Scott Thomas Beauchamp

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Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp—identified as Scott Thomas, Baghdad Diarist—"an Army private writing under a pseudonym about U.S. atrocities in Iraq",[1] wrote anecdotes published by The New Republic, the last one being on July 13, 2007, entitled "Shock Troops".[2]

The article's veracity was quickly attacked[3] on July 18, 2007, by Michael Goldfarb of the neoconservative The Weekly Standard, and again on July 20, 2007.[4] "While many of these questions have been formulated by people with ideological agendas, we recognize that there are legitimate concerns about journalistic accuracy," the Editors of TNR wrote August 10, 2007.[5]

TNR's Editors wrote that they have attempted to investigate[6] the matter, while,

"At the same time the military has stonewalled our efforts to get to the truth, it has leaked damaging information about Beauchamp to conservative bloggers. Earlier this week, The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb published a report,[7] based on a single anonymous 'military source close to the investigation,' entitled 'Beauchamp Recants,' claiming that Beauchamp 'signed a sworn statement admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods--fabrications containing only 'a smidgen of truth,' in the words of our source.'"

"Here's what we know," TNR wrote on August 2, 2007:[6]

"On July 26, Beauchamp told us[8] that he signed several statements under what he described as pressure from the Army. He told us that these statements did not contradict his articles. Moreover, on the same day he signed these statements for the Army, he gave us a statement standing behind his articles, which we published at Goldfarb has written, 'It's pretty clear the New Republic is standing by a story that even the author does not stand by.' In fact, it is our understanding that Beauchamp continues to stand by his stories and insists that he has not recanted them. The Army, meanwhile, has refused our requests to see copies of the statements it obtained from Beauchamp--or even to publicly acknowledge that they exist."

Goldfarb's August 6, 2007,[6] post concluded "Now that the military investigation has concluded, the great unanswered question in the affair is this: Did Scott Thomas Beauchamp lie under oath to U.S. Army investigators, or did he lie to his editors at the New Republic? Beauchamp has recanted under oath. Does the New Republic still stand by his stories?"[7]

On August 10, 2007, TNR filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of the Army "for all documents pertaining to its investigation of Beauchamp, particularly any statements Beauchamp had signed." Two months later, on October 10, 2007, TNR writes, it learned that its "FOIA request was finally under review by the appropriate office." In its October 26, 2007, update, TNR reported:[9]

"It was as we were awaiting the documentary record of the Army’s investigation that the Army leaked several documents, including the September 6 transcript, to The Drudge Report, which incorrectly reported that the documents show that Beauchamp had recanted. In fact, they show no such thing, and Drudge soon removed the supporting documents from its website, and later its entire report."

Bloggers' Roundtable

In January 2007, New Media Outreach (NMO), a directorate of the American Forces Information Service (AFIS) within the Office of the Secretary of Defense "hosted" the first Bloggers' Roundtables, "conference calls for bloggers writing on Defense Department issues," Nikki Schwab wrote May 2, 2007, in the Washington Post.[10]

Among the bloggers participating in the conference calls is The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb. A Department of Defense transcript from the September 28, 2007, conference call with Colonel Ricky Gibbs, Commander, 4th Infantry Division Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division Baghdad, includes questioning by Goldfarb about Beauchamp:[11]

  • GOLDFARB: I gotta ask you about Scott Beauchamp, and I'm wondering if you can tell me -- you know, the last we heard on this was that your command had prevented him from talking to the media. And I'm wondering if that is still the case, or if Beauchamp has been allowed to talk to his editors at the New Republic or if you can give me any information on that.
  • COL. GIBBS: Yes, Scott Beauchamp is one of my soldiers. Based upon what we saw in the -- in the news, we had -- those are not good things that soldiers should be doing. So we, as every good unit does, I directed an official investigation to determine, one, if in fact the -- what he said is true, we need to take actions to prevent further acts like that. We did an investigation, and we found that the incidents described in the article did not take place. He admitted those himself to the investigators, and so we proved that they were unfounded, and the soldier who wrote the piece has been counseled by the chain of command and allowed to assume his duties as an infantryman. He is not -- we can't -- we do not order them not to talk to the press. They can talk to the press. And our soldiers are the greatest advertisers for the Army, because they'll speak the truth and tell the truth in most cases. So I'm proud of the professionalism and dedication of our soldiers, and I'm satisfied that this brigade is conducting our operations with the utmost professionalism and dedication. And that soldier is still serving in his unit today.
  • GOLDFARB: Sir, I can just ask you a quick follow-up here. So first off, to be clear, he did admit that those things did not take place?
  • COL. GIBBS: He did admit to the investigating -- not to me, but to the investigator.
  • GOLDFARB: And can you speak at all, do you know if he's been in touch with the New Republic?
  • COL. GIBBS: I don't know. I've got 5,000 soldiers plus, so I don't see them all.

At the end of the session, Gibbs added the following:

  • COL. GIBBS: My guys handed me a note here to make sure I get the facts right here. I referenced Beauchamp, he did not officially recant what he said. But further statements from folks in his -- troopers in his company and chain of command proved that the allegations were unfounded. Make sure I get all the facts right.
  • Q Then can we be clear, did he admit that the stories were false or no? Is he standing by the stories?
  • COL. GIBBS: He's standing by the stories, but the investigation from his buddies that worked with him and other investigations proved the allegations were incorrect, unfounded.
  • Q Okay, so he is standing by the stories?
  • COL. GIBBS: Yeah.
  • Q Okay.
  • COL. GIBBS: We'll make sure we clarify that. Right now, no, he's not. He had admitted, no, but he's not standing by it now.
  • Q I'm confused, guys. Is he standing by the stories or hasn't he?
  • Q Has he recanted?
  • COL. GIBBS: No, he's not. No, he has not recanted. But he's not -- he's no longer standing by his story. He will not -- and he won't talk to the media, they say.
  • Q If he won't stand by --
  • COL. GIBBS: We're not -- we're not prohibiting him from doing that.
  • Q This is Marvin Hutchins. So if I can -- if I can maybe find a way to say this right. Are you saying that he's not -- that he's not been -- he's not standing by the story in public statements or anything, but he's admitting, I suppose in theory, that the investigation has proven that he was false, without coming out and saying, I made it all up?
  • COL. GIBBS: Yes. We have proven through an investigation of unbiased parties, official investigators, that the allegations are unfounded.

Goldfarb's follow-up to this Bloggers' Roundtable session was published the same day, September 28, 2007, in The Weekly Standard, entitled "Col. Gibbs: Beauchamp Recanted, No He Didn't???"[12]

Articles by "Scott Thomas"


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Max Blumenthal, "The Weekly Standard's Reliable Sources: Male Prostitute Matt Sanchez and Web Weirdo 'Throbert McGee'," The Huffington Post, August 2, 2007.
  2. Scott Thomas, "Shock Troops," The New Republic, July 13, 2007.
  3. Michael Goldfarb, "Fact or Fiction?" The Weekly Standard, July 18, 2007.
  4. Michael Goldfarb, "The New Republic's 'Shock Troops': Fact or Fiction? Looking more and more like fiction," The Weekly Standard, July 20, 2007.
  5. The Editors, "A Scott Beauchamp Update," The New Republic, August 10, 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "A Statement on Scott Thomas Beauchamp," The New Republic, August 2, 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Michael Goldfarb, "Beauchamp Recants," The Weekly Standard, August 6, 2007.
  8. "A Statement from Scott Thomas Beauchamp," The New Republic, July 26, 2007.
  9. "A Scott Beauchamp Update," The Plank Blog/The New Republic, October 26, 2007.
  10. Nikki Schwab, "Blogs Chronicle War from Soldiers' Perspectives," Washington Post, May 2, 2007.
  11. Transcript: DoD Bloggers Roundtable with Colonel Ricky Gibbs, Commander, 4th Infantry Division Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division Baghdad, September 28, 2007.
  12. Michael Goldfarb, "Col. Gibbs: Beauchamp Recanted, No He Didn't???" The Weekly Standard, September 28, 2007.

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