Lockhart's Involvement In 'Memogate' Stirs Anger In Administration
Lockhart's participation in CBS's National Guard memo affair is sparking stern calls by administration and Bush campaign officials for the former Clinton spokesman to be terminated. "It's an amazing admission," said a GOP official. "He's got to go," said an administration official. What's angered the campaign and White House staff most is the lack of media outrage that Lockhart played along with CBS by calling anchor Dan Rather's source, Bill Burkett, after the Texan handed over the fraudulent memos to the network. They noted that when a Bush lawyer was linked to the Swift Boat Veterans, he became front-page news and was quickly terminated. "If [White House Communications Director] Dan Bartlett or [Bush-Cheney Communications Director] Nicole Devenish had done exactly what Lockhart did, it would be plastered on the front page, above the fold in the New York Times and the Washington Post and lead the broadcast news and the liberal media would be on a rampage calling for the President to fire them," said a GOP official.
Burkett May Be Readying Lawsuit Against CBS.
Meanwhile, the New York Sun says Burkett "plans to sue the network, according to Mr. Burkett's former lawyer, David Van Os." Van Os said in a telephone interview with The New York Sun that "his former client had 'several meetings with lawyers to determine the best course of action.' He said the planned lawsuit would center on what he termed 'defamation of character and libel.'" Van Os "declined to name the attorneys Mr. Burkett consulted with, nor would he discuss why he is no longer representing Mr. Burkett. Mr. Van Os is currently running as a Democrat for the Texas Supreme Court. . . . It was Mr. Burkett who was misled, according to Mr. Van Os. The lawyer said the CBS News producer, Mary Mapes, promised to protect Mr. Burkett with complete anonymity and CBS was to 'expend both time and money authenticating' the memos. . . . 'Bill leveled with [CBS] about his doubts over the papers, and they promised him they would take their time. They spent all of three days, maybe less, on authentication.'"
Burkett's Lawyer Dismissed Ethical Questions Involved In Forging Memos.
The Washington Times reports today that Burkett's lawyer, David Van Os, is "a Democratic Party activist in Texas who has vowed to defeat what he says is a White House 'master plan' for 'a one-party America.'" He "has held a number of local party posts, including chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party." Van Os "referred to the suspect memos this way in a Sept. 15 e-mail to reporters: 'What difference would it make' if 'someone in the year 2004 had prepared on a word processor replicas of documents that they believed had existed in 1972 or 1973?' He did not respond yesterday to a telephone message or to questions in an e-mail to his law office."
Gore Campaign Didn't Pursue Allegations Similar To Those Contained In CBS Memos.
According to the AP, former Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign "heard but did not pursue allegations about George W. Bush's Air National Guard service, similar to the information in discredited documents aired by CBS News this month, a former campaign official said Tuesday." Tony Coelho, "who ran the campaign for several months in 2000, said he did not follow up on the claims because they were not serious enough to demand further attention. 'Of everyone I talked to, no one had anything that rose to the level that we should get ourselves into,' Coelho said."