Gerald Posner, of Case Closed
infamy, is now the chief investigative correspondent for the Daily Beast. He has just been caught plagiarizing
from a Miami Herald story:
He said he had no memory of having seen the Herald story, describing himself as "absolutely sure" he did not see it before sending his own story to Beast editors. But that memory must be wrong, he said, because the similarities between the two pieces are too great, and the Herald's story was posted before he e-mailed his to his editors at 2:03 a.m. on Feb. 2.
I'm not sure how one can lose memory of an act of plagiarism committed so recently. But what should we have expected? Gerry is also the fellow who falsely "gave the impression" that he had interviewed James Tague, Carlos Bringuier and JFK pathologist J. Thornton Boswell. In fact, he seems to have lied about Boswell
On November 17, 1993 before the House Committee on Government Operations, Posner reported that he had interviewed two of Kennedy’s pathologists, James Humes, M.D. and J. Thornton Boswell, M.D. Posner testified that they confirmed to him that they had changed their minds about the original location they had given for Kennedy’s skull wound....Posner informed the U.S. Congress that the pathologists told him that they had erred [in their original autopsy report]—the [head]wound was 10 centimeters higher, at the top rear of the skull. On March 30, 1994, I called both Drs. Humes and Boswell. Both physicians told me that they had not changed their minds about Kennedy’s wounds at all. They stood by their statements...which contradicted Posner. Startlingly, Dr. Boswell told me that he has never spoken with Posner.
Actually, I think Posner may not be lying in the present instance. It is possible that he does not have any recollection of plagiarizing the Miami Herald story because he may not, in fact, have done the actual copying.
Does he actually write about his own stuff, or does he merely sign his name to it? Some people have wondered about that for years. Suspicions were aroused, in part, by the odd lack of an authorial voice -- by his plywood-flat, "manufactured by committee" writing style. (If you ran his books through one of those programs designed to identify an author by style, what would you get?) During the CC brouhaha, he was a strangely ubiquitous media presence, and in some of his interviews he said things (about Jack Ruby, for example) that indicated an unfamiliarity with his own book.
(I would never be so churlish as to suggest that the same unknown party wrote both the Miami Herald story and the Posner piece. Both concerned the murder of the heir to the Fontainebleau Hotel
fortune. An interesting
On a more substantive level: Before Case Closed
, he wrote a work on Josef Mengele. A surprisingly short time before that book appeared, he gave testimony before Congress giving -- in detail -- a completely different (and much more persuasive) story about Mengele's post-war career. Given the long lead times for publication and the amount of time it takes to write any substantive book, this striking about-face was astounding.
The explanation? You may want to look here
Posner has always denied being a "spooked up" journalist. It's just a coincidence that he managed to secure an interview with defector Yuri Nosenko even though the CIA always kept everyone else away from him. And then there's Why America Slept
, which is filled with behind-the-scenes CIA and FBI material. Time
claimed it to be an "indictment" of the agencies, but it clearly was part of a faction fight within
the intelligence community:
The stuff that is going to spark hot debate is Chapter 19, an account—based on Zubaydah's claims as told to Posner by "two government sources" who are unnamed but "in a position to know"...
Posner elaborates in startling detail how U.S. interrogators used drugs—an unnamed "quick-on, quick-off" painkiller and Sodium Pentothal, the old movie truth serum—in a chemical version of reward and punishment to make Zubaydah talk. When questioning stalled, according to Posner, cia men flew Zubaydah to an Afghan complex fitted out as a fake Saudi jail chamber, where "two Arab-Americans, now with Special Forces," pretending to be Saudi inquisitors, used drugs and threats to scare him into more confessions.
This was published in the summer of 2003. Think about it: At that
moment, Gerry Posner was getting "methods and operations" stuff from the CIA that no-one else could ever hope to get -- inside info about the interrogations of Al Qaeda suspects, the touchiest of touchy subjects. Do you need any further
evidence to understand what Case Closed
was all about?
On the lighter side, I direct your attention to the photo of Posner published above. Note the hair color. Keep in mind that the Mr. Honesty was born in 1954 -- in other words, he's older than I
am, yet there's not a touch of gray -- and his hair used to be brushy. If you type "Gerald Posner" into Google, one of the more prominent auto-completions includes the words "plastic surgery."
This may explain Posner's attraction to the Michael Jackson story. Last July, he wrote about Jackson killing himself accidentally
. Well, accidents happen. Even plagiarism, we're told, happens by accident. (He also says that scientist Mary Sherman was killed in an "accidental fire" despite the multiple stab wounds
.) I must confess that, previously, I never gave Jackson's death too much thought -- but now that I find that Gerry has interjected himself into the story, I'll have to take a look at it. His byline sets off my spook alarm.
(Maybe Gerry had accidental plastic surgery...?)
Plagiarism and giving false testimony to Congress would normally destroy the reputation of a journalist. For Posner, these things always seem to be mere bumps in the road. That fact alone tells you that the fix is in.