Matt Drudge has announced his acquisition of documents from the Army investigation into allegations of misconduct made by Private Scott Beauchamp, and they make The New Republic look like the Nixon administration for stonewalling. He provides PDFs of the documents as support as well. Beauchamp admitted to investigators that he made up most of the stories, including the most disturbing tale of troops harassing a disfigured woman, as well as running over dogs in armored personnel carriers. Why did Beauchamp tell these lies? He had literary aspirations and didn't mind libeling his comrades to achieve them:
Army Investigation: Tales "Completely Fabricated," Beauchamp Wanted to be Hemingway
The third document obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT is the Army's official report on the investigation into the allegations made by Private Beauchamp. The Army concluded that Beauchamp had "completely fabricated" the story of mocking a disfigured woman, that his description of a "Saddam-era dumping ground" was false, and that claims that he and his men had deliberately targeted dogs with their armored vehicles was "completely unfounded." Further the report stated "that Private Beauchamp desired to use his experiences to enhance his writing and provide legitimacy to his work possibly becoming the next Hemingway."
The Army document specifically calls out Beauchamp's tales as "fabrications". The anecdotes about targeting wild dogs were "completely unfounded". It also reports that Beauchamp lied about being an eyewitness to the latter story. It recommends that Beauchamp lose his Internet access privileges and undergo some psychological review -- but it never recommends that Beauchamp be silenced or ordered not to communicate with anyone about the controversy.
Beauchamp wanted to become a Hemingway. Instead, he became another Stephen Glass -- assisted by Glass' old magazine, which should have known better than to print fabulist stories. TNR learned nothing from the Glass experience, including the manner in which TNR acted to restore its credibility in 1998. In that instance, the magazine admitted its fault, apologized to its readers, and recanted 27 of 41 stories Glass wrote for TNR. So far, after months of criticism, TNR has yet to even admit what Beauchamp confessed to the Army, let alone its own egregious errors in running "Shock Troops".
Will TNR finally confess? Or will they continue to offer Nixonian stonewalling, driving the credibility of The New Republic even further below the Mendoza Line than its current position?
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has great screen grabs of the transcript of the call between Franklin Foer and Peter Scoblic of TNR and Beauchamp. In one, it becomes obvious that it was TNR that was responsible for Beauchamp's silence, and not the Army:
Scoblic: We were told you were setting up interviews with the Times and the Post?
Beauchamp: With Newsweek and the Washington Post, and it's basically to let the media know I'm not being censored. I can talk to the media, but I don't want to.
Scoblic: Scott, all that does is trigger another round of stories. I mean, (unintelligible)
Foer: (Unintelligible) You owe it to us ah to just ah .... you owe it to us to basically kind of report on ourselves and be able to put out whatever next thing ... I think you ought to basically talk to us, and let us control the way this story proceeds. I think that's the least you could do for us. I think it would be further evidence, further sign to us that you're just sticking it to us if you went and talked to these other guys before we could put out anything further.
Beauchamp: So, um ... what are you saying?
Foer: I'm saying that I'd rather you not talk to the Washington Post, Newsweek, or whoever else until we put our final judgment on your pieces.
TNR made it clear that they felt they could not respond because the Army had hindered their access to Beauchamp. That's a lie, and one perpetrated by Foer and the senior TNR management themselves. They had access to Beauchamp and knew he could talk to the media -- and instructed him not to do so. They then stonewalled to make it look as though the Army was holding Beauchamp incommuncado.
They have lost the last shred of journalistic integrity they could claim. Until August 10th, they could make a claim that they had been victimized by a fabulist. This transcript shows that they participated willingly in the cover-up.
UPDATE and BUMP, 5:55 PM CT: Via Instapundit (and welcome Instapundit readers!), the search function for the TNR site is down. I didn't get any hits on Cheney, either, and I know they have plenty of links for that.
Also, Drudge has the page still available, but the PDFs have been moved. Michelle Malkin still has them, and I have them downloaded. Some people question whether this indicates that Drudge has been hoaxed. I've e-mailed one of the POCs in the memo, and while I haven't received a reply, I haven't received a failure message -- which tells me his e-mail address is legitimate. I've asked him to confirm the veracity of the memo; I'll post his reply.
Also, I note that TNR hasn't claimed that the documents are hoaxes, either, including the transcript of the conversation with Foer, Scoblic, and Beauchamp. In fact, they haven't reacted at all. That tells me something about the veracity of the documents as well.
Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic, said in an interview that the documents Matt Drudge posted this afternoon--and removed several hours later without explanation--could have only come from the Army.
Mr. Foer said he called TNR’s contact there, Major Kirk Luedeke, as soon as the documents appeared on Drudge’s Web site. According to Mr. Foer, Major Luedeke told him that the Army was “investigating the source of the leak,” though they did not explicitly take responsibility for it.
“It’s maddening to see the Army selectively leak to the Drudge Report things that we’ve been trying to obtain from them through Freedom of Information Act requests,” Mr. Foer said. “This fits a pattern in this case where the army has leaked a lot of stuff to right wing blogs.”
Foer complained that TNR had tried to get these documents since July. They certainly had access to their own conversation with Beauchamp, and didn't bother to publish its contents. Nor did they report that Beauchamp apparently refused to release the documents himself, as they asked him to do during the conversation. His reluctance to do so certainly indicated a fear of exposure of the Army's conclusions to the investigation -- which TNR also failed to report. Just the fact that TNR needed an FOIA request to find out what the Army discovered should have informed them of Beauchamp's credbility.
Foer can cast this in conspiracy theories all week long. In the end, TNR had all of the information it needed to conclude that Beauchamp lied to them and to their readers. Foer and TNR chose to keep it to themselves.