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Rathergate Redux: Another Fake Document Scam

John on June 18, 2008 at 9:04 pm

WikiLeaks is a website that specializes in accepting leaked documents of all kinds. The site currently hosts over one million such documents. Each new submission is published and — in true wiki style — analyzed communally for news value.

In some cases these documents are secret government information, in others (such as the Mormon leadership manual) they are merely hush-hush. The site even claims to have a copy of the Darabont draft of Indy 4 (which I hear is disappointing).

Wikileaks reputation seems to be growing among more reputable news outlets who, let’s face it, would take the leaks if they could get them. The site itself claims that less than “0.1% of documents which pass initial triage fail subsequent analysis.” With all that background in mind, we turn to the story at hand.

Ten days ago, someone contacted WikiLeaks with a blockbuster document. Supposedly originating from the White House Press Office, the document appeared to be a rough draft of a speech announcing a US invasion of Iran. Here’s a glimpse of the intro (click on the image for the whole doc in pdf):

Credit to the “analyzers” at WikiLeaks for quickly determining this letter was a complete fraud:

Fabricated US Presidential Iran invasion contingency speech from the the office of the White House Press Secretary. Undated, unnamed, unsigned and un-numbered. A metadata analysis shows the document to have been scanned on June 6, 2008.

The page appears to have had a header, which has been removed. The font is at a low, possibly FAX resolution.

The document is clearly based on the 2003 Iraq invasion speech which we present here for comparison:

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign.

Of course, if you’ve been paying attention you know that the “bomb Iran” meme has been a favorite of the far left for some time. WikiLeaks rightly concludes:

Likely authors are US-domestic Iranian sympathisers, or Republican party opponents.

But why repeat yourself.

All in all, fake documents aimed at the President haven’t worked out too well for the Dems (see Rathergate). I suppose they can always claim it was “fake but accurate” again. I wonder if Mary Mapes reads WikiLeaks…?

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