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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...


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference So Where Did They Get the Seal From?:

» TimSaler.com linked with Downing Street Memo - Seal Faked?

» SEIXON linked with Bait and Switch

» The Opinionated Bastard linked with Interesting

Comments (29)

"Fake, but accurate" is the... (Below threshold)

"Fake, but accurate" is the same in American English and Queen's English, you know.

Yes, but the substance of t... (Below threshold)

Yes, but the substance of the story is true...

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Yes, but the substance of t... (Below threshold)

Yes, but the substance of the story is true...

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Um, I clicked that link, an... (Below threshold)

Um, I clicked that link, and it doesn't say that's the copy Michael Smith used, or even a copy that was ever in his possession.

Also, Reuters didn't break the story. The London Times did.

Any bets on how quickly the... (Below threshold)

Any bets on how quickly these will be regarded as the 'The Smoking Gun' on the Bush admin, to 'Rovian Plants' by the Bush admin as far as the moonbats are concerned?

Dan Rather is probably kicking himself about now.

None of the PDF's you linke... (Below threshold)

None of the PDF's you linked to match the memo in the picture.

What I meant by that was, t... (Below threshold)

What I meant by that was, the text in the pictured memo does not match any of the PDF's.

This just shows they are on... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

This just shows they are on a learning curve after Rathergate. The validity and accuracy of the first document is questioned, so a more "official" document magically appears. If this one is questioned, another one will magically appear complete with the original signatures of Tony Blair, George Bush, Ho Chi Minh, and Fred Astaire.

It could be that they want ... (Below threshold)
Josh Davenport:

It could be that they want a loud commotion from the right blogosphere centered on the legitimacy of the document, but not the content. Then, when the documents turn out legitimate, we've wasted half our legitimacy.

Follow up on it Kevin, but always mention that the content means nothing anyway; I believe that to be the truth.

Hmmm.I think Reute... (Below threshold)


I think Reuters pulled a document out of file and called it the DSM. This document clearly references UN Resolution 1441.


Ok. PDF is here. Reuters just pulled it out of their hind end.

Doesn't absolve Michael Smith of anything. But it does show Reuters as a bunch of twits.

Have tried this one out on ... (Below threshold)

Have tried this one out on some political forums, and every loon scampered away. LOL

Michael Smith's re-typed do... (Below threshold)
Justin Orndorff:

Michael Smith's re-typed documents weren't written on official British stock. Ergo, why would one expect to find a logo on them? He simply re-typed the content in order to protect the identity of his source.

I think what Reuter's is showing the image you link at the top is the original actual document, _not_ the re-typed version which is widely circulating in .pdf format around the 'net.

*is* the image...... (Below threshold)

*is* the image...

Justin---supposedly the onl... (Below threshold)

Justin---supposedly the only person to get a hold of the originals (or copies thereof) have since returned and/or destroyed them. If that is correct then there is no way Reuters could have taken a picture of it.

But I think that this simply isn't the Downing Street Memo. At least, it doesn't compare textually to any of the documents we can see firsthand ourselves.

Hmmm.Let me be mor... (Below threshold)


Let me be more specific. I link to the document that Reuters used for their photo. It is NOT any copy of, nor any page of, the DSM.

Click on the link I provided and then compare the Reuters picture and the PDF. They are one and the same.

It's just Reuters being an ass.

You guys are reeeeeeeeaaaaa... (Below threshold)

You guys are reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaching now. Desperation in the air, eh? LOL

There's a hefty list of individuals who received and read the first memo: Jack Straw,David Manning,Francis Richards,Richard Wilson, Alistair Campbell..to name a few. Not a single individual has come forward to say the memos are not authentic.

Further, some extremely prominent Brits have in fact said that the content of the memos is exactly how it went down.

This horse is dead, boys.

Hmmm."This horse i... (Below threshold)


"This horse is dead, boys."

In more ways than one since it wasn't anything to begin with.

Hmm, I do believe that it w... (Below threshold)

Hmm, I do believe that it would be a violation of their security clearances to discuss the document, if it exists, in public.

Furthermore, let's look at the Reuters caption:

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

Reuters is stating that this is the Smith copy. Bamm!

I agree with both Carla and... (Below threshold)

I agree with both Carla and Ed. These memos were squat to begin with. But Michael Smith made it clear in his interview in The Raw Story that he acquired the originals and then made photocopies of them before returning the memos.

The picture is obviously of one of the photocopies. The seal was merely duplicated along with the rest of the original.

But what puzzles me is what Ed found, namely the copy, on the Guardian's web site. It is a word-processed document, not Smith's typed finished product. So where did the Guardian get it? Smith said he destroyed his copies.

Probably no big deal, just like the seal and the memos' contents. These memos aren't even a smoking cap gun.

For the love of GOD!<... (Below threshold)

For the love of GOD!

Read my newest blog post!

You guys are way off course!

The Reuters picture doesn't even have anything to do with the Downing Street Memo at all!!!


Read it. Get back on the right track.
I almost feel like ripping my eyes out!

Never mind my question -- t... (Below threshold)

Never mind my question -- the Guardian papers are not the memos that Smith acquired. The four hours of sleep I got last night are really beginning to show.

Hey! There's an ostrich ru... (Below threshold)

Hey! There's an ostrich running in Africa! I think it rained in Australia (once recently, at least) and that there are children in Japan who are orphaned and in need of good homes. Also, there's a Chevrolet Cavalier for sale somewhere in Michigan, there are ticks in New Mexico and I believe that PostItNotes sell really well at your local OfficeDepot.


So then, what you are sayin... (Below threshold)

So then, what you are saying Seixon, is that Reuters is trying to pull a fast one on the world public, by publishing a fake picture and calling it the DSM? Thanks. More confirmation of how the left operates.

Or more confirmation of how... (Below threshold)

Or more confirmation of how lazy news organizations operates?

It's a fun conspiracy, but at this point, ain't nothin' there.

Reuters just mislabeled the photo.

Usually, I would agree with... (Below threshold)

Usually, I would agree with you C.C., however, we have seen how the MSM's operate.

OK, if I got this right. T... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

OK, if I got this right. The Reuter's photo is another document. Which amplifies on a point I don't think anyone has made. The Reuter's document is stamped "secret". The DSM was also classified. I'm not totally familiar with British procedures, but will assume that both documents have not been declassified. That may answer why the Blair administration has not dived into verifying or denying the authenticity of the document(s). They have a person that is passing out classified documents to the media like they were Haloween candy. That is a serious crime, and one that should be taken seriously. I will bet the Brits are much more concerned with having a real life actual traitor in their midst and a lot less concerned with what the meaning of "is" (fixed) is.

Hmmmm." is that Re... (Below threshold)


" is that Reuters is trying to pull a fast one on the world public, by publishing a fake picture and calling it the DSM?"

Exactly. Let's face it, the actual DSM memos aren't exactly photogenic. They're frankly pretty ugly. So I expect some Reuters dweeb decided to sex things up a bit with something, anything, with a logo on it.

"The Reuter's document is stamped "secret"."

The document used by Reuters is located on The Guardian's website, so I assume it has been declassified. The DSM on the other hand hasn't been declassified so YMMV.

"I will bet the Brits are much more concerned with having a real life actual traitor"

I doubt "traitor" but I'm sure they're very interested in finding out who is responsible.

What -S- said, but it is no... (Below threshold)

What -S- said, but it is not really a Cavalier for sale (as we've seen on the news here in Michigan), but a Pinto that has been taken apart and put back together with parts from an old AMC Pacer and a Citation.


Just curious, but do member... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Just curious, but do members of the press have the right to protect sources who also are committing crimes (by passing out secret documents).

Shoot should any reporter be able to protect a source in a situation like this for that matter?

Oh, and I agree with the contention that this is just Reuter's pulling a fast one and making stuff up. I actually believe the DSM's are real copies of the real documents.






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