The right wing would love it if they were. They are fomenting a controversy akin to the CBS/Rather one in order to put the memos and their information in dispute. Michael Isikoff today on Air America hinted that they were fake since no government official had authenticated them. Actually one did, sort of,
The AP showed the documents to an unnamed senior British official who said they "appeared authentic."
Isikoff forgot to add that no British government offical had come forward to say they were
more, below the fold
MediaChannel.org sent me this link
Are Downing Street memos authentic or elaborate hoax?
Blogs question credibility of reporter who typed copies, destroyed originals
[...]Many of the same blogs that successfully challenged Dan Rather's documents are now questioning whether the Downing Street memos are for real.
With Times of London reporter Michael Smith admitting the memos he used in his stories are not originals, but copies he retyped, the controversy seems to be reaching a fever pitch.
"Until tonight ... no one questioned the authenticity of the documents provided by the Times of London," said CaptainsQuartersBlog, one of the sites behind the Rather scandal. "That has now changed, as Times reporter Michael Smith admitted that the memos he used are not originals, but retyped copies.
The eight memos - all labeled "secret" or "confidential" - were first obtained by Smith, who has written about them in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. [...]
Smith told its interviewer: "I was given them last September while still on the [Daily] Telegraph. I was given very strict orders from the lawyers as to how to handle them. I first photocopied them to ensure they were on our paper and returned the originals, which were on government paper and therefore government property, to the source."
Does this make you doubt the authenticity of the Smith memos or does it make you reconsider the authenticity of the Killian memos?
Confirming the Downing Street documents
by Larisa Alexandrovna
New documents from across the Atlantic paint a picture of a President bent on war and administration officials determined to deliver war in Iraq at any cost.
Against the backdrop of the Bush Administration's public statements, the documents raise questions about whether the Blair and Bush administrations covered up earlier actions after the invasion.
The original Downing Street Memo, initially reported by the Times Online on May 1 of this year, includes the transcribed official minutes of a 2002 meeting among British Prime Minister Tony Blair, members of British intelligence, MI-6 and various Bush officials.
Powerline weighs in
Lots of people are starting to question the authenticity of the "Downing Street Memos": the Alamo City Commando, Captain Ed, and many others. Some of the circumstances are indeed strange. We now know that the reporter who publicized the memos, Michael Smith of the London Times, claims that after receiving the documents from a leaker, he had a secretary retype the documents using an old-fashioned typewriter, and then either destroyed or returned the copies he had originally obtained. Why would anyone do that? Beats me, but the story is oddly reminiscent of Bill Burkett's tale about how he made photocopies of the documents he obtained after a phone call from the mythical Lucy Ramirez, and then burned the originals. Further, the documents have been "authenticated" only by the Associated Press, which showed them to an anonymous British government source who said they "appeared authentic." This is essentially worthless as evidence, especially since the anonymous source could only have seen the typed mock-ups.
Why would anyone do that? Beats me,
Michael Smith explains, as posted above:
"I was given them last September while still on the [Daily] Telegraph. I was given very strict orders from the lawyers as to how to handle them. I first photocopied them to ensure they were on our paper and returned the originals, which were on government paper and therefore government property, to the source."
But Hinderaker goes on to say he doubts they are fake. Maybe because no British officials who were at the meetings have come forward to deny them or maybe because they match the existing minutes of the meetings on the original documents?
Looks like some rightie blogs falling over themselves breathlessly declaring the memos fakes begin to look rather silly.