This Dan Rather lawsuit against CBS, in the wake of his removal following the 2004 Memogate controversy, gets more and more interesting, thanks mostly to the reporting of Felix Gillette at the New York Observer.
Last week Gillette noted how CBS came up with a list of possible members to the "independent" panel it was assembling to look into its reporting on Bush's National Guard service. Among the names floated internally were right-wingers Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh and Bill Safire, in part because CBS was so spooked by the conservative attacks on the network.
Now Gillette reports that during his investigation, GOP attorney Dick Thornburgh, who was eventually tapped to run the panel, sent over eight questions to the White House and asked aide Dan Bartlett to gets answers from Bush regarding the gaping holes in his national guard service during the Vietnam War.
To Thornburgh's credit, the eight questions were dead-on for anybody who actually wanted to get to the bottom of the Bush scandal; and the eight questions the press pretty much refused to ask Bush for years on end.
A spooked out Bartlett, who for years had been the point man for spreading misinformation about Bush's service, informed Thornburgh that Bush would not be answering any further questions about his service.
Here are the eight questions that remain unanswered to this day:
(1) Was there a waiting list to become a pilot of the Texas Air National Guard at the time you entered?
(2) Do you recall Colonel Killian being dissatisfied in any way about your National Guard service in 1972 and 1973?
(3) Were you ever ordered to take a physical in May 1972 or at any other time?
(4) Did Colonel Killian say in May 1972 that you could do Equivalent Training for three months or transfer?
(5) Do you recall being suspended from flight status on or about August 1, 1972? If so, how was that suspension communicated to you?
(6) Why were you suspended from flight status? Was there a reason other than not taking a physical?
(7) Describe your communications with Colonel Killian about a transfer to Alabama in 1972.
(8) Did Colonel Killian or anyone else ever inform you that Colonel Killian was being pressured in any way about your status by a superior officer?