we'd do the heavy lifting on the story. That maybe they had doubts about these documents but hoped we'd get more information,' says the producer. 'If that's the case, then we're bigger fools than we already appear to be judging by all the chatter about how these documents could be forgeries.' "

Finally, I have a nasty suspicion about the real source within the Kerry campaign. Think about this: The two people who have the most to lose if Kerry wins are Bill and Hillary Clinton. It is in her best interest to see him go down to defeat and thus open the door to her presidential run in 2008. And with the Clintons, their best interests trump everything else.

When you consider that the Kerry campaign is overloaded with advisers and operatives loyal to the Clintons, can't you just see one of them passing what they knew to be dubious documents to CBS?

And couldn't you just hear Bill Clinton advising Kerry to go whole hog on the matter of the CBS documents and chortling when the whole thing blew up in Kerry's face?

Just guessing.

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

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The question that must be answered, therefore, is exactly who did the forging and why. One of the first things to look for when faced with finding the perpetrator of a crime is motive. Who had the most obvious reason to commit the crime? And make no mistake: Forging...
Forging,Ahead
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2004-00-14
Tuesday, 14 September 2004 12:00 AM
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