October 24, 2007

Boom: Drudge Scoops Docs to Sink TNR

Drudge scooped me (arrgghhh!) with two documents related to the Beauchamp/TNR story. I had asked for in a FOIA request submitted more than a month ago to the U.S. Army. Those documents including a transcript of the call between Scott Beauchamp, TNR editor Franklin Foer, and TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic on September 7. I first wrote about the conversation itself previously.

The other document was the Army's official report, which I first discussed with the investigating officer, Major John Cross, on September 10.

Knowing the documents exist is one thing; having them is quite another. Now that they have been posted on the public record, these disclosures should end careers at The New Republic.

Have at it:

Transcript, Part 1

Transcript, Part 2

Army Investigation

As always, Allahpundit is on top of the story over at Hot Air, so I'll send you over there for analysis until I can delve into the story again in more detail.

I would ask one question before I go, though:

Did Foer really get an email from Beauchamps' wife during the conference call, or was it merely the lie of a desperate editor trying futilely to save his job?


We know that Beauchamp had his cell phone and laptop returned to him after his op-sec violation investigation was over, which he could use every day when he was not working.

If Foer was bluffing, Beauchamp probably knew it in advance.

Update:A huge apology to Michael Goldfarb. If he hadn't had the sharp eyes to note probable fiction and ask for help from the blogosphere back in July, there is every possibility that Beauchamp's false narratives would have gone unchallenged as ""truth." The story started with Mike, and continues there today.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 24, 2007 01:54 PM

Bob, it is only through your hard work, persistence and drive that this story exists where it is today. Having Drudge get the hits on the final nail will NEVER change the fact that you made this story! You did us all proud: without your well written, well researched, and well documented work I would never have had a chance to learn how far TNR would fall.
You have done this in the past, your reports are a must read, and your efforts are noticed.

Thank you.
posted by Diane at October 24, 2007 01:48 PM
...posted below, but worth a second go!

Posted by: Diane at October 24, 2007 01:56 PM

Liberals are very childlike in their gullibility, aren't they?

If any lefties dare show up to this thread, instead of admitting they were snookered, they will just say "Bah. No big deal. You wingers are always making mountains out of molehills."


Posted by: marcus at October 24, 2007 02:04 PM

Yeah, Bob. What Diane said. You've done yeoman's work on this. Thanks.

Posted by: Kadnine at October 24, 2007 02:04 PM

Great work on this Bob!

Reading that transcript it amazing, how Beauchamp is hanging TNR out to dry. "I just don't want to talk about it anymore." That is right, ignore it and it will just go away.

You can just sense Foer realizing that he is screwed as the transcript goes on.

Posted by: SA Miller at October 24, 2007 02:15 PM

Great work on this, Bob!

Posted by: mesablue at October 24, 2007 02:16 PM

Ditto on Diane's comment above, CY.

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 02:21 PM

Putting the truth ahead of your pride. Bob, you're a class act.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at October 24, 2007 02:22 PM

YAH!!! Always a nice thing to see... TNR is going down in flames and maaaaaaaaaaaaan it's sweet! Good Job Bob and Kudos to you! Happy to have lent a hand!

Posted by: Big Country at October 24, 2007 02:23 PM

I especially like the part where Scoblic says he's been on leave. Places fingers in ears, shuts eyes tight, and says Na,na,na,Can't hear you any more.

Posted by: glenn at October 24, 2007 02:24 PM


1. Well it's not amazing but it is vastly amusing. You can just visualize the flop-sweat on Foer's face as he talks to Beauchamp.

2. I third the motion that you did a great job on this CY!

Posted by: memomachine at October 24, 2007 02:24 PM

This is very interesting.

However, I am curious as to why there is a transcript of a phone call in the first place?

I was a JAG in the Army and don't recall anyone's personal phone calls being taken down verbatim by a court reporter. That seems kind of strange to me. Unless, either

a) Beauchamp asked for it to be transcribed b/c he was worried about what TNR would claim he said; or

b) TNR had the conversation transcribed.

If it was the Army that had the conversation transcribed (and by implication that the Army would not allow Beauchamp to speak with anyone without listening in the first instance), I find that strange.

Does anyone have any idea about this?

Posted by: Great Banana at October 24, 2007 02:32 PM

I'm not amused. Every person in that conversation is experiencing pain. The TNR editors had contracted with someone who was supposed to provide true, gritty stories. They were loyal to him, perhaps foolishly. Now they are probably sunk. (Maybe another shoe will drop.) I admire Bush for his loyalty, even though it has sometimes been misplaced. Maybe Foer wasn't being loyal to Beauchamp. I can't read his mind. If he was, that loyalty is admirable. Loyal to Beauchamp and loyal to the truth would be even better.


Posted by: Wince at October 24, 2007 02:39 PM

Mr. Owens:

Congratulations on a job well done. Thanks for keeping an eye on the subject, and TNR's feet to the fire.

It's this sort of doggedness and relentless pursuit of the truth that old-fashioned journalism used to be about, and why the Fourth Estate used to be a term laden with meaning.

Posted by: Lurking Observer at October 24, 2007 02:43 PM

Hi Bob, I was able to access the first transcript and then got nothing but 404 on further attempts. Might just be my setup...has anybody else run into problems or has it been yanked?

Posted by: John H at October 24, 2007 02:45 PM

Bob! You're the bomb! Check that: you're the Bomb Diggity. Which if you keep up with the youngster's lexicon these days, you know that's a compliment in the highest regard.

Posted by: Christopher Calandro at October 24, 2007 02:47 PM

Hey --

Something is up. Drudge made the pdf's disappear. I get 404 page faults when I click on the link.

Did TNR get to Matt?

Posted by: nocoen at October 24, 2007 02:51 PM

Also, Bob, this is way more than you should have gotten out of an FOIA request. The army takes pretty seriously the principle of protecting the privacy of personnel records, and so anything you get via FOIA ought to be heavily redacted. The army did not kick him out, they counselled him, got him to start saying the right things, and they clearly are giving him another chance to straighten up which he has accepted. I can't imagine that the army would have allowed these documents to be released unredacted. They are utterly humiliating to TNR, which the army doesn't care about, but they are embarassing to Beauchamp, and the army clearly does care about that.

I've seen speculation elsewhere that these are the docs that Beauchamp gave the permission to be released to "his" lawyer, Gene, that they talk about in the call. That makes sense -- somebody in Gene's office leaked them to drudge.

Posted by: cathyf at October 24, 2007 02:51 PM

yep, they're pulled. Allah over at Hot Air noticed it too and is wondering if Matt might have gotten suckered. Stay tuned kiddies...

Oh and that takes nothing away from the excellent work you've done Bob! Thanks for your perseverance and steadfastness.

I almost feel sorry for Foer and TNR, but only almost. OTOH, I do feel sorry for his wife on several levels.

Posted by: John H at October 24, 2007 02:55 PM

[Great Banana at October 24, 2007 02:32 PM]

I thought it might have been a transcription by TNR at first, but 1.pdf has what I think a revealing nugget on page 6 of 7. The first Beauchamp comment recorded ends "... (sips water)" and it seems to me the only one knowing Beauchamp sipped water would be the one transcibing it and could see it, unless this was a video hookup, too. On that basis, I'd say this conversation was transcribed by the Army.

I did find it interesting the footer date is 17 July 07. Off hand, I would guess this is the date the Army investigation was started and it is one day before the first Weekly Standard story calling research a "mission for bloggers".

(As a side note, I apologise to anyone who was on this story before that TWS post but this one is sticking in my mind right now as the kickstarter and I want to be disbused of this impression if I have remember incorrectly.)

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 02:56 PM


Thanks. I was not able to see the documents as I got an error message and they seem to be down now. What you cite does seem to me to indicate it was an Army transcription.

While I believe that Beauchamp's stories were complete fabrications, I don't think this is quite the nail it looks like.

If, in fact, not only was the Army known to be listening to the conversation, but also to be transcribing it - there arises a credible agrument that TNR can make - i.e., that Beauchamp was afraid to stand by his story for fear of discipline.

The transcript, if real, would have been much more devastating to TNR if the Army did not listen in to the phone call and it was TNR who had the conversation transcribed. In that case it would be much harder to make the above argument.

The people at TNR and their believers also won't put any stock in the Army investigation and report. They are already predisposed to think badly of the army, thus they will simply think the Army is lying and doing a cover-up.

So, these docs don't really move the ball on getting TNR to admit its unethical behavior and admitting that the stories were not true.

Posted by: Great Banana at October 24, 2007 03:03 PM


Posted by: Dan Collins at October 24, 2007 03:06 PM

I wondered about the July date, too.

In any case, Mike McCullough has the Drudge .PDF's backed-up here --

Posted by: Billy Beck at October 24, 2007 03:06 PM

Great Banana,

It is an Army transcript, you can tell by the way it is formatted.

Oddly the store is now gone from Drudge, and the PDFs are gone.

Posted by: SA Miller at October 24, 2007 03:11 PM

I was going to note that Drudge may have pulled the story for the moment because of some error collating the pdf's.

I did happen to notice in 3.pdf, that there is an error in the beginning of the Army's Summary, to wit, shock Troops was "posted" (published) on 13 July, not 17 July, per my screen shot of TNR's pages. Not a big deal but ...

For the record, I will be quite unhappy with Drudge if he did not get the documents, particularly the Army docs, from either Beauchamp, his wife or lawyer. And if he did not, I won't shed a tear if he is sued. If it was leaked by someone in the Army, I hope they find and discipline whoever it was.

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 03:47 PM

Re the last comment, I base it on the understanding that the formal army docs (not the transcripts) docs can't be released without Beauchamp's permission. I have no idea what the protocol is wrt to those.

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 03:49 PM

The first pdf was scanned on an HP Digital Sender with its clock set to Baghdad time zone. The ModifyDate field in the file metadata is


The "+03:00" indicates the time zone, and +3 is Baghdad time.

Posted by: Molon Labe at October 24, 2007 03:54 PM

[Molon Labe at October 24, 2007 03:54 PM]

Pretty much the same for 2.pdf, except the time is 10:39:51.

3.pdf appears to be 2007-08-24T09:40:51+04:00.

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 04:25 PM

I suspect, based on my experience in the Reserves since I came back in in '06, that every orderly room in the Army has one of those HP Digital Senders. Nice devices....

And I suspect that whoever sent them out might not have been authorized to do so....

Posted by: SGT Jeff (USAR) at October 24, 2007 04:30 PM

BlackFive comments on the issue

Updates 2: Getting some email that the docs are forgeries. I doubt it. I read them. And I had seen the transcripts weeks ago.

Posted by: JustADude at October 24, 2007 04:30 PM

Doubt it was a video interview since TNR asked Beauchamp twice who was with in the room with him and Beauchamp's answer included the fact that he was on the speakerphone, as well as naming other attendees.

Posted by: capitano at October 24, 2007 04:32 PM

Dusty wrote:

"3.pdf appears to be 2007-08-24T09:40:51+04:00"

Note that daylight savings time ended in Baghdad on October 1. Hence, the "+04:00" became "+03:00" after Oct 1.

Posted by: Molon Labe at October 24, 2007 04:37 PM

I just checked hoping to pull up parts 2 & 3, as of right now there is no sign of the article at Drudge.

Posted by: Boss429 at October 24, 2007 04:52 PM

[Molon Labe at October 24, 2007 04:37 PM]

Thanks, ML, I went to dinner right after commenting and that difference was bugging me.

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 06:31 PM

Foer still has to explain why all references to Beauchamp and this scandal had already been removed from the TNR site in a tacit confession of the story's complete bogus-ness.

Posted by: Karen Schell at October 24, 2007 07:04 PM

Little Green Footballs blog has the pdf files of this.

Posted by: Delphina at October 24, 2007 07:21 PM

[Karen Schell at October 24, 2007 07:04 PM]

Karen, in an e-mail to Instapundit, TNR says they are doing some site-server upgrades. They gave him the urls to the pages in question which he relays on his blog and they work. So it seems they were not scrubbed.

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 07:25 PM

Does anyone else think it a bit strange that Foer is passing on STB's wife's comment re: how important it is he not recant? If it was that important to her, wouldn't she have made that pitch directly to him (of course I'm assuming they're still speaking to each other)? Call me a cynic, but I'm thinking Foer made that up too.

Posted by: Kyle at October 24, 2007 08:04 PM

"Karen, in an e-mail to Instapundit, TNR says they are doing some site-server upgrades."

Thanks for the reply, Dusty. I wondered why all of the pages mentioning the scandal were missing, Even TNRs responses to critics in the Plank blog. Seems odd all - and I do mean "all" - the references have been missing in action for at least two weeks (according to Glenn's post).

I'm curious if these items will turn up in the TNR search when the site's "redesign" is complete.

Thanks again for that info!

Posted by: Karen Schell at October 24, 2007 08:07 PM

Time will tell, but some places have said Ms Beauchamp is not with TNR any more.

If they have indeed split company would she and Scott possibly have slipped the docs out?????


Any thoughts on if this is maybe true or not?

Posted by: JustADude at October 24, 2007 08:07 PM

One of the guys over at BlackFive recently embedded in Iraq and had a meet up with Scott he was all sort of hush hush about.

Wonder if that ties in any way here.

He was hinting of news to be breaking at the time.

Posted by: JustADude at October 24, 2007 08:10 PM

TNR has no been shy about sending lawyers out to do their dirty work about this issue.

Maybe they pointed them at Drudge.

Posted by: JustADude at October 24, 2007 08:12 PM

[JustADude at October 24, 2007 08:07 PM]

JustADude, There was an offhand remark on a friend of Scott's blog that she didn't work there anymore but it wasn't specific that she quit, was fired, or laid off, just that she wasn't working there anymore. I checked TNR's masthead page where her name had appeared under the heading (IIRC) "Reporter-Researchers", and it had been removed.

I don't remember seeing any further verification than that.

Posted by: Dusty at October 24, 2007 08:54 PM

This didn't come at a good time for CanWest, the public Canadian corporation that is the owner of The New Republic. Suffering from a significant stock decline since mid-Spring. As the firm is also cross-listed on NYSE, one would wonder what ramifications may exist should CanWest executives have permitted the publication and continuation of knowingly false information by TNR that was certain to further damage the credibility and subsequent circulation and financial condition of one of their significant properties.

CanWest is listed on the Toronto Exchange under the ticker CGS

I'd really like to see Sarbanes-Oxley used to investigate public media firms that artificially prop up their stock price by refusing to disclose material findings of major credibility-damaging disasters like this latest TNR "cooked news" episode. Rumor has it Jeff Skilling and Bernie Ebbers could use a Foerth.

Posted by: redherkey at October 24, 2007 08:59 PM

Apparently Foer gave an interview earlier today, in which he claimed that "the documents relating to Scott Thomas Beauchamp that Matt Drudge posted this afternoon--and removed several hours later without explanation--could have only come from the Army".

Note that Foer is not claiming any sort of fabrication, only complaining that the truth was leaked.

Posted by: Buzzsaw at October 24, 2007 09:07 PM


That matches with my recall just as you told it.

Just wasn't sure and didn't want to name the wrong places I saw it.

Posted by: JustADude at October 24, 2007 09:38 PM

I saw in the Observer thing that Foer claimed he'd been trying to get the info via a FOIA request and had failed. So I was wondering - as I read the law, you should be able to do a FOIA request to find out who else, if anyone, had made FOIA requests for these docs.

I would do it, but I'm not sure which office to send the request to.

Posted by: Skip at October 24, 2007 09:48 PM

Just speculation, but I would venture that the Army offered to transcribe the phone interview and Beauchamp consented. By the time this interview took place, Beauchamp would have already seen that TNR was willing to "frame the narrative" in terms favorable to themselves (the Bradley expert, claims that access to Beauchamp was being denied, etc...). If I was his squad leader, I would have recommended that he make sure that every interaction with media was above-board and able to be fully documented.

As to who did the leaking, it seems the Army has handled everything up to this point above reproach and is not likely to be involved in a leak. This situation is radioactive in Army terms and any under-the-table dealings could be career-ending if caught. The attorney's office would be where I would start looking. The documents certainly appear authentic, speaking as someone who has done an AR 15-6 investigation. They are rigidly formatted and tremendously time-intensive... I had little time to work on anything else while conducting the investigation.

Posted by: Stashiu3 at October 24, 2007 09:54 PM

Foer complaining in the Observer about leaks of a transcript of telephone call in which he participated in is pretty funny given that they hadn't acknowledged the call had ever taken place either. He submitted a FOIA for a transcript of his own telephone call?

What happened to all Franklin's fact checking? If they verified everything as they claimed, why do they even need Beauchamp's stuff? Why doesn't Franklin spill the beans on TNR's vaunted fact checking machine, or lack thereof as part of the process? The desperation is palpable from reading those transcripts.

Posted by: daleyrocks at October 24, 2007 11:46 PM

By any chance does TNR have offices in southern California ? It's pretty obvious now that their credibility is up in smoke.

Posted by: Neo at October 24, 2007 11:58 PM

I don't mean to be sensationalistic here but should we have federal laws that classify such wrong doing as treason and punished accordingly.

If it's unlawful to yell 'fire' in a theatre, shouldn't it be also unlawful to write AND PUBLISH fabrications that will tend to incite our enemies - especially in a time of war.

I haven't researched the specifics but I'm guessing that the author's fabrications were gleefully dispersed by our enemies and used a recruiting material to justify more jihad.

And now that the absolute falsehood of his reports have ben recanted and disproven, the damage has been done and we won't be able to get that Jeanie back into the bottle again.

THAT is what makes these types of fabrications so incredibly harmful and devious and the people who are responsible for their creation and careless publication, once convicted, should face a firing squad.

And that should include the leaking of classified national secrets at the NY Times as well.

Enough is enough already!

Posted by: Russ at October 25, 2007 01:58 AM

What better way to change the conversation- Army records soldiers phone calls then releases the records to the media. This is now about the Army and not TNR. The Dems in Congress can get their teeth into this.

Posted by: davod at October 25, 2007 04:55 AM

Bob - You kept the story alive and pushed it forward each and every time. That heat from you and those who also concentrated on it raised the heat on all involved: TNR, Beauchamp, and any and all lawyers. As soon as you get *staff* involved in these things they do not remain out of view for long in the modern age.

Russ - You would want the Sedition Laws as pertaining to the Armed Forces: 18 USC 2387 for peace time, and 18 USC 2388 in time of war. They are part of Chapter 115 covering Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities. As the Armed Forces are on a Congressionally Authorized Use of Force, which has been seen as a DoW, it is 'in time of war'. That is something all the news agencies really must deal with, as well as reporting on things in a war zone as the Geneva Conventions strictly limit what can and cannot be shown. That is handled under 18 USC Chapter 118 - War Crimes for the civil side, the military having 10 USC to cover their activities. False reporting of a War Crime would also fit into the TNR story and problem, and such would fall both under Ch. 115 and 118.

The US Armed Forces can very well document such conversations as the Executive Authority during war time, overseas, for 10 USC investigations are handled differently, especially with regard to war crimes. As the defilement of any territory under control of a foreign force is specifically prohibited by the 1899 Hague Convention, that would be the case here. The Armed Forces do have wide discretion in such as it *should* for the investigation of war crimes.

TNR forgot that there is more to the Civil Code than just civilians and in pursuit of a 10 USC investigation. Part of the problem with FISA is a deliberate attempt to blur between the 10 USC areas for military work and the rest of the US Code. In theory 10 USC should govern locally and requests on that basis should not go through FISA... yet we have a soldier dead because the blurry lines put in by Congress now cloud that issue. My guess would be the conversation transcription as part of the Beauchamp investigation under 10 USC got filed over to permanent documents and those went to file clerks... *staff*.

Posted by: ajacksonian at October 25, 2007 06:30 AM

I really wonder why they used the term (unintelligible) when what was really said was .

Heh, indeed.

Blogosphere: 42,377 Lamestream Media: 0

Posted by: NavyspyII at October 25, 2007 08:30 AM

In Foer's latest interview he said, "He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him."

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at October 25, 2007 09:16 AM

An E-6 squad leader is neither a commander or an officer. Beauchamp's commanding officer would be his company commander, most likely a Captain.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at October 25, 2007 09:18 AM

Not that I think Foer is being deceitful, just ignorant about the military. Sorry for breaking my post up, but I kept getting a posting error.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at October 25, 2007 09:19 AM

The documents certainly appear authentic, speaking as someone who has done an AR 15-6 investigation. They are rigidly formatted and tremendously time-intensive... I had little time to work on anything else while conducting the investigation.

Does anybody else get the impression from reading the report that

a) the army considers Beauchamp's behavior more obnoxious than anything else (I can almost see the assistant-principal eye roll and hear the exasperated sigh); and

b) as far as the army is concerned, if TNR was stupid enough to get sucked in by Beauchamp's pathetic Hemingway fantasies then it just goes to prove that the MSM is pretty lame. (What's the phrase? "A mouse with delusions of being a rat" -- seems to fit TNR pretty well...)

Posted by: cathyf at October 25, 2007 09:53 AM

[BohicaTwentyTwo at October 25, 2007 09:16 AM]

Yup, that's a spinning Foer for you. But Foer's crude Elspeth card is just playful banter. While Kurtz can only report it, what annoys me more is that Kurtz misleads here:

"Beauchamp's July 13 column, published under the pen name Scott Thomas, was quickly attacked by conservative bloggers, sparking the biggest crisis for the liberal magazine since staff writer Stephen Glass was fired in 1998 for a series of fabricated stories.

Beauchamp had written that he and other soldiers had taunted a female soldier whose face was badly disfigured. The Army report said every soldier interviewed in Beauchamp's unit could not recall such a woman and called the account 'completely fabricated.'"

Howard Kurtz, WaPo 25 Oct 2007

You may have it half written already, CY, because you've had to correct other versions like this mischaracterization of events by omission of essential facts:

-- Beauchamp claimed it happened in Iraq and suggested this dishonorable action was a byproduct of becoming the cruel monster that all soldiers are, because, all soldiers find this type of behavior to be funny, since "That is how war works: It degrades every part of you, and your sense of humor is no exception."
-- When called on event by milbloggers and others, including some that went to the COP's Beauchamp frequented in an attempt to verify it, Beauchamp and then Foer admitted it was false, and then claimed it really happened in Kuwait before he'd ever been in Iraq and before "How war works" could degraded him.

The Army's confirmation it was fantasy wasn't determinative, it was icing on the cake.

Posted by: Dusty at October 25, 2007 10:53 AM