By now you’ve read that the Panel said they could not prove Mapes or Rather did this for political reasons. I suppose if the Panel is admitting that they do not have the ability to read Mapes and Rather’s minds then they have a point…. But I think we can draw some logical conclusions.
How bad did they want the story and when did they want it? (pg 61)
Late on Monday, August 30, Lieutenant Colonel Burkett agreed to meet with Mapes and Smith on Thursday, September 2 and to show them some documents. In apparent anticipation that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett might be reluctant to show them the documents, Smith e-mailed a detailed proposal to Mapes on Tuesday, August 31, regarding putting Lieutenant Colonel Burkett in touch with an agent for a book deal, and Smith indicated that he would try to work something out with his publishing friends:
Today I am going to send the following hypothetical scenario to a reliable, trustable editor friend of mine . . . What if there was a person who might have some information that could possibly change the momentum of an election but we needed to get an ASAP book deal to help get us the information?
What kinds of turnaround payment schedules are possible, keeping in mind the book probably could not make it out until after the election… What I am asking is in this best case hypothetical scenario, can we get a decent sized advance payment, and get it turned around quickly.
Then they will respond with some possible scenarios of what they could do. When we get to Burkett’s house I will have at least some scenarios to show Burkett about what could happen if he played ball with the documents. If he shows us what we want, then I can call my friend and tell him the real details and start the process.
Yikes… Paying off an “unimpeachable source” to make sure he spilled the beans before the election… That’s a confidence builder.
Then we learn Mapes had planned BACK IN JUNE to air the story less than 8 weeks before the election. (pgs 57-58)
Smith also was retained by Mapes to work on the TexANG story as a freelance researcher, but not until later in the summer. Nonetheless, they corresponded regarding the topic and other leads regarding President Bush in June and July. In mid-June, Smith e-mailed Mapes and indicated that he was working on a documentary for a German television network regarding the Bush family and that he had a ?tasty brisket? of information. It is not clear what Smith meant. At the end of June, Smith asked Mapes whether she was ?serious? about pursuing the TexANG story. Mapes responded:
I am DEADLY serious about it. I have two other people working with me, looking at various aspects of the story, trying to find an opening. Barnes is on board, as on board as he can be anyway. I expect him to do it. The piece (if I get it) will run in early September. I need all the help I can get. Just tell me what you’ve got.
I think that is what they call in the legal biz, “premeditation.”
Of course, there was no political bias or motivation. — Who would think such a thing?