Monday, June 13, 2005

THINK PROGRESS has put up the full text of six British briefing papers that were apparently made available to Walter Pincus of the Washington Post by Michael Smith of the London Times after a new briefing memo was leaked to the Times last Sunday, June 12. Smith and Pincus both wrote front-page articles on the newly leaked memo on Sunday; it provides further evidence of pre-war intelligence fixing as well as the Bush administration's lack of attention to postwar planning. The six previous documents had already been released by the UK's Daily Telegraph on September 18, 2004; and were widely covered in the British press at that time. The U.S. media did not write about them at all. And, as Think Progress points out, this was before the U.S. presidential elections, when news like this, showing that Pres. Bush had lied about his prewar decisionmaking and that he had shown no interest in postwar planning, could really have affected the outcome of the election.

Via Juan Cole. I highly recommend reading his entire post. Cole has an excellent analysis of the way the Downing Street story has been shaped and influenced by bloggers. Here's a taste:

When Michael Smith of the London Times wrote about a further leaked British cabinet document on decision-making about the Iraq war in July 2003, he did not simply report the revelations in the document.

Most commentators on the Smith story have missed his open acknowledgment of the role of the blogging world in turning the Downing Street Memo and other leaked British documents from a provincial Whitehall story into a world (and American) phenomenon.
Read, learn, enjoy!

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