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September 15, 2004
Viet Nam Vet: Kerry Pressured Me To Lie In 1971

Fox News picks up on a story that was first uncovered by Bandit and River Rat last month. Steve Pitkin, a Viet Nam veteran who testified to wartime atrocities in John Kerry's Winter Soldier investigation, now claims in a sworn affadavit that Kerry and other WS leaders pressured him to lie about war crimes in order to further their cause:

Steven Pitkin, an Army combat veteran, told FOX News that Kerry coached him and others to say they had witnessed war crimes, even after Pitkin told Kerry that he had not.

"Before they started the camera, they told me, 'We need you to speak about the atrocities that happened over there.' The whole company line that I initially came out and said, I was coached to say that over and over again," Pitkin said.

Pitkin's new statements present a problem for Kerry, if true. Kerry has recently tried blowing off his Senate testimony in 1971 accusing Viet Nam veterans of widespread and systematic atrocities and murders by claiming that he was nothing but a message boy. His claim to have done nothing more than report the results of the testimony doesn't fly with anyone who's read the transcript and heard the recording. If Pitkin's story is correct, it will further cement the growing Kerry reputation of dishonesty and opportunism.

David Thorne, one of Kerry's closest confidantes and a member of the Winter Soldier leadership, flatly denies that allegation. He'd better hope that denial can stand up. I always treat retractions of sworn testimony with a healthy dose of skepticism -- after all, Pitkin took a long time unburdening himself -- but the Winter Soldier claims were so outrageous and have been so repeatedly debunked that Pitkin's explanation makes a lot more sense than any offered by Thorne or Kerry.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 15, 2004 5:15 AM

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