Friday, June 24, 2005

Downing Street Memos Don't Exist

Once again the Downing Street memos are being touted for something they are not. This time it is Paul Krugman, purportedly an economist but now a self styled expert on world political affairs, who describes the memos as"actually the minutes of a prime minister's meeting in July 2002." Well , actually they are not.

The minutes of the briefing do not exist, if they ever did. A reporter supposedly was given the briefing notes by a friend who remains anonymous. The friend remains anonymous because the briefing notes were stamped as secret by the British government. British law takes a dimmer view of illegally publicized government documents than we do here. The reporter says he had the notes transcribed by a clerk using an old typewriter. Then, according to which interviewer the reporter was talking to, he either returned the originals or destroyed the originals.

So what we have are manually typed notes by a clerk of what he/she thought he/she read which are claimed to be transcriptions of hand written notes by a clerk of what he/she thought he/she heard from a discussion which may or may not have ever taken place. Various statements by British government officials indicate that the briefing may have taken place as claimed. Do these notes accurately portray what occurred during the briefing? We may never know.

The left would hang George Bush with hand typed notes which no attorney would even attempt to introduce as evidence in a court of law in Britain, much less in the United States. Krugman should stick to economics. He's inept enough at that without exacerbating the situation by stepping into another realm where his ignorance is truly appalling.

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