Downing Street Memos Update

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Shakespeare’s Sister has one of the best overviews of the Downing Street Memos out there. The worst quote, to my mind, comes from the Ricketts Memo: “[The United States has not] satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better.” The White House really had no clue what it was getting itself into, did it?

Meanwhile, there has been a bit of talk floating around that, like the CBS memos on Bush’s TANG record, the Downing Street Memos might well be forged. The evidence? British reporter Michael Smith photocopied the original documents, and then destroyed the photocopies when he was done with them. Well, it sounds suspicious, but as Eugene Volokh points out, this seems precisely the sort of thing a reporter would have done if dealing with government documents. At any rate, if these documents exist, plenty of British officials have seen them, and not one has yet disputed their claims. At this point, it’s safe to say they’re real.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate