So Where Did They Get the Seal From?

The curious story of how the Downing Street Memo’s got to the media just took a direct hit. Reuters has a photo of the documents released to press with a government seal on them.

A copy of the so-called 'Downing Street Memo', produced in July 2002 for Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair on the legality of the invasion of Iraq. Photo by Stephen Hird/Reuters

The problem is, of course, that the PDF’s of the memos don’t have these seals on them. Further, the reporter claimed he typed them on a plain manual typewriter.

Some people may cling to the foolish belief that a simple manual typewriter could produce the Dan Rather memos, but I can promise you you can’t make that seal with a typewriter.

Then where did the seal come from? Did Reuters fake the picture to make the pain paper versions look official? Did the reporter type them on a paper with seals on them? Somebody is not telling the whole story.

I don’t know what(yet) but something is amiss. Buckhead II???

Kevin adds: Paul kicked the story over to me to followup on the 6 PDF’s released by Michael Smith, the author of the original Times Online article on the Downing Street Memo. Smith admitted to getting copies of the memos, retyping them, then destroying the copies. Here are the 6 PDF’s. No seals in any of them.

Kevin adds a final update: The lack of seals is now make sense. What is pictured is most assuredly not the Downing Street Memo, nor is it one of the 6 memos the author of the original story, Just to be clear what Reuters claims about the photo, the caption to the photo is, “A copy of the so-called ‘Downing Street Memo’, produced in July 2002 for Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair on the legality of the invasion of Iraq. Photo by Stephen Hird/Reuters.”

As ed points out in the comment section, the document in question is not the Downing Street Memo. The PDF shown in the Reuters photo comes from an April 28, 2005 Guardian Unlimited story (which predates the original DSM story in at Times Online) detailing Lord Goldsmith’s (the British attorney general) March 7. 2003 confidential advice on the legality of the Iraq war.

As Seixon points out:

There are 6 documents from September that Michael Smith took copies of, returned to the government, then retyped, then destroyed the copies. At least two of these are quoted by the Butler Commission Report, and Michael Smith covered the contents of all of them in his September 18, 2002 news stories with the Daily Telegraph. These news stories featured partial pictures of the copies of two of the originals.

There are two more documents that there is no information on when they were received by Smith. These are the Downing Street Memo, and the Briefing Paper. There are no PDFs for these, and there is no indication that they were copied from originals, either.Reuters photo fraud notwithstanding…

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29 Comments

  1. Laurence Simon June 21, 2005
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