Where's George? And where's Doug?

My previous post about the much-quoted "George Harleigh" (said to be a SIU political science professor who worked for Nixon and Reagan administrations) has received enough attention that I thought it merited a new post.

Clayton Cramer linked my original post and asked his readers for help in locating the mystery man. According to readers who've checked the relevant academic databases, there's nothing. Anywhere:

There's nothing by "George Harleigh" on EBSCOHost Academic Search Premiere, either.


[...]

Social Science Citation Index reports, for Harleigh, G :

"NOTICE

The author name you entered did not result in a match from the index. Hint: Check the spelling of the name, or remove the initials to broaden your search."

No change when the initial was omitted.

There's a Harley, G, who has published
" Zhang XF, Harley G, De Jonghe LC
Co-continuous metal-ceramic nanocomposites "

Doesn't look like political science.

JSTOR returns Harleigh Hartman and Harleigh Trecker.

Political Science Abstracts returns no hits for Harleigh

Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life returns no hits for Harleigh.

Dissertation Abstracts returns Harleigh Enid Wilmott, a biologist.

OCLC's "WorldCat" shows no titles by George Harleigh

GPO Access shows no government documents with author George Harleigh.

To which Cramer comments:
Amazing--someone became a professor at Southern Illinois University without a single published work, anywhere!
Well, not according to the SIU Department of Political Science. (When I called the department, I was told the list of emeritus professors goes from Hargraves to Harlow.)

Philadelphia journalist Steve Silver has linked this post and is also asking questions about George Harleigh:

Calls by the blogger to SIU, and searches of Lexus-Nexis for published material by him, find no mention of Harleigh, and he's not mentioned on Google anywhere other than in providing quotes to blogs. Anyone ever heard of this guy, and have any evidence that exists or did exist? I'm figuring either he's real and everyone's wrong, or someone just made him up and his same few quotes have been recycled again and again for years, or there's some guy out there claiming to be a disgruntled former Nixon/Reagan aide.
There are serious logical problems posed by any attempt to prove conclusively that a person does not (or did not) exist. No matter how many searches fail to prove the existence of someone, that failure does not negate the person's possible existence. However, when a specific person's specific occupation or background are made relevant as they are here, it is possible to disprove such a person's occupation or background, simply by the absence of official records. (For example, if someone claims to be a Navy SEAL, that claim can be verified or debunked, and there are websites devoted to doing just that.)

The burden of proof, though, normally falls on those asserting that the person exists. In the case of George Harleigh, virtually all quotations and references to him originate with Doug Thompson, a self-described journalist ["newspaperman"] who runs the Capitol Hill Blue web site.

Which means at this point that the burden is on Mr. Thompson to supply evidence:

  • that there is a "George Harleigh"; and
  • and that he is the man described and quoted in innumerable articles, who taught Political Science at SIU and worked in the Nixon and Reagan administrations.
  • If "George Harleigh" is a pseudonym, that fact should be disclosed, and if there is a person calling himself "George Harleigh" whose remarks are being repeated, it falls on Doug Thompson to provide some evidence that this man is who he says he is.

    Under the circumstances, until I hear otherwise, I think it is entirely reasonable to conclude that:

  • there is no former political science professor named "George Harleigh" who worked for Nixon and Reagan; and
  • Quotations attributed to him are inherently unreliable, and cast serious doubt on the credibility of sites which rely on them.
  • Again, if my suspicions turn out to be wrong, I'll certainly acknowledge that with apologies to Doug Thompson and George Harleigh.

    MORE: According to blogger Angry Bear, three years ago Doug Thompson admitted that he had been conned for the last 20 years by someone named "Terry Wilkinson":

    The Capitol Hill Blue story cited below is a hoax--Capitol Hill Blue founder Doug Thompson now alleges that he was intentionally deceived by someone pretending to be Terry Wilkinson for the last 20 years (Thompson: "Erasing the stories doesn't erase the fact that we ran articles containing information that, given the source, was probably inaccurate. And it doesn't erase the sad fact that my own arrogance allowed me to be conned").
    The problem is, the Thompson site link does not discuss the Terry Wilkinson "conning" incident.

    But that's because the references were erased. Another post has the full quote about the "erasures," plus more from Doug Thompson: If that is the case, then why were these words edited out of the post in question? Another post here -- same thing, Doug Thompson's apology from nowhere.

    Editing the fraudulent character out of the post is one thing, but if we assume Doug Thompson was conned, admitted it, apologized for it, and vowed not to let it happen again, well, why would he censor such an important admission to his readers?

    Might this not be seen as casting doubt on the sincerity of his admission?

    Or am I missing something?

    UPDATE: More on the Wilkinson "con" story:

    On a forum for the CHB website, Doug Thompson, who runs CHB, was asked about the problems a Freeper had reported in trying to get information on Wilkinson. Here is the meat of Thompson's reply:
    I've known Terry Wilkinson for 20+ years and his decision to go public was a painful one that I'm sure will bring recriminations. But he loves his country a lot more than any political party or politician. I've received some emails today regarding his comments and have forwarded them on to him. It's his decision as to whether or not he wishes to respond.

    But I don't feed anyone's desire for a witch hunt. When we ran the stories about Bill Clinton's sexual assaults on women, we identified a number of the women. I don't recall anyone at Free Republican demanding "proof" of their identity although I did have a number of liberal media types hounding me for more information.

    I didn't pander to them and I won't to anyone else. I stand by the stories that run on our web site. You are free to read them or not read them, believe them or not believe them. It's a free world. We've been on the web since 1994 and we will be here 10 years from now.

    Hopefully, there will be some kind of confirmation or refutation of this story within the next few days, but I thought the information was interesting enough to at least make note of it. I'll let you know if I find out anything further.
    Again, there are links, but they're useless. (Anyone who wants to experiment with them can just go to the post.)

    UPDATE: This is more fun than I thought. Kevin Drum had a post discussing the CHB con job which refers to a "'CIA advisor' named Terrance J. Wilkinson" and which says:

    YELLOWCAKE UPDATE....Yesterday I wrote a post about a story in Capitol Hill Blue in which a "CIA advisor" named Terrance J. Wilkinson claimed that he was present at White House briefings where George Bush was told that the Niger uranium story was bogus.

    "I'm not sure how seriously to take this," I wrote, and it turns out that the answer is, "Not at all." Writing in Capitol Hill Blue today, publisher Doug Thompson says, "I've been had big time." Wilkinson is a fake and the briefings never took place.

    The comments are lots of fun, with one saying that "Poor Wilkerson is even now being chased by Ashcroft's thugs . . ." and another saying he's "grateful not to coincidentally be named Terry Wilkinson right now."

    Will John Ashcroft's goons soon be rousting everyone named "George Harleigh"?

    My favorite comment predicts the end of the "right wing" CHB:

    Goodbye CHB. danelectro: fascinating. It certainly explains this weirdness better than anything else I've seen, and CHB is, as you say, clearly a right-wing site: so why would they break a story trashing Bush?
    Hmmm . . .

    (Is it just my imagination, or are there a lot of antiwar activists claiming to be "right wing"?)

    UPDATE: Cache of now-dysfuntional Truthout post with the full text of CHB's original apology here. (Rather than clutter up the blog, I'm putting it below.)

    Truthout.org's website appears to be functioning, so I don't understand why the CHB apology link is not.

    MORE: In 2003 Glenn Reynolds discussed the CHB Wilkinson matter in at least two posts, and praised the bloggers who had linked the retraction.

    . . .many bloggers who ran with the original story have noted it, including quite a few lefty bloggers who clearly wanted to believe it. They deserve credit -- as does Capitol Hill Blue -- for the retraction.
    But will there ever be a "George Harleigh" retraction?

    Stay tuned!

    UPDATE: I have emailed Mr. Thompson with my concerns, and I'll note any response I receive.

    UPDATE: as of 3:35 p.m. today (07/20/06), "George Harleigh" is being deleted from posts! Here's the cache of the most recently written post -- as it appeared yesterday:

    It's not the first time the unwary President, who claims to be a born-again Christian, has been caught cursing. He called a New York Times reporter a "son of a bitch" to an open mike, told Wall Street Journal reporter Al Hunt "fuck you" in front of his daughters and, in a meeting with members of Congress, called the Constitution "just a goddamned piece of paper."

    "Like Nixon, Bush's private persona is much different," says retired political scientiest George Harleigh, who served in both the Nixon and Reagan administration. "Nixon cursed like a sailor when he was out of public view. So does Bush."

    The U.S. president blames Syria and Iran for supporting Hezbollah guerrillas operating in southern Lebanon.

    And here's the same text as it appears now:
    It's not the first time the unwary President, who claims to be a born-again Christian, has been caught cursing. He called a New York Times reporter a "son of a bitch" to an open mike, told Wall Street Journal reporter Al Hunt "fuck you" in front of his daughters and, in a meeting with members of Congress, called the Constitution "just a goddamned piece of paper."

    The U.S. president blames Syria and Iran for supporting Hezbollah guerrillas operating in southern Lebanon.

    Bush also seemed to complain about U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan wanting an immediate ceasefire to stop the violence between Israel and Hezbollah.

    Unbelievable.

    Ditto with this article -- The Continued Madness of King George:

    Yet Savage's story fell off the media landscape with a resounding thud as the rest of the mainstreamers, apparently kowtowed by Bush's threats to haul reporters and editors in front of grand juries if they dare write about his abuse of the Constitution and use of U.S. spy agencies to snoop on Americans, stuck with reporting on the President's latest road show to sell the failed Iraq war.

    The revised USA Patriot Act emerged from Congress with a number of oversight provisions requiring the President to report to the Hill on a strict timetable. One of those provisions said the White House had to tell Congress just how the FBI used the expanded wiretap and surveillance powers granted under the act.

    Some in Congress, like Senator Patrick Leahy, are pissed as hell at the President's claim that he is above the law.

    Yesterday's version is cached here.
    Yet Savage's story fell off the media landscape with a resounding thud as the rest of the mainstreamers, apparently kowtowed by Bush's threats to haul reporters and editors in front of grand juries if they dare write about his abuse of the Constitution and use of U.S. spy agencies to snoop on Americans, stuck with reporting on the President's latest road show to sell the failed Iraq war.

    "Frankly, I'm surprised," says political scientist George Harleigh, who worked in the Nixon and Reagan White Houses. "I thought the story would have legs and get much more attention. After all the debate in Congress over the need for the President to keep them in the loop he simply signs away one of the key provisions of the revised act."

    The revised USA Patriot Act emerged from Congress with a number of oversight provisions requiring the President to report to the Hill on a strict timetable. One of those provisions said the White House had to tell Congress just how the FBI used the expanded wiretap and surveillance powers granted under the act.

    "George Harleigh" is disappearing fast. I'm sure the rest of the Harleigh quotes are being systematically pulled, and I have to go out, so I will not be able to track down the caches of them all.

    No word from Doug Thompson.

    MORE (04:05 p.m.): George W. Bush: An American Dictator:

    ''He agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back those compromises -- and more often than not, without the Congress or the press or the public knowing what has happened," said Christopher Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who studies executive power.
    The rest -- four deleted paragraphs worth -- are all in the cache:
    ''He agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back those compromises -- and more often than not, without the Congress or the press or the public knowing what has happened," said Christopher Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who studies executive power.

    Political scientist George Harleigh, who served in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations where Presidential power became major issues, says Bush's actions place the country on a dangerous course.

    "Presidential authority, once assumed, is seldom relinquished. The Constitution prevailed when Richard Nixon ignored the laws that govern his actions," Harleigh says, "but this President neither obeys nor upholds his oath to support the Constitution. He sees the document as an obstacle to his power and has chosen to ignore it. If no one else is willing to uphold the Constitution then it becomes, as attorney general Alberto Gonzales has written, an 'outdated document' and places this Republic in grave peril."

    Harleigh believes this nation faces more than a battle for which political party controls the White House and/or Congress.

    "This is now a battle for the soul of America," he says. "The very future of this Republic may well rest on whether or not anyone can, or will, stop George W. Bush."

    AND MORE (04:07 p.m.): The "heady atmosphere of Congress" quote from 1999 I mentioned yesterday has been scrubbed:

    Does the heady atmosphere of Congress turn honest men and women into a criminal class? Or is elected office simply a magnet for those who lie, cheat and steal for a living?

    It could be a little bit of both, say political scientists and Constitutional scholars.

    Congress has always had its share of rogues and scoundrels:

    · Adam Clayton Powell, the fast-talking Harlem Congressman who was re-elected even after Congress expelled him in 1967. Powell had survived charges of income-tax evasion (with a hung jury) even before his first election to Congress.

    Once again, the Google version:
    Does the heady atmosphere of Congress turn honest men and women into a criminal class? Or is elected office simply a magnet for those who lie, cheat and steal for a living?

    It could be a little bit of both, say political scientists and Constitutional scholars.

    "There's no doubt that politics attracts the glib, the fast talker and the con artist," says retired Southern Illinois University political scientist George Harleigh. "It's a natural place for those who think fast on their feet."

    Congress has always had its share of rogues and scoundrels:

    · Adam Clayton Powell, the fast-talking Harlem Congressman who was re-elected even after Congress expelled him in 1967. Powell had survived charges of income-tax evasion (with a hung jury) even before his first election to Congress.

    Does this mean "George Harleigh" has now been declared an unperson going all the way back to 1999?

    But he was alive and quotable all these years?

    Any readers who can help, please let me know.

    I'm dumbfounded.

    AND MORE: Here's today's version of "The Decider in Chief":

    Decider-in-chief? A key statement to the arrogance that is George W. Bush.

    "I decide what is best," he says.

    For Bush the game has always been about power. Absolute power. Dictatorial power.

    This is the American President who said: "it would be much easier if this was a dictatorship, as long as I get to be the dictator."

    At the time some people thought he was joking. Those who know him knew he wasn't.

    In 1999, while completing a profile of Harris County, Texas, Judge Robert Eckels, I interviewed a number of Texas political observers. Republican and Democrat alike agreed that then Gov. George W. Bush was stubborn, arrogant and used to having his own way.

    And yesterday's (from the cache):

    Decider-in-chief? A key statement to the arrogance that is George W. Bush.

    "I decide what is best," he says.

    For Bush the game has always been about power. Absolute power. Dictatorial power.

    This is the American President who said: "it would be much easier if this was a dictatorship, as long as I get to be the dictator."

    At the time some people thought he was joking. Those who know him knew he wasn't.

    "Of all the Presidents I've served or observed, George W. Bush is the least receptive to the opinion of others," says political scientist George Harleigh, who served in both the Nixon and Reagan administration. "He has no interest in what others think and he doesn't listen to the advice of experts or professionals."

    In 1999, while completing a profile of Harris County, Texas, Judge Robert Eckels, I interviewed a number of Texas political observers. Republican and Democrat alike agreed that then Gov. George W. Bush was stubborn, arrogant and used to having his own way.

    Now you see it, now you don't.

    I'm starting to feel sorry for "George Harleigh" -- a cyber victim who has outlived his cyber usefulness.

    I have to go out, so I'll let Clayton Cramer speak for Mr. Harleigh:

    I'm sure that somewhere in a virtual reality hell, "George Harleigh" is disappearing, while screaming, "I'm melting, I'm melting!"
    George Harleigh, R.I.P.

    Victim of a cyber meltdown . . .

    UPDATE: Thank you, Glenn Reynolds, for linking this post, and calling attention to the plight of the disappeared!

    Welcome all; I appreciate the additional insights.

    UPDATE (07/21/06): My thanks to all the commenters for providing helpful information!

    While I still haven't received a reply to my email to Doug Thompson, I'm intrigued by Editor William D. McTavish's "report and apology to our readers" which has appeared at Capitol Hill Blue. It is dated July 17, 2006 at 11;05 a.m. and states:

    Three months ago, we asked a panel of fellow journalists to assist us in a review of of stories published on this web site over the past 12 years and asked them to assist us in determining any which they felt might be poorly sourced or based on questionable sources.
    Any idea what "panel of journalists" might mean in this context? Was this in house or external? Any confirmation about who they were?

    That review is complete and we are in the process of deleting or modifying some stories which our panel felt did not satisfy the criteria established for responsible journalism.
    What I find odd about the timing is that the story I saw and quoted on July 17 was still there in its entirety on July 19. Yesterday afternoon the "George Harleigh" references were gone, and this morning it contains the new language with the link to the apology dated "July 17." After a "three month review," why keep running these Harleigh stories, why run one right on the heels of the mass deletions, and why take days to explain?

    Is there any way to verify the July 17 date and time of the "apology"?

    While I haven't checked each story, I notice that in the case of "The decider-in-chief: A drunk with power", Harleigh is gone, but without the explanation.

    And the "goddamned piece of paper" story seems to have disappeared entirely. Why no explanation?

    In all, 329 stories were modified or removed from our databases of 25,000 plus articles because of problems encountered when we went back to check on sources or to verify the identity of those quoted. As editor, I was tasked by the publisher to apply new, higher standards for publication of material on this web site and to apply those same standards to stories published in the past.

    Most modifications were clarification of source material. Only 12 stories were removed from the archives. However, the modification of 83 stories involved a "named source" we have quoted a number of times and who claimed to be (1) a retired political science professor and (2) a former official in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations.

    Many of the quotes are the same quotes, repeated in new contexts.

    Then there are the "emails":

    In 1998, our former editor, Jack Sharp, began receiving a regular, almost daily, email "newsletter" from a "Professor George Harleigh" offering quotes, observations and commentary on current political events along with permission to use those comments as we saw fit. "Professor Harleigh" claimed to be a retired political science professor from Southern Illinois University and offered, as backup, links to a number of web sites and news publications that quoted him or used material furnished by him. We checked the web sites and other news publications and found him quoted often so we began using his material in selected stories. Since 1998, we have used quotes from "George Harleigh" in 83 stories on our web site.
    At this point, I'm wondering: how we even know there were emails? If the "web sites and other news publications" where they claim to have "found him quoted often" do not exist (no one has discovered any web sites linking any "George Harleigh references other than the CHB-related links, and a diligent search has failed to find him in any publications), are we supposed to take them at their word that the emails exist?

    Recently, we received an inquiry from Southern Illinois University saying they were trying to locate the "George Harleigh" who claimed to have taught at their institution but said they did not have any record of a "George Harleigh" or even a "Harleigh" ever teaching at the university's campuses in Carbondale or Edwardsville, Illinois. That inquiry led us to investigate further and we found that "Professor George Harleigh" may be a fictitous name.  We talked with other web sites that have used quotes from the same source and all, like us, received the quotes in an email newsletter format. The newsletter email currently traced back to a qmail account. We also posted inquiries on bulletin boards and other blogs. When we received today's newsletter we immediately mailed back and asked for additional information. We did not receive an answer and followup emails bounced back as undeliverable.
    "all, like us, received the quotes in an email newsletter format." If "Harleigh" has been emailing other web sites, why is it that they aren't quoting him directly? Instead, they link back to one or more of the CHB articles.

    Regarding the "inquiry from Southern Illinois University," why isn't the University official who contacted them named?

    This raised enough questions in our minds to remove any quotes by or references to Mr. Harleigh from the 83 stories, including one published today. None of the stories originated from information supplied by him and, in no case, were his comments the central focus of the story, so we did not feel the need to remove any stories or mofidy their original intent so they remain in our archives without the quotes from "Harleigh."

    All quotes attributed to Mr. Harleigh came from the daily newsletters he sent and were unsolicited. They were, however, timely and often fit into stories we were developing and we used them. That was our mistake. It was a foolish, lazy practice that should not have happened.

    Daily newsletters? Sent to other web sites as well? Surely there's some way of tracking down, and verifying just one.
    This is the second time in 12 years of publishing this web site that we have been burned by a source who turned out to be not who he claimed. We're human. We make mistakes. When we find out we were wrong we try to move quickly to correct those mistakes. We apologize to our readers for allowing this to happen and we will no longer use quotes from unsolicited sources and will take greater care to make sure the sources of quotes we do use are legitimate. We will be adding a link to this report to all stories modified but please bear with us while we complete that time-consuming task.
    Everyone is human, and everyone makes mistakes. If I were burned by a source I'd be outraged, and I'd want to find out what happened. I wouldn't delete anything, but I'd note what happened in an update, and I'd leave no stone unturned in an attempt to find out who or what organization had perpetrated a fraud on me and my readers. If there was a newsletter, I would, at minimum, investigate the email headers and attempt to determine its origin, and I would disclose whatever I found.

    I know I shouldn't judge others by my standards, but considering it's the second time, I don't think they're being very forthcoming.

    And quite frankly, I'm now wondering . . . Did anyone ever verify the explanation of the Terrance Wilkinson matter?

    MORE: This is getting so absurd that I'm now wondering how to find out more about the editorial background of William D. McTavish. Can't find much, except that he was called a Republican in UK's Telegraph. According to Capitol Hill Blue:

    Reporter and columnist Bill McTavish is a registered Republican and a veteran who served three deployments in Vietnam

    Back in 2004, when people cared about these things, The Annoyed Army was scouring to find him. He was called "elusive" One commenter said

    For an accomplished journalist he doesn't seem to have written anything that shows up on the Internet, except CHB.
    And another claims he seems to have "sprung from whole cloth":
    Chuck, you seem to enjoy posting stuff from William D. McTavish, but as I look through Google, he seems to have sprung from whole cloth in 2004, (as far as Google is concerned he only exists at CHB... and as a baby that lived to age 2 months back in 1910 :tinfoilhat: ) and APNews.com, returned no bylines by him... made me think, is this actually your pen name?
    Whose pen name? Did the "panel of fellow journalists" look into this too? I'm wondering, might he be this elusive cat photographer?

    MORE: This gets more and more bizarre. It turns out that "Bill McTavish" issued a similar apology and retraction in May:

    Please allow me to introduce myself to you, the readers of Capitol Hill Blue.

    I'm Bill McTavish, the new publisher of this web site, effective immediately. I'm the head of a new team that takes over Capitol Hill Blue and, we hope, takes the web site in new directions.

    When I was asked to take over as publisher of CHB, I insisted that I have the authority to review past articles published on this web site and remove any that I, and others, felt did not meet established standards of impartial journalism, were poorly-sourced or just plain speculation. I brought in journalists I respect and asked them to go through the archives and identify stories where they considered the sources questionable or the facts hazy. As a result of their review, we removed 217 articles from the database archives of more than 25,000 stories.

    Gone from the site, for example, are speculative articles on President Clinton's sex life, Mrs. Clinton's sexual preferences, President Bush calling the Constitution a "goddamned piece of paper" or various and sundry conspiracy theories.

    STOP right there. That is just wrong. The "goddamned piece of paper" quote was still there yesterday, and it still is.
    Gone too are articles where a recheck of sources did not, to my satisfaction, pass the smell test. Some of the articles removed included columns written by our founder and publisher. I'm not saying these stories were wrong, although I had doubts about some of them, but they were not sourced to my satisfaction and were never verified by additional sources or other publications. Even though they have not been proven wrong (or even denied by the subjects of the story) they did not, in my opinion, pass the standard for verification that now exists for this web site. I may have missed some but if and when someone brings such articles to my attention we will review them, apply the same standards to the others that were removed, and remove them if they fail to meet those standards.

    I have brought in a staff of veterans and young professionals to beef up our news coverage and provide a balanced product. Callie Houston now runs our blog, Fred Hylton oversees the editorial product and we have a staff of reporters, researchers and fact-checkers to review every story. We subscribe to Reuters, AP and Scripps-Howard news service to bolster our news coverage. Our popular discussion board, ReaderRant, continues as an independent web site run by a talented and dedicated group of administrators and moderators. They know how to do their jobs and will get no interference from me.

    I consider the past exactly that -- the past. This web site made some mistakes and decisions were made to run with stories that showed, in my opinion, poor judgment. We will remain non-partisan in our approach to news but our goal is news based on fact, not speculation, and truth, not wishful thinking. We will continue to ask questions that need to be asked and hold all elected officials to an equal, non-partisan standard. I don't expect you take my word that everything is hunky-dory but I do ask that if someone links to something from our site that it be considered for the content and not simply dismissed because someone may have considered the site questionable.

    To answer a question I am sure you have: Yes, Doug Thompson still owns Capitol Hill Blue but he has stepped away from any involvement in the editorial product and now invests his time and resources in a new project aimed at campaign reform. If, and when, he chooses to write columns or articles for this web site they will be subject to the same review, editing and fact checking as any other writer or source.

    Really? By Bill McTavish? Well, why hasn't that happened? Bill McTavish doesn't seem to be keeping up his side of the bargain, but then, their writing styles are so similar I'm wondering whether they get each other confused, especially late at night.
    He has tasked me with the goal of improving CHB and restoring its reputation. Some of the articles I removed from the archives were either written by him or approved by him and he did not object. Recently, he published a public apology to his readers and then asked me to fix the problems. My first step was to clean up the product. My second step is asking those of you who had questions in the past to take a fresh look at what we do and make up your own mind.

    If you have any questions, comments, gripes or vents, please feel free to contact me publisher@capitolhillblue.com.

    William D. McTavish
    Publisher
    Capitol Hill Blue

    Where is McTavish?

    AND MORE: I verified the existence of at least one real William McTavish.

    UPDATE: Clayton Cramer has more, and links to an important post at McKinley's America which makes what Cramer quite properly calls "a legitimate request":

    I suspect that no bulletin board or blog postings were made.

    CHB says they were receiving these newsletters frequently, including yesterday. They should provide a copy of as many of these newsletters as they have available, including the full mail headers (which can be used to determine the actual originating IP address and could lead to the revelation of the fraudster-- if he wasn't made up in full cloth).

    This seems like a legitimate request. It would certainly establish that CHB was the victim of a fraud, and not the orginator of it.

    MORE: Under the circumstances, it seemed relevant to me to ask who is Doug Thompson. New post here. (I'm still not sure I know. Although I'm sure I know even less about Mr. McTavish.)

    AND MORE: The plot thickens into a veritable hall of mirrors. Here's a wild tidbit. Apparently CHB has an "ombudsman" named Sandra Riley, who promised to crackdown on the elusive McTavish (and another reporter, one "Teresa Hampton"):

    September 8, 2004
    Teresa Hampton and William McTavish fired
    by ombudsman Sandra Riley
    on Capital Hill Blue

    A problem with unnamed sources brings Hampton’s July 28 story, Bush Taking Anti-Depressants into question. While she quotes Dr. Justin Frank on his analysis of the President’s behavior, she does not offer any corroboration to the conclusion that White House Physician Col. Richard J. Tubb actually prescribed any anti-depressant medication to Bush. For that reason, the story was pulled.

    I also killed a July 29 story, Sullen, Depressed President Retreats into a Private, Paranoid World, by Hampton and former CHB reporter William D. McTavish. Again, the only quoted source was Dr. Frank and the quotes were repeats of those from earlier story. His quotes did not back up the claims by unnamed sources.

    This makes two stories removed from the CHB archives. A common thread in all three is that they were authored in part or in whole by Hampton, who was recently relieved of her duties as editor because of a lapse in judgment over publication of a column that reflected a personal agenda by the writer (McTavish, who was also fired).

    Because of this, our publisher has asked me to go back over all articles written by both Hampton and McTavish. I am doing so and will report to our readers when the review is complete.

    McTavish fired? Stories pulled?

    Has a familiar ring, no?

    Note: the quoted CHB text in the the link the blogger no longer appears in the link.

    MORE: Yet another old CHB link confirming that "McTavish" was "fired."

    Is this a game of cyber musical chairs?

    AND EVEN MORE: "Editor" Teresa Hampton, btw, is interesting in her own right. According to her former biography, she not only co-authored the "award-winning All the President's Women series" (sorry, can't find the series or the award) but graduated from "Southern Illinois University."

    I just have to ask: was "George Harleigh" one of her "professors"?

    MORE: In Februrary, John Hawkins wondered whether the CHB site might not be sock puppetry:

    I wonder if Thompson actually makes up like names for these fake sources? Like ya know, Mr. I. Friend the Secret Service Agent or White House Aide Puff'N'Stuff? Better yet, maybe he makes little puppets out of socks, puts them on his hands, and asks them questions. "Mr. Socko, you saw Cheney drunk, didn't you? Of course you did! That's a good Mr. Socko!"

    The fact that there are actually bloggers out there linking to this moronic fraud for reasons other than to laugh at him, even if they are on the left, is a stain on the entire blogosphere. Even liberals should know better than to buy into this sort of garbage...

    As I said, I only got into this because I wanted to know who "George Harleigh" was. As one thing led to another, it just got worse and worse.

    I don't think there's any way to know who anyone connected with CHB is. (Including Doug Thompson.)

    MORE: In March, Doug Thompson not only called Glenn Greenwald a "prominent New York litigator," but he recounted his personal tale of oppression at the hands of Alberto Gonzales:

    "The significance of this cannot be overstated," says prominent New York litigator Glenn Greenwald. "In essence, while the President sits in the White House undisturbed after proudly announcing that he has been breaking the law and will continue to do so, his slavish political appointees at the Justice Department are using the mammoth law enforcement powers of the federal government to find and criminally prosecute those who brought this illegal conduct to light.

    "This flamboyant use of the forces of criminal prosecution to threaten whistle-blowers and intimidate journalists are nothing more than the naked tactics of street thugs and authoritarian juntas."

    Just how widespread, and uncontrolled, this latest government assault has become hit close to home last week when one of the FBI's National Security Letters arrived at the company that hosts the servers for this web site, Capitol Hill Blue.

    The letter demanded traffic data, payment records and other information about the web site along with information on me, the publisher.

    Now that's a problem. I own the company that hosts Capitol Hill Blue. So, in effect, the feds want me to turn over information on myself and not tell myself that I'm doing it. You'd think they'd know better.

    I turned the letter over to my lawyer and told him to send the following message to the feds:

    F*ck you. Strong letter to follow.

    That upset a lot of people, and Michael Silence of Knox News linked to it. However, if you follow the links, the post appears to be empty.

    I looked around, and found the new expurgated version of the story -- the same article (titled "Bush declares war on freedom of the press") but minus the personal tale of oppression. (Better peek fast, as it too, will probably disappear.)

    What happened to the security letter which got him all the attention?

    Does that mean Doug Thompson found out that he -- Doug Thompson -- was unreliable in his own account?

    CAN THIS GO ON FOREVER?

    (Just thought I'd ask; maybe it will.)

    UPDATE: Capitol Hill Blue made easy -- with a convenient flow chart!

    UPDATE (07/24/06): The search for missing persons continues!

    Text of original CHB apology from cache of dysfunctional Truthout.org link.

    Editor's Note | Yesterday, truthout's lead story carried an article by Capitol Hill Blue that quoted a 'CIA insider.' This insider, a Terrance J. Wilkinson, was reportedly present at two briefings when Bush was informed of, and then dismissed, evidence that his Iraq WMD claims were false. Capitol Hill Blue has run a retraction of that story, which we have printed below. According to Doug Thompson, author of the original story, Terrance J. Wilkinson does not exist, and Thompson has been getting scammed for over 20 years. Something about this story is decidedly strange, but in light of Thompson's retraction, we would be remiss not to run it. I am running down my contacts at CIA and Capitol Hill Blue to find out how all of this took place. We will let you know when we know. - wrp

    Go to Original

    Conned Big Time
    By Doug Thompson
    Capitol Hill Blue

    Wednesday 09 July 2003

    Damn, I hate it when I've been had and I've been had big time.

    In 1982, while I was working for Congressman Manuel Lujan of New Mexico, a man came up to a me during a gathering in Albuquerque and introduced himself as Terrance J. Wilkinson. He said he was a security consultant and gave me a business card with his name and just a Los Angeles phone number.

    A few weeks later, he called my Washington office and asked to meet for lunch. He seemed to know a lot about the nuclear labs in New Mexico and said he had conducted "security profiles" for both Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs. Lujan served on the committee with oversight on both labs and he offered his services if we ever needed briefings.

    We already had nuclear experts on the committee, on loan from the Department of Energy, and we never used Wilkinson for briefings but we kept in touch over the years. He said he had served in Vietnam with Army Special Force, worked for Air America, later for the FBI and as a consultant for the CIA. He said he had helped other Republican members of Congress I called some friends in other GOP offices and they said yes, they knew Terry Wilkinson.

    "You can trust him, he's one of the good guys," one chief of staff told me. When I left politics and returned to journalism, Wilkinson became a willing, but always unnamed, source.

    Over the last couple of years, Wilkinson served as either a primary or secondary source on a number of stories that have appeared in Capitol Hill Blue regarding intelligence activities. In early stories, I checked his information with at least one more source. His information usually proved accurate and, over time, I came to depend on him as a source without additional backup.

    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.

    Then a friend from the Hill called.

    "You've been had," she said. "I know about this guy. He's been around for years, claiming to have been in Special Forces, with the CIA, with NSA. He hasn't worked for any of them and his name is not Terrance Wilkinson."

    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.

    Erasing the stories doesn't erase the fact that we ran articles containing information that, given the source, was probably inaccurate. And it doesn't erase the sad fact that my own arrogance allowed me to be conned.

    It will be a long time (and perhaps never) before I trust someone else who comes forward and offers inside information. The next one who does had better be prepared to produce a birth certificate, a driver's license and his grandmother's maiden name.

    Any news publication exists on the trust of its readers. Because I depended on a source that was not credible, I violated the trust that the readers of Capitol Hill Blue placed in me.

    I was wrong. I'm sorry.

    posted by Eric on 07.20.06 at 10:57 AM










    Comments

    Oh My God. I'm Stalin. I've made someone disappear.

    Scott   ·  July 20, 2006 4:34 PM

    George Harleigh = Glenn Greenwald.

    McKreck   ·  July 20, 2006 5:09 PM

    This does not surprise me in the least. The MSM has been ignoring outrageous claims from CHB for a while now (iirc, the last one was a widely-cited-on-the-left claim Bush said the Constitution was "just a piece of paper" that should be ignored).

    I would bet doubloons to doughnuts all the sourcing was fabricated. Erasing the references to Harleigh speaks volumes.

    Jason Leopold has a new friend on the Island of Discredited Lefty Journalists Who Were Caught Making Up Sources.

    TallDave   ·  July 20, 2006 6:49 PM

    Oh, and I should add, this was very good work on your part, Eric. Thanks for sharing.

    TallDave   ·  July 20, 2006 6:52 PM

    I wonder how many other "people" Thompson "quotes" are made up.

    Bill H   ·  July 20, 2006 7:51 PM

    Makes automatically doubting the validity of posts by those of us who choose to blog nicknonymously look kind of silly, doesn't it...

    triticale   ·  July 20, 2006 8:09 PM

    Odd; he's being planted around at various usual suspects.

    Slartibartfast   ·  July 20, 2006 8:11 PM

    To make matters even worse IMHO, he quotes as an "authority" a political scientist, Christopher Kelley, who isn't even in a tenure-track position and is relegated to teaching as a Visiting Asst Prof in the same department that granted him his PhD. That is pretty lame. Reading Kelley's vita (http://www.users.muohio.edu/kelleycs/CV1.pdf), I see he has all of one published article in a referreed journal and a third or fourth string journal at that. Books, chapters in books, book reviews, and non-referreed journal articles just don't cut it.

    John Richardson   ·  July 20, 2006 8:13 PM

    • Lucy Rameriz - Tang Memos, vanished no trace
    • Terrance J. Wilkinson - Niger Uranium bogus claim (interestingly this story contained forgeries too), vanished no trace
    • George Harleigh - GOPer John Dean type - no trace
    hmmm...am I missing any?

    topsecretk9   ·  July 20, 2006 8:30 PM

    fwiw, Google Groups has Harleigh/Capitol Hill going back to 1999.

    Google Groups search

    .

    BumperStickerist   ·  July 20, 2006 8:33 PM

    Here's the proper Google search for someone who wants to save all the scrubbing going on.

    Google seach of CHB for "Harleigh"

    George Non-Harleigh   ·  July 20, 2006 8:41 PM

    I know this is probably a stupid observation but when I was reading "Terrance J. Wilkinson" , I just kept seeing "Lawrence B. Wilkerson"

    topsecretk9   ·  July 20, 2006 8:42 PM

    CHB has now published an apology, again claiming they were conned.

    "NOTE TO OUR READERS: This story has been edited since its original publication to remove a quote from a source that we have since learned was not who he claimed to be..."

    now appears where the Harleigh quote was, with a link to the apology page. The question is whether he was really conned or is just covering his ass, now that Harleigh has been exploded.

    Rich Rostrom   ·  July 20, 2006 8:57 PM

    From deep within The Maceyugoserbulgarigreekadonian Compound I wish to say Eric, that you, and the others involved, are doing a stupendous job in the ongoing battle to expose the minions of the World Allied Conspiratorial Kongress of Idiotarians Everywhere ( Better known as W.A.C.K.I.E. ).

    I do wish to make a search term suggestion;

    Maybe "George Harleigh" is an anagram?

    Or maybe you should do a search spelling his name backwards.

    What I turned up doing a Google Search for Lirik ffeizarudnuk, for instance sure suprised me.

    I had no idea Google could do what it did, and am STILL laughing. ;-D

    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 20, 2006 9:27 PM

    Best anagram for "George Harleigh" I came up with was "Helga Gehrig Roe," which draws a blank on Google.

    CGHill   ·  July 20, 2006 9:51 PM

    Here's the gist of the original FR story, where Doug Thompson was first questioned. FReeps had been on to him for a while, already-that's why they were poking around.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/942488/posts

    Start at #65, then look at #80 where Doug shows up to explain.

    The guy's been at it for years, and why *anyone* would take his word for anything is a mystery. It goes to show you how willing MSM and many, are to accept facts without bothering to verify.

    Guesst   ·  July 20, 2006 11:05 PM

    @CGHill: Maybe you have to transpose the letters first...

    clayzy   ·  July 20, 2006 11:13 PM

    Here's one more that lays it all out from 2003 (a lot of research went into this and it's very well written and presented):

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/945007/posts

    Guesst   ·  July 20, 2006 11:16 PM

    Sherman, check the wayback machine !

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.capitolhillblue.com

    Mr. Peabody

    Fred   ·  July 20, 2006 11:37 PM

    RE: CG Hill & Clayzy.

    Oh well, 'twas worth a shot. ;-D

    Hee, hee. ;-D

    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 20, 2006 11:37 PM

    My God: a disinformation campaign so complete, at such a level of commitment, it makes one think of a KGB op does it not? Someone has gone to a hell of a lot of trouble, for a long time, to do this.

    Whoever did this is either so frighteningly obsessed and committed (heh) as to, well, need to be committed. He or she is a clear danger to anyone who might happen to express feelings of insufficient hatred of George Bush in the presence of this psychotic, and thereby place him- or herself in mortal danger.

    Or "George Harleigh" is not a single psycho, but a cadre of steel-willed ideologues, paid or not, who play by such rules as the KGB did for generations. Who could, who would do such a dastardly and cynical thing? Think George Soros, MoveOn, CounterPoint and others of that ilk.

    I tend to go with the cadre possibility, and the likelihood that George Soros is the witting paymaster of such an operation. Thuggish and frigghtening. These people ARE the new KGB, who feel they are in a war of conquest in which anything goes if it helps them bring about a collapse of the American system. I'm not kidding.

    jum1801   ·  July 20, 2006 11:53 PM

    Speculation w/o proof is Illogical, Captain.

    Ooops, sorry, its my addiction to Star Trek. ;-D

    Whoever is behind this, and why, seems to be unknown except for this Thompson guy, so until more concrete info is dug up it would not do for the Good Guys to start acting all squirrelly.

    Leave that to The Minions of W.A.C.K.I.E., okay, boys and girls. ;-D

    Kiril, The Macedonian   ·  July 21, 2006 12:54 AM

    Harleigh, Wilkinson, Ramirez, and Greenwald's boyfriend's online personae are all Rovian plants designed to feed the sinistrosphere's appetite for Dirt On Rethuglikkkans. Yeah, that Rove is a crafty SOB. He had an operative play Thompson for two decades to gain sufficient trust that he'd run with an uncorroborated story.

    This can be done over and over, because they are predisposed to believe any story that puts Chimpy McBushitlerburton in a bad light, that their BS detectors go offline. If they had any intellectual honesty, they'd ask themselves if they'd believe the same allegations if aimed at one of their own.

    The end result of all of this is the disconnect between the netroots and what the average voter will see even from the left-leaning MSM. They will gladly purge Joe Lieberman for not being pure enough, leaving it up to the non-partisan CT voters to elect him as an independent. The Coronation of Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, which seemed a foregone conclusion mere months ago, now stands a serious chance of being derailed as well, unless she's going to go third party herself.

    For an übergenius like Karl Rove, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Yeah, he's such an Evilll Mastermind that no mere mortals can contend with him. Might as well give up.

    The Monster   ·  July 21, 2006 12:58 AM

    Just checked with the Library of Congress. There is a Harle, Peter George. However, Mr. Harle has written books on accounting. Here's what listed by Harle:

    George) Advanced accounting. 1956
    ACCESS:
    Jefferson or Adams Bldg General or Area Studies Reading Rms CALL NUMBER:
    HF5635 .H26 1956

    [ 2 ] Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Harle and Rose's secretarial law and practice in New Zealand / by P.G. Harle. 1958
    ACCESS:
    Law Library Reading Room (Madison, LM201) CALL NUMBER:
    LAW Great Britain New Zealand 7 Harl

    [ 3 ] Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Industrial costing. 1946
    ACCESS:
    Jefferson or Adams Bldg General or Area Studies Reading Rms CALL NUMBER:
    HF5686.C8 H25 1946

    [ 4 ] Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Secretarial law and practice. 1948
    ACCESS:
    Law Library Reading Room (Madison, LM201) CALL NUMBER:
    LAW Great Britain New Zealand 7 "Harle"

    [ 5 ] Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Paul, Thomas Francis. Harle and Paul's secretarial law and practice, by P. G. Harle. 1969
    ACCESS:
    Law Library Reading Room (Madison, LM201) CALL NUMBER:
    LAW

    [ 6 ] Harle, P. G. (Peter George) Paul, Thomas Francis. Paul's Secretarial and administrative practice / by T. F. Paul.

    mj   ·  July 21, 2006 1:06 AM

    Rethuglikkkans???

    Ok, Where's Dr.McCoy, & his blasted Hypospray, when ya need him?

    Man, it's way past my bed time!

    To all the SERIOUS types looking into this, I wish ya'll the best. ;-D

    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 21, 2006 1:59 AM

    I have a theory that Doug Thompson is actually Stephen Glass. I posted the question on classicalvalues, but I doubt it will be answered :)

    Kevin   ·  July 21, 2006 2:32 AM

    The best anagram I can find is "Giggle, Oh Hearer".

    sammler   ·  July 21, 2006 3:45 AM

    Oops! I meant 'capitolhillblue', not 'classicalvalues' in my previous post.

    Kevin   ·  July 21, 2006 4:40 AM

    Heh! Another fine example of this:

    Charlatans and subversives, meet informational computing.

    S Silverstein   ·  July 21, 2006 5:29 AM

    FYI-

    looks like damage control is in effect at CHB-
    1) Search CHB with their google link for Harleigh
    2) Pull up article
    3)Read article- no mention of Harleigh-
    4) read note to reader at bottom of article-
    5)Click on link in note to reader
    6)Read (back dated?) letter on George Harleigh- coincidebntally dated July 17 (your 1st post)-following a "3 month review"- PATHETIC!!!

    Anonymous   ·  July 21, 2006 5:41 AM

    Clap! Clap! Clap!

    Flea   ·  July 21, 2006 6:42 AM

    Sounds a little like "Art Vandeleigh"

    JPitter   ·  July 21, 2006 7:25 AM

    My god! Someone is actually taking a Capitol Hill Blue article as fact?!

    It's nothing but conspiracy theories and rants. No one connected with that site has any connections to current politics. I'd believe the Weekly World News or Pravda before CHB.

    bianchiboy   ·  July 21, 2006 7:50 AM

    10 quotes from the amazing Mr. Harleigh, some covered, from an online quote aggregator.

    Apparently, he's quite busy spouting off against the current administration. Must be bored in his retirement from SIU.

    Mister Tan   ·  July 21, 2006 7:58 AM

    Well, George Harleigh must be alive, because he's not listed in the Social Security Death Index. No one named "George Harleigh" has ever had a U.S. social security number and died.

    In fact, there is no one with the surname "Harleigh" in the entire Social Security Death Index. 77 million dead Americans are listed, but no one surnamed "Harleigh" is among them.

    Finally, the surname "Harleigh" apparently does not exist in the 1990 U.S. Census. Searching on it generates an error: "HARLEIGH not found".

    So...he's not dead in 2006, not alive in 1990, no apparent relatives or ancestors. Yeah, this one is hard to call.

    Sterling   ·  July 21, 2006 8:24 AM

    A very long time ago (like in the 70's) I read a book where the protagonist made up quotes and attributed them to various historical figures. He never got called on it.

    But that was before the internet.

    Eric Blair   ·  July 21, 2006 8:30 AM

    George Harleigh = Elvis. Can't you see? You'll find George whereever Blue Suede Shoes are still cool. The Daily Kos?

    Stickit   ·  July 21, 2006 8:31 AM

    You guys aren't paying attention to the script, Orwell's 1984. This is just another case of Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford conveniently disappearing down the memory hole when it suits the whim of Big Brother for them to do so. But with one big difference...A,R and J really did exist at one time - Winston saw them in the flesh, which apparently can't be said for the CHB sources. Remember who you're dealing with here: since, in the mind of leftists, truth and even reality itself is not absolute but is simply a matter of personal preference, then it's no big deal to make up sources to support pet delusions, then lie about disposing of those sources when the the inevitable inconsistencies show up. These are children we're talking about here, and not very bright ones.

    El Dee   ·  July 21, 2006 8:53 AM

    Too bad my grandfather isn't still alive. If he were, he'd be able to tell you if this guy exists or not as he was very closely tied to the Nixon and Reagan admins.

    nick   ·  July 21, 2006 9:17 AM

    topsecretk9 above asks if he's missed any other fakers -- I would add Jesse Macbeth and Pepperspray Productions of Seattle, who did the fake war crime claim. Macbeth is real but his claim was fake.

    sissoed   ·  July 21, 2006 9:20 AM

    Very nicely done.

    Thompson has been trafficking conspiracy crack to gullible kooks for at least 10 years. It used to be Vince Foster / Mena kidnapping tales for addled Freepers. Apparently there's greener pastures in the Bush Derangement - based community.

    Simply googling "George Harleigh" is highly instructive; it returns a veritable rainbow of nuttery, Left to Right, from Cutting Edge Ministries to DailyKos, Montana survivalists and San Francisco peace creeps, in one big hallucinatory HTML group hug.

    iowahawk   ·  July 21, 2006 9:31 AM

    CHB = CIA
    H is one letter before I
    B is one letter after A

    CHB is simply a propaganda outlet for CIA disinformation aimed at enemies foreign and domestic. Incredibly sloppy, spooks. Incredibly sloppy. This is 2006. Adapt, will ya?

    Cover blown, but at least you won't have to relocate any agents except Doug Thompson. No one else really exists.

    w3   ·  July 21, 2006 10:25 AM

    Seriously, though...

    Compare this article on the subject of partisanship and news sourcing with its original from the Google cache. You get double the irony bang for your buck when you consider: 1) knowing what we know now, that Thompson used Harleigh as an example of named (supposedly non-partisan) sources in defense of attacks against CHB; 2) that Harleigh has now been scrubbed.

    Original in Google cache versus the new, highly ironic, scrubbed story:

    w3   ·  July 21, 2006 10:45 AM

    OK. I recieved a reply from Bill McTavish, and he has apologized for taking so much time, and posted a link to the apology.

    His apology says there's a newsletter they sourced Mr. Harleigh from. Wonder what that newsletter is, or how you get it.

    Scott   ·  July 21, 2006 10:47 AM

    There is no "George Harleigh" in America.

    That's according to Intelius.com, USSearch.com., and Ancestry.com's public records database.

    Matt   ·  July 21, 2006 10:56 AM

    Scott, You've received an email from someone claiming to be Bill McTavish, but how do you know that isn't someone at CHB pretending to be McTavish? At this point I'm not even sure I exist.

    Interestingly, Thompson spent some time working as a reporter in Alton, Illinois. Is it just coincidence that his favorite go-to guy is either 15 minutes or 2 hours away, depending on which campus the Sociology Department seated. Then again, SIU has a Dental School in Alton, which may explain how Thompson got the idea to invent a mouthpiece (if he did, in fact invent George).

    w3   ·  July 21, 2006 11:08 AM

    Eric, you asked:

    Is there any way to verify the July 17 date and time of the "apology"?

    I looked at the HTML source and it does have a time stamp that says July 17. Now that doesn't mean it couldn't be altered, but I doubt you'll find any way to verify that it was posted later than claimed by CHB's dateline. The Wayback Machine might have archived it on the date it was originally published but if your theory is that the article was actually published in response to your inquiries on a date sometime after July 17, 2006, you may have to wait until archival data on the post comes up in Google or Wayback Machine to find out if your theory holds water.

    I'm not sure what else can be done to verify the date on that report is a reflection of the truth.

    Anyone else have ideas?

    w3   ·  July 21, 2006 11:17 AM

    Oh, man! Its like the Twilight Zone. I'm gradually disappearing, disolving into the ether!

    George Harleigh   ·  July 21, 2006 11:19 AM

    Pardon me. Where there is a will, there is a way:

    Notice that the July 19 google cache of FUBARs posts at CHB has no link to the July 17 post of an apology.

    Wayback has no archive of fubar's content page.

    Eric, I do believe you're on to something.

    w3   ·  July 21, 2006 11:25 AM

    Eric, regarding your wish to confirm when the "July 17 apology" appeared, I ran the page address through a nifty little utility called "Sam Spade", which reveals page attributes. Here's the results:

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Content-Length: 21470
    Content-Type: text/html
    Last-Modified: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 14:59:42 GMT
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    ETag: "1db1c54bd6acc61:2ce"
    Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
    X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
    Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 15:12:09 GMT
    Connection: close

    Note the "last modified" date and time. While this doesn't necessarily show when it originally appeared, it does show that it has been recently modified in some way. It could be the original publication time (I don't know when you first saw it), or he's altering it as we speak. I did check, and the changing ads on the page do not alter that time. He has to be altering the actual structure/content for that date to change. Hope this helps in some way!

    RationalLady   ·  July 21, 2006 11:26 AM

    Thompson has a major problem, he has not one but possibly two false sources he has been using for years.

    Given his savage political accusations agains the adminstration, accusing Bush of being on drunken benders etc., everything the guy has written in the last eight years can be called into question.

    He knew or had ot know Harleigh was a fraud, he knew or should have known and he had a duty to check Wilkinson's bon fides and accuracy. Now he races to erase his lies.

    He gave himself "money" quotes to support his positions and then presented them as real.

    Shameful, hardly shocking.

    Ayatollah Ghilmeini   ·  July 21, 2006 11:27 AM

    I see someone beat me to Ancestry/Rootsweb! ;-D

    MY search, there, turned up an obituary where the person who died had a 1st name GEORGE, AND listed was the town name of, yup, you guessed it, HARLEIGH. ;-D

    BABON, George A; 79; Harleigh PA>Hamilton NJ; Hazleton S-S (PA); 2003-3-29; tlc

    There is no Message Board for the Surname Harleigh, only 2 for Harley.

    There is a Harleigh Cemetary in Camden NJ.

    Lots of poor guys, and a few gals, stuck with Harleigh with a 1st name, as well, are being looked for, though. ;-D


    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 21, 2006 11:34 AM

    Someone with the energy and/or time to do it should look at the 'etag' format for CHB and see if contains a pattern. Is it serial? Is it subject related? What data are they sticking in that field and how is it generated?

    w3   ·  July 21, 2006 11:46 AM

    There is no Rootsweb Surname E-Mail Mailing List for HARLEIGH, but 1 for Harley.

    A search of Surnameguide.com for HARLEIGH turned up no results.

    This sites purpose: Surname Search Guide provides a single source for finding your family tree and researching your family names, meaning of surnames origin and family descent.

    A search of the world reknown LDS FamilySearch.org site turned up no-one named GEORGE HARLEIGH, worldwide, for the past 125 years.

    Lots of George HARLEY'S though. ;-D

    Searching just the last name HARLEIGH turned the name up in BRITAIN, for a woman, and 3 men whose last name might also have been spelled HARLEY!

    All lived in the 1300's, and appear to be a Father, his daughter, and 2 sons. ;-D

    But, again, no George.

    So it is at least theoretically possibble that since the last name exists in History that there is, or was, a George Harleigh loitering about somewhere. ;-D

    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 21, 2006 12:00 PM

    A thought has just occured to me.

    Boy, are we having way too much fun debunking yet another Lefty website, or what?

    Hee, hee!

    I am just amazed at the various ways you folks more techno savvy than myself are digging into this.

    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 21, 2006 12:06 PM

    The Anagram Server suggests this for "George Harleigh"

    Regale High Gore

    Seems accurate enough.

    (I posted this in the earlier thread, before I knew all the action had moved over here.)

    The Comedian   ·  July 21, 2006 12:07 PM

    I posted this on the new Doug Thompson post, but will do so here as I think I may not be the only one confused:

    Finally wandered around his website this morning, and um, is it me, or does this site that claims to be a "non-partisan experiment in on-line journalism published as an information resource for our readers", and doesn't "play favorites" or "shill for any political party, philosophical group or ideological point-of-view" have a serious problem of indulging in "flights of fancy"?

    I'm thus confused.

    Is this guy supposed to be a Conservative, or a Liberal.

    Either way he needs serious help, in my estimation.

    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 21, 2006 12:56 PM

    Capitol Hill Blue is a kook website.

    From Feb 23, 2006
    http://www.rightwingnews.com/archives/week_2006_02_19.PHP#005261

    "One of the things that perpetually amazes me is that anyone pays the slightest bit of attention to Capitol Hill Blue, which is in my opinion, a lefty scam blog that continually claims to have these big scoops about what's going on in the White House. Their standard modus operandi is, again in my opinion, to make up highly charged stories from whole cloth, Jayson Blair style, and then claim that the information they received was given to them by highly placed anonymous sources."

    More here
    http://www.rightwingnews.com/archives/week_2005_11_06.PHP#004728

    John Hawkins   ·  July 21, 2006 1:13 PM

    There is a plitical science instructor at SDSU who worked for both Nixon and Reagan. He is anything but anti-Bush. I had him por pol s 101 and 102. Ask him if the name sounds familiar. www.docstoddard.com

    Bryan   ·  July 21, 2006 1:35 PM

    So let me get this straight, the "god damned piece of paper" quote was made up? Color me surprised...

    Seixon   ·  July 21, 2006 1:41 PM

    Dear John:

    Thanks!

    I get it now!

    Doug, & his site, is just an equal opportunity Minion of W.A.C.K.I.E. ( World Allied Conspiratorial Kongress of Idiotarians Everywhere )

    Kiril, The Mad Macedonian   ·  July 21, 2006 1:49 PM

    Just for the record, all...

    I looked at Cutting Edge Ministries and I didn't happen to see that they were left-wing.

    They are opposed to Bush's NAFTA-type plans, and anything that savors of the Antichrist of Revelation...

    But you don't have to be left-wing to oppose global/regional governance, do you? Or are you making the logical error of assuming that our current president embodies all that is right-wing?

    If you've the opportunity to do so, could someone please point out to me where Cutting Edge is left-wing OTHER than opposing North-American-Union plans?

    FearlessMinky   ·  July 21, 2006 3:01 PM

    The Wayback Machine shows "Doug's" old 1997 e-mail address as: dthompson@tridentgroup.com

    Others with this same domain are listed in the "Customer Support" section of a gambling site (my attempt to post the web address here was denied for "questionable content").

    May not mean anything, but I thought I'd toss it into the mix.

    Regret   ·  July 21, 2006 3:45 PM

    Hmm, it looks like the story that Mr. McTavish was fired has been scrubbed, too. I can't seem to find it by following the links provided.

    mcg   ·  July 21, 2006 5:55 PM

    Great job debunking this moron. This is the left at it's finest.

    Mark   ·  July 21, 2006 6:01 PM

    What does it matter? You've got the word of Al Franken, Michael Moore, George Soros, Barbra Streisand, and a host of other luminaries for the same thing.

    The real quote of interest should be "The very future of the Democratic Party may well rest on whether or not anyone can, or will, restore it from its mad obsession with George W. Bush." You can quote me. The people who have seized control of the party seem to be the same ones who nearly destroyed the party in 1968 and 1972. Their efforts to defeat Senator Lieberman illustrate their lack of understanding of politics, democracy, and common sense.

    This great party which led this nation through World War II, has made war a stumbling block and a cause for paranoia and delusion to its current members. If not delivered from this insanity, the stable political system of this country will be threatened, and contention, bitterness and hatred will increase and linger long after George W. Bush is no longer in office.

    AST   ·  July 21, 2006 11:16 PM

    I love how people are supposed to believe his first source started conning him back in the 1980's, apparently so he could feed him bogus info 20 years later.

    Also, has anyone checked with the NM congressman he named in his first "apology" who he supposedly worked with back in the 80's? Probably has passed on if this guy has half a brain.

    twalsh   ·  July 22, 2006 12:30 AM

    FearlessMinky,

    Try reading iowahawk's comment again (emphasis mine):

    "...a veritable rainbow of nuttery, Left to Right, from Cutting Edge Ministries to DailyKos, Montana survivalists and San Francisco peace creeps..."

    Brian   ·  July 22, 2006 2:18 AM

    I think that CHB guy is a sociopath.

    bird dog   ·  July 22, 2006 8:46 AM

    the person responsible for the lies has cut and run - but not acknowledging any of the specific lies - just some that did not live up to real journalistic integrty. Thats rich. Especially how he titled his post - Good Night and Good Luck -

    May I say good bye and good riddance?

    http://www.capitolhillblue.com/content/2006/07/good_night_and_good_luck.html

    David   ·  July 22, 2006 10:19 AM

    Am I missing something? Has mystery man George made a dissapearance from the GOOGLE CACHE?

    If that has happened (maybe I'm blind!)
    isn't that even MORE interesting????

    This is G o o g l e's cache of http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_8366.shtml as retrieved on Jul 21, 2006 00:50:19 GMT.
    G o o g l e's cache is the snapshot that we took of the page as we crawled the web.
    The page may have changed since that time. Click here for the current page without highlighting.
    This cached page may reference images which are no longer available. Click here for the cached text only.
    To link to or bookmark this page, use the following url: http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:8DwL69J5sMoJ:www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_8366.shtml+%22George+Harleigh%22+%22piece+of+paper%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2


    Google is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its content.
    These search terms have been highlighted: piece of paper
    These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: george harleigh

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    The continued madness of King George
    By DOUG THOMPSON
    Mar 28, 2006, 07:40
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    With all the public furor over his use of the National Security Agency to spy on Americans, and the near-mutiny in the Republican party over his high-handed approach to the Presidency, you'd think George W. Bush might have learned a thing or two about the dangers of arrogance.
    Nah, not our despot-in-chief, King Dubya. When he signed the extension of the USA Patriot act into law, he added his own "addendum" to the law that says he doesn't have to tell Congress a damn thing about what he and his storm troopers are up to when it comes to abusing the expanded police powers included in the bill.

    After the public ceremony, Bush issued a "signing statement" that reiterated, in effect, Bush's belief that the Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper" and he does not feel constrained by law or obligated by provisions of the act that require he inform Congress in a timely manner on just what the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other parts of his American Gestapo are up to when it comes to snooping into the private lives of Americans.

    ''The executive branch shall construe the provisions that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information (from Congress and, of course, the public)," Bush said.

    Bush says he will withhold information if he, and only he, decides disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

    The President's latest display of "I am above the law" arrogance might have gone unnoticed because most of the media concentrated on the public pomp and circumstance and ignored the real story. Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe, was one of the few who reported on the signing statement.

    Yet Savage's story fell off the media landscape with a resounding thud as the rest of the mainstreamers, apparently kowtowed by Bush's threats to haul reporters and editors in front of grand juries if they dare write about his abuse of the Constitution and use of U.S. spy agencies to snoop on Americans, stuck with reporting on the President's latest road show to sell the failed Iraq war.

    The revised USA Patriot Act emerged from Congress with a number of oversight provisions requiring the President to report to the Hill on a strict timetable. One of those provisions said the White House had to tell Congress just how the FBI used the expanded wiretap and surveillance powers granted under the act.

    Some in Congress, like Senator Patrick Leahy, are pissed as hell at the President's claim that he is above the law.

    ''The president's signing statements are not the law, and Congress should not allow them to be the last word," Leahy says in a statement issued by his office. ''The president's constitutional duty is to faithfully execute the laws as written by the Congress, not cherry-pick the laws he decides he wants to follow. It is our duty to ensure, by means of congressional oversight, that he does so."

    Constitutional law professors say Bush could be bluffing but history shows that Bush bluffs first and then goes ahead and does what he wants if nobody calls the bluff.

    David Golove, a New York University law professor and expert on presidential power issues, told the Boston Globe that Bush's actions display a ''mind-bogglingly expansive conception" of his power and the White House's blatant disregard for the role of Congress.

    ''On the one hand, they deny that Congress even has the authority to pass laws on these subjects like torture and eavesdropping, and in addition to that, they say that Congress is not even entitled to get information about anything to do with the war on terrorism," Golove said.

    Bush's actions are just another example of a madman who appears determined to destroy the Constitution and a country called America. Unfortunately, this madman will continue to wreak havoc until somebody puts a stop his insanity.


    © Copyright 2006 by Capitol Hill Blue

    Who is this Thompson guy anyway?

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    Mark Hugo   ·  July 22, 2006 11:12 AM

    Hate-linking still, are we? Clayton Cramer? You really need to remove your head from your ass.

    sixfootpolemn@Yahoo.com   ·  July 22, 2006 12:19 PM

    OH MY GOD! Have I hate-linked? And I did it again? I'm so sorry! I'll have to check with you first to make sure it never happens again.

    Perhaps an editor or an ombudsman could be appointed to ensure my accountability.

    Eric Scheie   ·  July 22, 2006 3:27 PM

    Looks like it wasn't just Thompson writing stories with quotes from George Harleigh. Check out:

    http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=2212

    Appears to be a post of an article originally from CHB, but written by William McTavish, the current editor. G. Harleigh with a Bush-bashing quote of course.

    Anon   ·  July 22, 2006 5:06 PM

    It appears most likely that George Harleigh is an entirely fictional construct invented by the editors of CHB.

    Will.Spencer   ·  July 24, 2006 9:05 PM

    Note that the quotations and citations get removed, but this does not have any effect on the authors' conclusions. The very concpts of logic and evidence are irrelevant to these people.

    Bleepless   ·  July 25, 2006 1:25 PM

    A whistling girl and a crowing hen always come to a bad end.

    Leon   ·  July 28, 2006 9:06 PM

    Excellent and very helpful
    http://buyadip.tripod.com/buy_adipex_p_online
    Thanks!

    Gamm   ·  July 29, 2006 8:28 PM

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