November 13, 2005

The strange case of Doug Thompson

Emperor Darth Misha I beats the snot out of Doug Thompson of Capitol Hill Blue for writing this article which, as much of Thompson's work does, seems rather thinly sourced for the extraordinary nature of it's accusations.

Thompson makes the claim that a sooper sekret memo is floating around to Republican leaders that discusses how a terror attack on US soil might be a key to getting Bush's poll numbers back up. All of the significant information in the story was allegedly given to Thompson by unnamed sources in the White House and on Capitol Hill.

Why in the world would such a thing even be discussed, what's more written down?

While the headline and first few paragraphs are about the alleged memo (which Thompson somehow, despite his impecible loose-lipped sources, cannot not produce), the article goes on to address the chaos that the Republican Party is s'posed to be in. Pardon my skepticism but this stuff reeks of bullshit:

The closely-guarded memo lays out a list of scenarios to bring the Republican party back from the political brink, including a devastating attack by terrorists that could “validate” the President’s war on terror and allow Bush to “unite the country” in a “time of national shock and sorrow.”

The memo says such a reversal in the President's fortunes could keep the party from losing control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections.

GOP insiders who have seen the memo admit it’s a risky strategy [huh?!!-TS] and point out that such scenarios are “blue sky thinking” that often occurs in political planning sessions.

Other Republicans, however, worry that such a scenario carries high risk, pointing out that an attack might suggest the President has not done enough to protect the country.

The memo outlines other scenarios, including:

--Capture of Osama bin Laden (or proof that he is dead);

--A drastic turnaround in the economy;

--A "successful resolution" of the Iraq war.

GOP memos no longer talk of “victory” in Iraq but use the term “successful resolution.”

“A successful resolution would be us getting out intact and civil war not breaking out until after the midterm elections,” says one insider.

The memo circulates as Tuesday’s disastrous election defeats have left an already dysfunctional White House in chaos, West Wing insiders say, with shouting matches commonplace and the blame game escalating into open warfare.

“This place is like a high-school football locker room after the team lost the big game,” grumbles one Bush administration aide. “Everybody’s pissed and pointing the finger at blame at everybody else.”

“Cooler heads tried to prevail,” one aide says. “Most knew an appearance by the President would hurt Kilgore rather than help him but (Karl) Rove rammed it through, convincing Bush that he had enough popularity left to make a difference.”

Bush didn’t have any popularity left. Overnight tracking polls showed Kilgore dropped three percentage points after the President’s appearance and Democrat Tim Kaine won on Tuesday.

As Republican political strategists scramble to find a message – any message – that will ring true with voters, GOP leaders in Congress admit privately that control of their party by right-wing extremists makes their recovery all but impossible.

“We’ve made our bed with these people,” admits an aide to House Speaker Denny Hastert. “Now it’s the morning after and the hangover hurts like hell.”

I included some of those non-memo-related "quotes" for the reason that, to me, they don't sound like anything that so-called Republican insiders would say to a reporter; they sound like things that a Democrat would want unnamed Republican insiders to say.

Of course, this is far from the first time that Thompson's well-places unnamed "sources" have given him, of all people, such juicy gossip. Here's a recent article Bush's sooper sekret enemies list.

Spurred by paranoia and aided by the USA Patriot Act, the Bush Administration has compiled dossiers on more than 10,000 Americans it considers political enemies and uses those files to wage war on those who disagree with its policies.

The “enemies list” dates back to Bush’s days as governor of Texas and can be accessed by senior administration officials in an instant for use in campaigns to discredit those who speak out against administration policies or acts of the President.

The computerized files include intimate personal details on members of Congress; high-ranking local, state and federal officials; prominent media figures and ordinary citizens who may, at one time or another, have spoken out against the President or Administration.

Capitol Hill Blue has spoken with a number of current and former administration officials who acknowledge existence of the enemies list only under a guarantee of confidentiality. Those who have seen the list say it is far more extensive than Richard Nixon’s famous “enemies list” of Watergate fame or Bill Clinton’s dossiers on political enemies.

“How is it that you think Karl (Rove) and Scooter (Libby) were able to disseminate so much information on Joe Wilson and his wife,” says one White House aide. “They didn’t have that information by accident. They had it because they have files on those who might hurt them.”

Now, I don't know about any "enemies list", but look at that quote from the anonymous "White House aide". He names Rove when not even the grand jury did that! And what is this " much information..." crud? Libby mentioned that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. That's it.
There are "quotes" like this aplenty in the article.

And speaking of comparisons to Nixon, here's a Thompson piece from July, '04 where unnamed sources describe Bush as being a few agates short of a sack o'marbles.

President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.

In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state.”

Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.

“It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there.”

In interviews with a number of White House staffers who were willing to talk off the record, a picture of an administration under siege has emerged, led by a man who declares his decisions to be “God’s will” and then tells aides to “fuck over” anyone they consider to be an opponent of the administration.

Perhaps Doug Thompson is an anti-Bush propogandist who's making up quotes to flesh out fantastic storylines. Perhaps he's a dupe and is getting quotes from people only claiming to have the inside scoop. Perhaps this is what inside sources are actually telling him.

He claims to be a non-partisan who, while he has worked for Republicans in the past, is a registered independent. But he did write a strongly worded condemnation of the creation of the Office of Homeland Security here"here.

Capitol Hill Blue has been around for over 10 years, and Thompson authored similar stories during the Clinton administrations, as described here.

Interviews conducted over the past two weeks by Thompson showed an increasingly isolated President whose obsession with his place in the history books has led him to ignore the recommendations not only of career military officers, but also of many close aides. "The President is standing alone on a lot of this," says one White House aide. "He's finding fewer and fewer people who are willing to stick with him over Kosovo. He's backed himself, his administration and his country into a corner."

At the Pentagon, senior officers now call the President the "draft dodger in chief," and sneer at his inability to grasp simple military tactics. "The man is an ass," says one career officer. "He has no concept of a military operation. To him, it's just a video game. What we don't know is how many body bags it will take to make this jerk face reality."

There was a hubbub followed by a curious column some months ago. Thompson had attributed some quotes -- about Bush's alleged desire to prove that Saddam had WMD even it they couldn't prove it -- to oneTerrance J. Wilkinson. When confronted with the veracity of the quotes, Thompson wrote about a 20 year-long relation he had with Wilkinson, an ex-military and CIA consultant, and how he'd used him as a source -- unnamed, of course -- for many years. Then he writes:
On Tuesday, we ran a story headlined "White House admits Bush wrong about Iraqi nukes." For the first time, Wilkinson said he was willing to go on the record and told a story about being present, as a CIA contract consultant, at two briefings with Bush. He said he was retired now and was fed up and wanted to go public.

"He (Bush) said that if the current operatives working for the CIA couldn't prove the story was true, then the agency had better find some who could," Wilkinson said in our story. "He said he knew the story was true and so would the world after American troops secured the country."

After the story ran, we received a number of emails or phone calls that (1) either claimed Wilkinson was lying or (2) doubted his existence. I quickly dismissed the claims. After all, I had known this guy for 20+ years and had no doubt about his credibility. Some people wanted to talk to him, so I forwarded those requests on to him via email. He didn't answer my emails, which I found odd. I should have listened to a bell that should have been going off in my ear.

Today, a White House source I know and trust said visitor logs don't have any record of anyone named Terrance J. Wilkinson ever being present at a meeting with the President. Then a CIA source I trust said the agency had no record of a contract consultant with that name. "Nobody, and I mean nobody, has ever heard of this guy," my source said.

I tried calling Terry's phone number. I got a recorded message from a wireless phone provider saying the number was no longer in service. I tried a second phone number I had for him. Same result.

Both of his phone numbers have Los Angeles area codes but an identity check through Know-X today revealed no record of anyone named Terrance J. Wilkinson ever having lived in LA or surrounding communities.

His email address turns out to be a blind forward to a free email service where anyone can sign up and get an email account. Because it was not one of the usual "free" services like Hotmail, Yahoo or such, I did not recognize it as one (although you'd think that someone like me would have known better).

The bottom line is that someone has been running a con on me for 20 some years and I fell for it like a little old lady in a pigeon drop scheme. I've spent the last two hours going through the database of Capitol Hill Blue stories and removing any that were based on information from Wilkinson (or whoever he is). I've also removed his name, quotes and claims from Tuesday's story about the White House and the uranium claims.

If all of that is true then it's truely bizarre. A source gives acurate information anonymously for years; decides to be quoted by name; is found to have, for the first time, given unreliable information; is called on it and vanishes.

Now, I don't know Doug Thompson from Adam West, but it seems to me that -- and I could be wrong -- that Thompson boneheadedly put a name on one of his made-up "quotes"; thought that indentifying Wilkinson as a CIA consultant would keep him from being found out; got called on it and made up a story about the reliable source having duped him for over two decades. I could be wrong, though.

Perhaps Thompson's articles are born out of nothing but a desire to write sensational stories about the behind the scenes White House. Or, perhaps he has an anti-Bush agenda. I'll point you, lastly, to an article he wrote last spring calling for Bush's impeachment.

Democrats staged a "hearing" on the Downing Street memo last week but
it was little more than a photo op. Republicans didn't participate
because the lackey GOP leadership of both the House and Senate
disregards the truth as much as the Liar-in-Chief in the White House.

Privately, Republicans in both the House and Senate say Bush has left
them and their party in a "no win" situation in Iraq and they fear
growing public opposition to the war will cost them control of
Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections and the White House in 2008.

"We got trouble," one long-time GOP consultant told me. "That starts
with `T' and that rhymes with `B' and that stands for `Bush.'"

America might be able to survive until 2006 to replace the scandal-
ridden GOP leadership of Congress but the country cannot afford to
wait until 2008 to get rid of George W. Bush. His criminal acts merit
immediate impeachment and then removal of office.

Then he should be tried as a traitor for his crimes. War criminals
deserve no less.

I report; you decide.

Posted by Tuning Spork at November 13, 2005 08:27 PM | TrackBack

Of the people who ought to be tried, he might be in line. It's jerks like this that endanger the 1st amendment most, by abuse of the freedom on such major matters. Sounds to me like he just makes junk up off the top of his head. His story about "the disappearing source" is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard. The staggering quantity of people, records, and sources necessary for that to happen is the stuff of fantasy TV and movies--not the real world. I cannot BELIEVE anybody let him get away with that! I not only think he needs to be relieved of his writing job, I think he needs to be medicated.

Posted by: McTANK at November 14, 2005 05:50 PM
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