Downing Street Memos Update

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.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

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


Support our journalism

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