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Running Scared

Does CBS sound a little… nervous to you?

Earlier this month (Nov. 20) the New York Observer ran a story highlighting Rather’s travails in redeeming his good name, and proving once and for all that the story that got him fired was indeed true after all.

More than two years earlier, in the aftermath of what would become known as Rathergate, CBS had hired Mr. Rigler, a former Navy aviator and F.B.I. agent, in part to get to the bottom of the controversial documents at the heart of the affair….

For reasons that remain unclear, CBS eventually curtailed Mr. Rigler’s investigation. His findings were never made public. Nor, as it turns out, were they made available to Mr. Rather…

According to [Dan Rather’s lawyer Martin] Gold, this past summer when he reached Mr. Rigler, the investigator said he would be happy to talk but first had to run it by CBS. Weeks later, Mr. Gold hadn’t heard back. He called again. Shortly thereafter, according to Mr. Gold, he received a letter from the legal department at CBS telling him to stop harassing their client. A volley of contentious communications ensued and on Sept. 19, Mr. Rather officially gave up on phone calls and letters—he filed a $70 million civil lawsuit against his former bosses at CBS and Viacom, including Les Moonves, Sumner Redstone and Andrew Heyward.

"I tried to talk to Rigler and CBS shut me down," said Mr. Gold.

Obviously, Mr. Gold was completely unmanned by this crushing defeat:

[H]e hesitated to discuss many details of his legal strategy, but conceded one thing: He intended on hearing from Mr. Rigler.

"There’s no question about that," said Mr. Gold. "We’ll be very interested in taking his testimony and subpoenaing his records."

"The more they try heaven and earth to prevent me from talking to the guy, the more it becomes highly charged," he added. "The more I want to talk to him."

Gee, ya think? As you may remember, Rigler is the guy who concluded that “the Killian Documents were probably authentic, and that the underlying facts in the Broadcast were certainly accurate.”

Marktheshark is hopeful that Rather’s suit could shake a whole bunch o’ fun loose:

…Mr. Rather could just turn out to be the Bush regime’s worst nightmare, if this lawsuit is not settled out of court. If Rather’s attorneys can drag [rumored ANG record scrubbers] Karen Hughes and Joe Allbaugh before the court, along with [as of yet] unidentified players [Karl Rove] pulling the strings from the White House, a few revelations may leak out of this trial.

And, somehow, I don’t see Rather settling this case. I believe he’s truly pissed off at these people for effectively truncating his otherwise stellar career at the Tiffany network, and rightly so.

There’s one other avenue that I’d like to see Rather’s attorneys pursue, if feasible: Bush’s W-2 records. An anonymous source points out that "[b]y dividing his total wages by his rate of pay at the time [a known quantity], we would finally know how many hours [Bush] worked in the Guard." Assuming that those hours weren’t falsified, and that W-2s are subpoenable (a quick search suggests they are), this would be a simple, elegant way to prove whether Dubya actually fulfilled his obligations in the Alabama ANG, and therefore whether that aspect of Rather’s story was accurate. They might also come in handy if Rather wants to pursue the scrubbing rumors – there could be intriguing discrepancies between the W-2s and the ANG records.

Show us Dubya’s Dubya-2s!

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