Another brick in the wall…
NEW YORK – At the behest of CBS, an adviser to John Kerry said he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush’s National Guard service shortly before disputed documents were released.
Joe Lockhart denied any connection between the presidential campaign and the papers. Lockhart, the second Kerry ally to confirm contact with retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, said he made the call at the suggestion of CBS producer Mary Mapes.
…Lockhart said Mapes asked him the weekend before the story broke to call Burkett. “She basically said there’s a guy who is being helpful on the story who wants to talk to you,” Lockhart said, adding that it was common knowledge that CBS was working on a story raising questions about Bush’s Guard service. Mapes told him there were some records “that might move the story forward. She didn’t tell me what they said.”We know from earlier today the CBS (Mary Mapes) contacted Burkett inquiring about obtaining the forged memos, not the other way around. As reader Bill Millan asks,
We know that prior to Mapes’ call to Burkett, Burkett had contacted Cleland and told him about them the “new information.” Today it was reported that Cleland received copies of the memos. We also know that Cleland had told Burkett to call the Kerry campaign. We know that call was received but the campaign denies following up on the information.
There are a dearth on non-Kerry related names swirling around the story. It is just about inescapable that someone associated with the Kerry campaign told Mapes about Burkett.
OK, that question has been asked. Another question is, why is the most powerful (based on her recent work) producer at 60 Minutes suggesting that another top member of the Kerry campaign check out the source of her story?
Update: In case you had forgotten Joe Lockhart was brought on (with much fanfare) to the Kerry campaign to sharpen the attacks on President Bush.
Update 2: Rathergate notes that Burkett told USA TODAY that he had agreed to turn over the documents to CBS if the network would help arrange a conversation with the Kerry campaign. They also mention that Tony Coehlo says the DNC had the memos before CBS. Operation Fortunate Son pretty much telegraphed the fact that the DNC was fully informed before the first 60 Minutes II broadcast.
Update 3: White House reaction (Dan Bartlett) – “The fact that CBS News would coordinate with the most senior levels of Senator Kerry’s campaign is a stunning and deeply troubling revelation that raises serious questions. It’s time for the Kerry campaign to come clean about their involvement in this growing scandal and for Senator Kerry to immediately hold accountable anyone in his campaign that was involved.”
Update 4: DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Update 5: RatherBiased.com is temporarily offline due to a server fire. They’re doing their updates at Mudville Gazette