Hat tip to Hang Right Politics and Rob Thompson:
From Michael Goldfarb’s post on The Weekly Standard:
THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned from a military source close to the investigation that Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp–author of the much-disputed “Shock Troops” article in the New Republic’s July 23 issue as well as two previous “Baghdad Diarist” columns–signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods–fabrications containing only “a smidgen of truth,” in the words of our source.
Separately, we received this statement from Major Steven F. Lamb, the deputy Public Affairs Officer for Multi National Division-Baghdad:
An investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims.
According to the military source, Beauchamp’s recantation was volunteered on the first day of the military’s investigation. So as Beauchamp was in Iraq signing an affidavit denying the truth of his stories, the New Republic was publishing a statement from him on its website on July 26, in which Beauchamp said, “I’m willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name.”
The magazine’s editors admitted on August 2 that one of the anecdotes Beauchamp stood by in its entirety–meant to illustrate the “morally and emotionally distorting effects of war”–took place (if at all) in Kuwait, before his tour of duty in Iraq began, and not, as he had claimed, in his mess hall in Iraq. That event was the public humiliation by Beauchamp and a comrade of a woman whose face had been “melted” by an IED.
Nothing public has been heard from Beauchamp since his statement standing by his stories, which was posted on the New Republic website at 6:30 a.m. on July 26. In their August 2 statement, the New Republic’s editors complained that the military investigation was “short-circuiting” TNR’s own fact-checking efforts. “Beauchamp,” they said, “had his cell-phone and computer taken away and is currently unable to speak to even his family. His fellow soldiers no longer feel comfortable communicating with reporters. If further substantive information comes to light, TNR will, of course, share it with you.”
Now that the military investigation has concluded, the great unanswered question in the affair is this: Did Scott Thomas Beauchamp lie under oath to U.S. Army investigators, or did he lie to his editors at the New Republic? Beauchamp has recanted under oath. Does the New Republic still stand by his stories?
An updated excuse from TNR:
A STATEMENT ON SCOTT THOMAS BEAUCHAMP:
We’ve talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account as detailed in our statement.
When we called Army spokesman Major Steven F. Lamb and asked about an anonymously sourced allegation that Beauchamp had recanted his articles in a sworn statement, he told us, “I have no knowledge of that.” He added, “If someone is speaking anonymously to The Weekly Standard, they are on their own.” When we pressed Lamb for details on the Army investigation, he told us, “We don’t go into the details of how we conduct our investigations.”
And still another excuse:
Although the Army says it has investigated Beauchamp’s article and has found it to be false, it has refused our–and others’–requests to share any information or evidence from its investigation. What’s more, the Army has rejected our requests to speak to Beauchamp himself, on the grounds that it wants “to protect his privacy.”
At the same time the military has stonewalled our efforts to get to the truth, it has leaked damaging information about Beauchamp to conservative bloggers.
Earlier this week, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb published a report, based on a single anonymous “military source close to the investigation,” entitled “Beauchamp Recants,” claiming that Beauchamp “signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods–fabrications containing only ‘a smidgen of truth,’ in the words of our source.”
Here’s what we know: On July 26, Beauchamp told us that he signed several statements under what he described as pressure from the Army. He told us that these statements did not contradict his articles. Moreover, on the same day he signed these statements for the Army, he gave us a statement standing behind his articles, which we published at tnr.com. Goldfarb has written, “It’s pretty clear the New Republic is standing by a story that even the author does not stand by.”
In fact, it is our understanding that Beauchamp continues to stand by his stories and insists that he has not recanted them. The Army, meanwhile, has refused our requests to see copies of the statements it obtained from Beauchamp–or even to publicly acknowledge that they exist.
Scott Beauchamp is currently a 24-year-old soldier in Iraq who, for the past 15 days, has been prevented by the military from communicating with the outside world, aside from three brief and closely monitored phone calls to family members.
We once again invite the Army to make public Beauchamp’s statements and the details of its investigation–and we ask the Army to let us (or any other media outlet, for that matter) speak to Beauchamp. Unless and until these things happen, we cannot fairly assess any of these reports about Beauchamp–and therefore have no reason to change our own assessment of Beauchamp’s work. If the truth ends up reflecting poorly on our judgment, we will accept responsibility for that. But we also refuse to rush to judgment on our writer or ourselves.
This just fucking kills me:
“If the truth ends up reflecting poorly on our judgment, we will accept responsibility for that. But we also refuse to rush to judgment on our writer or ourselves.”
Too late, TNR. Their ‘judgement’ was piss-poor from the beginning, and they will never admit that they rushed to print a smear piece on the Army to suit their anti-war slant. They blame the Army for investigating this crock of shit that passed for ‘journalism’, and bitched about the all-too-transparent results. They trust a flaming liar even though they were forced to admit that his stories–the time-space continuum of the disfigured woman, the “skullcap”, and improbable doggie demolition tales–were a figment of his fabulist imagination. Beauchamp signed a statement acknowledging the fabrications, (the only indication of sanity he’s displayed so far) but TNR still stands by the surreal tales.
A TNR staffer was fired for revealing–via private e-mail– that a very high ranking individual at the magazine declared: “Franklin Foer doesn’t want to tell Elspeth Reeve her husband is a liar”.
By the way, this former staffer has been threatened with a lawsuit should they divulge all the behind the scenes bitchiness going on at TNR.
Hat tip to Ace of Spades:
Incidentally, TNR has some nerve complaining about “pressuring” someone and hampering an investigation. TNR has sought to prevent “Gracie” from speaking further by having its lawyers send him a “cease and desist” letter making all sorts of ludicrous claims of Dire Legal Consequences To Come if he dares to, you know, state what he knows to be true.
Perhaps TNR would be so kind as to retract those cease and desist letters to Gracie, so that others are not “hampered” in their own investigations into the truth of the matter by “pressure” tactics? Or is only the Army forbidden to “closely monitor” people’s communications, whereas TNR’s legal goon squad patrols the internets to make sure a source isn’t squealing on them?
If you want to the truth to come out, you can start by allowing a source with relevant information to speak out, rather than “pressuring” him to remain silent.
I suspect the publisher — Martin Peretz — is none other than the man who yelled the line “Frank doesn’t want to tell Ellie her husband is a liar,” but with Gracie “pressured” by TNR and my “communcations with him hampered,” I can’t get him to say that.
After everything that has come to light about this; the lack of substantiating witnesses (other than one anonymous), implausable conditions, contradictions, and just plain fucking weirdness, you’d think TNR would cut their losses and at least save a bit of dignity. The whole episode is a pathetic exercise in abject stupidity. They started out with a perfunctory liberal smear job based on half-assed unchecked accusations, and quickly descended into the abyss of lies and cover-ups. Congratulations, TNR. Next week you’ll be right next to the National Enquirer at the supermarket checkout.