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CBS Memos: September 10, 2004

CBS Against the World - Memos, memos, memos

Amid mounting pressure, CBS has stood firm in its position that memos criticizing the president's military record are authentic and accurate. However, other news outlets are systematically undermining every aspect of CBS' original story.

CBS and Dan Rather

USA Today (9/21): provides an informative article into Burkett's role as a "conduit" for the guard memos. He apparently doubted their authenticity and warned CBS. Rather acknowledged this and apologized. [more]

Update (9/20): CBS has issued a statement and Rather has apologized. There is no admission of inaccuracy but the network does say it was misled by Burkett regarding the source of the memos [more].

CNN article (9/10):

"The story is true. The story is true," Rather said. "The questions raised in the story are serious and legitimate questions."

Rather denies there is any internal CBS News investigation under way -- a statement backed by the network.

Rather also said the possibility of issuing any kind of recant or apology was "not even discussed. Nor should it be."

New York Times (9/20): CBS is close to admitting their news organization was misled (more). "CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say"

Newsday (9/16): Rather concluded: "We shall continue to aggressively investigate the story of President Bush's service in the National Guard, and the story of the documents and memos in Col. Killian's file. Are those documents authentic, as experts consulted by CBS News continue to maintain? Or were they forgeries or recreations, as Marion Carr Knox and many others believe? We will keep an open mind."

CBS News Statement (9/15): We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing

LA Times (New - 9/15): CBS and Dan Rather continue to defend their story. Meanwhile, the Times appears to attribute some of the backlash to partisanship. "If you report this kind of story, you have to know everybody is not going to like you or how you did it," Rather said, adding "the documents may be a `he said, she said,' but the story will stand up."

Sioux City Journal (9/15): "I think we have to find some way to show our viewers they are not forgeries,'' Schieffer, CBS' chief Washington correspondent and host of the network's "Face the Nation,'' said at a news conference in Sioux City. "I don't know how we're going to do that without violating the confidentiality of sources.''

Associated Press (9/15): "We continue to believe in this story," said Betsy West, CBS News' senior vice president.

CBS: [note: unfortunately CBS has chosen to replace older articles with updated ones - this link will take you to the latest] "In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," the statement continued. "Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned." Wizbangblog has an analysis and the Democratic National Committee has an Action Alert.

(9/12) - CBS News again defended its reporting Sunday, even as other media raised doubts about the authenticity of memos the network uncovered about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Latest News:

CNN (9/23): Burkett speaks out against CBS, the White House and Bloggers. States the memos are authentic.

New York Times (9/23): CBS Appoints 2-Man Panel to Investigate Guard Report

Washington Post (9/20): CBS News anchor Dan Rather has interviewed the retired lieutenant colonel widely believed to have helped provide "60 Minutes" with the disputed National Guard documents about President Bush that have created a credibility crisis for the network, and CBS plans to air the interview in the coming days.

New York Times (9/19): President Bush said in an interview published yesterday that there were serious questions about the authenticity of documents featured in a CBS News report suggesting that he received preferential treatment in the Texas National Guard three decades ago. [snip] A CBS News spokeswoman denied last week that there had been questions about the documents' authenticity at least two days before the report was broadcast. But officials acknowledged yesterday that questions lingered up to the day the report was shown.

Mark Steyn (Sun-Times, 9/19) - [Rather said], "If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story." Hel-looooo? Earth to the Lost Planet of Ratheria: You can't "break that story." A guy called "Buckhead" did that, on the Free Republic Web site a couple of hours after you and your money-no-object resources-a-go-go "60 Minutes" crew attempted to pass off four obvious Microsoft Word documents as authentic 1972 typewritten memos about Bush's skipping latrine duty in the Spanish-American War, or whatever it was.... I was prepared to cut the poor old buffoon some slack a week ago. But Dan's performance has grown progressively more outrageous, to the point where it's hard not to conclude he's colluding in the perpetuation of a massive if ludicrous fraud.

LA Times (9/18): Bush did it? Josh Howard, [60 minutes]'s executive producer, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview Friday. "The White House said they were authentic, and that carried a lot of weight with us."

"The fact is CBS used those documents as the smoking gun," said Alex Jones, head of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. "I don't believe Dan set out to mislead anybody, but he's got to stand up and take a bullet. His credibility and that of CBS are very much on the line."

The Independent (9/18): The winner of the US Presidential election has yet to be decided. But a couple of losers are already apparent - CBS News, which ran the now largely discredited memos about George Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, and the network's veteran anchorman, Dan Rather.

New York Daily News (9/17):CBS curmudgeon Andy Rooney indicated yesterday he believes the controversial documents on President Bush's National Guard service are fake and said it could cost Dan Rather down the road. "I'm surprised at their reluctance to concede they're wrong," Rooney said, referring to CBS brass.

Bryon York (9/16): CBS was clearly angry that its judgment was questioned-- by nobodies! "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances \[at the network\] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing," said one former CBS executive who defended Mr. Rather. Well, it turned out that the guy in his pajamas was right, at least this time.

Arizona Republic (published letter): CBS' Dan Rather should be fired
- Already at an all-time low, the current controversy over the 60 Minutes II story about newly found documents concerning President Bush's National Guard service has eliminated any remaining credibility at CBS News.

Reuters (9/17): WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS won't have to worry about the House Commerce Committee poking around its handling of memos alleging that President Bush disobeyed orders while serving in the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam War. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, chairman of the committee, has rejected suggestions that his committee or one of its subcommittees look into the matter. While Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., asked Wednesday for a congressional investigation, Barton said late that night that it was inappropriate. The House Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over the broadcast industry.

New York Post (9/17): Dan Rather and CBS may forever claim they were justified in having aired documents last week about Presi dent Bush that even they themselves now question, but many viewers seem to disagree. "We're being perceived as 'anti-Bush,' " one CBS official reportedly said. No wonder.

Salt Lake Tribune (9/17): Thomas: The death knell sounds for once-trusted CBS News

The Scottsman (9/17): Famous American Newsman under Pressure over 'Faked' Evidence - He is one of America’s best known, well respected television newsmen. But Dan Rather was fighting for his reputation today after documents he used in a story questioning President George Bush’s military service increasingly appeared to be fake. After initially insisting that the memos were genuine, the 72-year-old CBS anchorman has now conceded they could be forgeries.

New York Times (9/17): Internally and externally, pressure on Mr. Rather is mounting, with some of his longtime colleagues and journalism ethicists saying that he and the network refused to take the questions seriously for too long. A longtime CBS News correspondent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said "I can't understand why '60 Minutes' Wednesday didn't exercise more caution in checking the story out, and why they don't seem to have been the least bit skeptical of the documents."

Washington Post (9-16): Documents allegedly written by a deceased officer that raised questions about President Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Tex., according to another former Guard officer who was shown the records by the network. [snip] There is only one Kinko's in Abilene, and it is 21 miles from the Baird, Tex., home of retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, who has been named by several news outlets as a possible source for the documents. [see also A Likely Source for CBS Memos]

Fox News (9/15): CBS News, dogged over questions about the authenticity of memos apparently showing that President Bush shirked his National Guard service more than 30 years ago, is expected to release a statement about the documents Wednesday afternoon.

Associated Press (9/15): A leading House Republican on Wednesday asked for a congressional investigation into disputed documents used by CBS News for a story examining President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Voice of America (9/15): A U.S. television network continues to stand by its recent report questioning President Bush's military service during the Vietnam era, despite questions about the authenticity of documents on which the story was based.

Backcountry Conservative (9/15): Fox News reports in a teaser to open their 9 a.m. programming that CBS is supposed to issue a statement today related to the allegedly forged National Guard memos. No word on the nature of the statement. [Update - delayed to 5 pm]

Investor's Business Daily (9/15): [hat tip Powerline Blog] Journalism has a new dress code. Pajamas. The people who write blogs, short for Web logs, don't get much respect from the mainstream media. Jonathan Klein, a former senior executive at "60 Minutes," said on Fox News last week that "Bloggers have no checks and balances. . . . (It's) a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas." But it took only a day for bloggers to show the emperor has no clothes, exposing CBS for airing a report based on possibly forged documents about President Bush's National Guard service.

New York Post (New - 9/15): A master forger-turned-crimebuster who has taken a look at CBS anchor Dan Rather's documents about President Bush's National Guard service says they're such obvious fakes that they're a joke.

Salt Lake Tribune (9/15): A documents expert retained by CBS News for the disputed ''60 Minutes'' story on President Bush's National Guard record said Tuesday that she had warned the program that the memos involved ''had problems'' and that she had questioned ''whether they were produced on a computer.''

Houston Chronicle (9/15): "They're forgeries as far as I'm concerned because I didn't type them," Knox said Tuesday at her southwest Houston home. I did not type those, no, but the information in them is correct," she said.

BeldarBlog (9/15, Hat tip to RatherGate): weighs in (heavily) from a legal perspective on the issues of forgery and fraud.

Rather was complicit in defrauding the American public in an attempt to defeat a sitting President. Rather must be fired now. Congress should subpoena CBS News' lawyers and all documentation of their advice. ...

He who knowingly enables and facilitates the fraud is as guilty as he who originated it.

It doesn't matter whether CBS News had other experts who supported the documents' authenticity.

LA Times (9/15): A Black Eye for CBS. CBS News has been had. It's hard to reach any other conclusion about newly discovered documents that CBS and anchor Dan Rather are defending as revealing the truth about George W. Bush's military service.

ABC News (9-14): Two of the document experts hired by CBS News say the network ignored concerns they raised prior to the broadcast of a report citing documents that questioned George W. Bush's service in the National Guard during the Vietnam War.

The authenticity of the documents in the report by CBS News' 60 Minutes II has been widely questioned. The documents were allegedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984.

Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.

"I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter," she said.

Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents.

"I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story," Will said.

But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush's National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity.

Associated Press (9/14): NEW YORK - Two experts hired by CBS News to examine records of President Bush’s Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard told ABC on Tuesday that they could not vouch for the documents’ veracity.

WorldMagBlog (9/14): The final CBS witness has been tracked down and interviewed by WorldMagBlog. It looks like his testimony was reported optimistically in favor of Bush's critics. The bottom line is that he says he can't authenticate the documents. "His testimony is on the level of someone saying, "these memos seem real to me because I can imagine writing memos like that and sticking them in my drawer." [more]

Dallas News (9/14): Col. Killian's former secretary weighs-in on the matter against CBS.

The former secretary for the Texas Air National Guard colonel who supposedly authored memos critical of President Bush’s Guard service said Tuesday that the documents are fake, but that they reflect real documents that once existed.

Marian Carr Knox, who worked from 1956 to 1979 at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, said she prided herself on meticulous typing, and the memos first disclosed by CBS News last week were not her work.
"These are not real," she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. "They’re not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him."

Mrs. Knox, 86, who spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events, said she is not a supporter of Mr. Bush, who she deemed "unfit for office" and "selected, not elected."

CBS/AP (9/13): [Many items contradicting the CBS/Rather defense were reported and remained unanswered in a surprising CBS/AP article that stood in stark contrast to Rather's prior assertions. CBS appears to be backing away from its hardline position]

Washington Post (9/14): Dan Rather referred to handwriting expert Marcel Matley as one of the experts who contributed to the validation of Texas National Guard Memos that are highly critical of President Bush. He now denies that he can authenticate the memos. The Post states:

A detailed comparison by The Washington Post of memos obtained by CBS News with authenticated documents on Bush's National Guard service reveals dozens of inconsistencies, ranging from conflicting military terminology to different word-processing techniques.

The analysis shows that half a dozen Killian memos released earlier by the military were written with a standard typewriter using different formatting techniques from those characteristic of computer-generated documents. CBS's Killian memos bear numerous signs that are more consistent with modern-day word-processing programs, particularly Microsoft Word.

USA Today (9/12): Enlisted their own experts in two areas:

  • Typography: Expert Gerald Richards: "It is highly probable that (the original memos) were computer-generated," Richards said. "And it is highly probable that they were not generated by a typewriter vintage circa 1972."

  • Signatures: Richard Williams, who examined the documents at USA TODAY's request, is a 23-year veteran of FBI document authentication who testifies frequently as an expert witness. He said he had questions about Killian's signature on the memos.

New York Times (9/14): The Times reports further about Matley and suggests that the burden of proof is on CBS.

USA Today, which had presented the documents as legitimate on Thursday, featured an article yesterday with some experts surmising they were forgeries. "We're just busy now trying to determine the authenticity, or not," said the newspaper's executive editor, John Hillkirk.

One of the experts CBS News said initially helped convince it that the documents were genuine, a handwriting expert named Marcel B. Matley, said in an interview yesterday that he believed the signature in the documents to be that of Colonel Killian. Asked if the signature could have been lifted from an official document by Colonel Killian and pasted onto forgeries, Mr. Matley said: "Sure. But we can't draw a conclusion from a possibility."


Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, said the burden was on CBS to prove its report was accurate beyond standard lines like "We stand by our story."

I think they should be able to provide credible information about how these memos came into their possession," Mr. Jones said. "And if they cannot provide the name of the source, then they need to make as much transparency as possible."

Mercury News (9/14):CHICAGO - (KRT) - Responding to challenges to the authenticity of records showing that President Bush shirked National Guard duty, CBS News on Monday stood by its story, but first lady Laura Bush said she believes the documents are fakes.

The Daily Standard (9/13): A [short] list of what you need to believe in order to conclude that CBS's documents aren't forgeries.

New York Post (Opinion - 9/14): IF you've been following the story, you know this already. If you haven't been follow ing the story, then I'll cut to the chase: Four documents used by CBS News last week in a story about George W. Bush's National Guard service are forgeries.

The National Review's Goldberg (9/14):

Dan Rather considers it outrageous and offensive that anyone would question the judgment that led to this situation. He defends what appear to be very shoddy methods (reading letters over the phone to sources, asking sources not to talk to the press, etc.), as if only a "partisan" or a fool would question them.

Previous Articles

New York Post (9/11): More to the point, by airing last night's segment at all, CBS and Rather were admitting something extraordinary had happened — that serious challenges to their original reporting had been mounted. But no challenger was brought on the show. Rather defined the terms of the discussion, asked the questions, picked the individuals who responded, presumably screened their answers — and basically declared himself innocent.

Washington Times: (note: the only expert backing up the CBS docs was a handwriting expert)

Washington Times (9-12): "They're forged as hell," said Earl W. Lively, 76, who during the era in question was director of Texas Air National Guard operations in Austin.

Eugene P. Hussey, a certified forensic document examiner in Washington state, said yesterday there is another flaw in the CBS memos. Mr. Hussey studied the known signatures of Col. Killian on Air Force documents, and two signatures on documents dated 1972 and 1973 that aired on "60 Minutes" Wednesday night.

"It is my limited opinion that Killian did not sign those documents," Mr. Hussey told The Washington Times

CNN: Experts contacted by CNN say there are some inconsistencies in the type style and formatting -- noting those styles then existed on typewriters but were not common. They also say only a review of the original documents -- not copies -- can completely resolve the matter.

ABC News: HODGES SAID HE WAS MISLED BY CBS: Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

Dallas Morning News: Retired Col. Bobby Hodges of Arlington, Texas, also said that one of the memos' references to undue pressure to "sugar coat" Bush's evaluations rings false. He said the colonel that supposedly applied that pressure did not interfere in Guard affairs after his retirement, 18 months before the date on the disputed memo.

New York Times (9/11) - Bobby Hodges, said in a telephone interview that network producers had never showed him the documents but had only read them to him over the phone days before they were featured Wednesday in a "60 Minutes" broadcast. After seeing the documents on Friday, Mr. Hodges said, he concluded that they were falsified.

New York Times (New - 9/13) - When the mainstream press checked the sources mentioned or ignored by "60 Minutes II," the story came apart.

Washington Post: "William Flynn, a forensic document specialist with 35 years of experience in police crime labs and private practice, said the CBS documents raise suspicions because of their use of proportional spacing techniques."

Washinton Post (9/11): One [CBS] staff member, who has examined the documents but did not work on the "60 Minutes" piece, saw potential problems with them: "There's a lot of sentiment that we should do an internal investigation."

International Herald Tribune: Two forensic document specialists both pointed to discrepencies in CBS' documents . . .

Arizona Tribune: A Valley documents expert questions the authenticity of newly unearthed memos stating that George W. Bush failed to meet standards of the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

MSNBC: Independent document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines said the memos looked like they had been produced on a computer using Microsoft Word software.

Chicago Sun Times: Ardolino's expert, Philip D. Bouffard, is a nationally recognized forensic authority in typewriter and electronic typefaces. ... And the proportional spacing and the common characteristics of numbers like 4 and 7 and letters like lower case c and upper case G are beyond the capabilities of any of the typewriter impact specimens I have in my collection. The centering of headings is also beyond the capabilities of any typewriter I know of."

Mark Steyn (Sun Times): The only problem was the memo. Amazingly, this guy at the Air National Guard base, Lt. Col. Killian, had the only typewriter in Texas in 1973 using a prototype version of the default letter writing program of Microsoft Word, complete with the tiny little superscript thingy that automatically changes July 4th to July 4th.

New York Times: Robert A. Rahenkamp, a former I.B.M. manager who wrote a scholarly history on its typewriters for a company journal in 1981, said, "I'm not aware that we had any superscript technologies back in those days'' on standard proportional space typewriters.

Robert W. Strong, 62, was a staff sergeant in the adjutant general's office of the Texas Air National Guard at Camp Mabry at Austin in 1968, when Mr. Bush enlisted. Mr. Strong said in an interview Friday he was quite sure that he and others used Selectrics in the adjutant general's office. He added that he was not sure the typewriters and devices were also in the 147th Combat Support Squadron at the Ellington base in Houston, home of the 111th squadron.

"I'm skeptical that Killian was working on that," Mr. Strong said.

San Jose Mercury: The man named in a disputed memo as exerting pressure to "sugar coat" President Bush's military record left the Texas Air National Guard a year and a half before the memo was supposedly written, his own service record shows.

Seattle Times: The Los Angeles Times, however, later quoted Hodges as saying that he believed the memos from Killian were not real. A CBS news executive confirmed that Hodges had changed his story. . . .Retired Col. Earl Lively, director of Air National Guard operations for the state headquarters during 1972 and 1973, said Staudt "wasn't on the scene" after retirement, and that CBS' remote-bullying thesis makes no sense.

Note: Powerline Blog had already uncovered this fact. Regarding it they write:

On his radio show tonight, Hugh Hewitt asked me what I thought was the single clearest indicator of the documents' fraudulence. I responded that it is the anachronistic suggestion, ostensibly in 1973, that General Staudt was pressuring Killian and others to revise Bush's evaluations, when Staudt had already retired in 1972.

National Review (9/10): Killian's son has also questioned the CBS documents. Referring to the "sugar coat" memo in particular, Gary Killian told the Associated Press, "It just wouldn't happen. The only thing that can happen when you keep secret files like that are bad things.... No officer in his right mind would write a memo like that."

National Review Online (9/13): Dan Rather's defense of his network's reporting on Friday night was so shoddy, it must be reviewed in slow motion to truly appreciate the attempts at spin and evasion.

And then there are all those bloggers and one whom is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can prove the CBS documents are authentic.

Jay Bryant (on Townhall): They have only two choices: they must either be the duper or the dupee. In other words, either someone at CBS was in on the fraud, or they were defrauded by the con artist who passed off the forgeries as genuine.

American Spectator: A CBS producer, who initially tipped off The Prowler about the 60 Minutes story, says that despite seeking professional assurances that the documents were legitimate, there was uncertainty even among the group of producers and researchers working on the story.

Investors Business Daily (9/13) - It now appears CBS made a grievous mistake or knowingly relayed false information. If so, what credibility does it have left? Even an on-air correction won't undo the damage. (Hat tip: intapundit).

Newsmax: According to Allan Haley, director of words and letters at Agfa Monotype in Wilmington, Mass., the documents couldn't have been produced on a typewriter because they contain the superscript "th" in "111th F.I.S." and apostrophes in words like "I'm" and "he's."

Blogs to consider:

Digitus, Finger & Co. has an excellent discussion on typesetting and the improbability that CBS' documents are not forgeries created in Microsoft Word as was done by Little Green Footballs.

UML Guy has a scorecard that puts much of the information in this post neatly into a usable table.

INDC Journal: I'm just presenting the analysis one expert forensic document examiner that specializes in typefaces, so, ignoring the statements by Killian's family that disavow the documents, ignoring the inconsistencies in tone, format and the active military status of individuals mentioned in the memo, soley based on forensic typographical analysis, it is highly unlikely that the documents are real, and if someone can verify that a 1972 IBM Composer cannot kern (or auto center, for that matter), then it will be completely verified that the documents are frauds.

INDC Update (9-11): I just interviewed Dr. Bouffard again, and he's angry that the Globe has misrepresented him. He's been getting hate mail and nasty phone calls since last night's story was posted, and he wants me to correct the record. He did not change his mind, and he and his colleagues are becoming more certain that these documents are forgeries.

One Hand Clapping: this machine did produce proportional spacing, but only after a lengthy and technical process by the typist that included typing each line twice. It simply wouldn't be done for routine memos. Also, I would guess that its purchase price would be very high, not the kind of thing a commander is likely to blow a huge chunk of his budget for.

Michelle Malkin: Dan Rather and his supporters are spinning so hard and in so many different directions that they are starting to contradict each other.

PoliBlog: Could one have made up a better memo if one had tried?
PoliBlog ( 9/12): Is 99.99% sure the documents are forged and gives six reasons why.

Powerline Blog: (9-11-2004) An amazing animation showing a striking resemblance between the Killian Memo and one generated by Little Green Footballs.

Powerline Blog (New – 9/13) : (Note: One of CBS’ two witnesses is Robert Strong, an English professor who is a former administrative officer for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam Years. One of Powerline's readers interviewed him.) [Strong] said that he believed that the CBS documents were genuine, but admitted that he "cannot vouch for the documents’ authenticity." Further, Strong said that he doesn’t think it matters whether the documents are genuine are not. . . . Strong acknowledged that he had "no personal knowledge about Bush’s service."

WorldMagBlog: Here is the best he could do: The Times Roman font was available since the 1930s. Yes. ON PRINTING PRESSES. Typewriters back then could make superscripts for "th's." Yes. But those would be the same size type, just raised up half a line. Typewriters could not shrink the letters, as modern word processors do.

Belmont Club (New - 9/12): CBS's last hope had been to show that Colonel Killian -- whose wife maintains did not type -- prepared the documents on an IBM Selectric or Composer. Those probabilities took a dive now that experimental attempts to reproduce the document on such equipment have failed. Worse, Computer Science Professor Robert Cartwright of Rice University (hat tip: Hugh Hewitt) shows that the variable letter spacing based on the adjacency of letters found in CBS's documents was computationally impossible on any mechanical device available in 1973.

Allah is in the House: has a humorous graphical interface to Rather's Band of Bloggers.

Hugh Hewitt (9-12): Has a "brilliant recap" according to the Powerline Blog.

Hugh Hewitt (9-13): And for the hold-outs clinging to the (increasingly unlikely) tiny possibility that this TANG Lt Col who couldn't type and whose family says he didn't keep such files had at his disposal cutting edge technology of a sort not yet shown to be anywhere else in the military,. . ."

Presence of Mind (9/13): I know of my own certain knowledge that the Killian memos are forgeries. I did work on the IBM Selectric Composer in the 70s, both the stand-alone model and the magnetic tape version (a Turing machine that set type--badly). I know from my own bleary-eyed effort how much time it would take to manually produce even one MS-Word style superscript.

Rathergate: A recommended new blog that follows this present controversy through the blogging world.

RightWing News: Provides a digestible summary concluding, "I'm not sure what CBS could even do at this point to prove that the memos were genuine. Maybe if they had a high quality videotape that actually showed Killian typing the memos on some sort of experimental typewriter and you could actually see the words as they were being typed, that might enough."

Animations, Examples, etc.

If you haven't seen the document animation now is the time: click here. Here is an even better high resolution simulation: click here and an excellent animation is found here.

Little Green Footballs (9/13): A counter example shows how difficult it is to make an MS Word document match an authentic typewritten document.

Joseph M. Newcomer (New - 9/12):

I am one of the pioneers of electronic typesetting.... All I can say is that the technology that produced this document was not possible in 1972 in the sort of equipment that would have been available outside publishing houses, and which required substantial training and expertise to use, and it replicates exactly the technologies of Microsoft Word and Microsoft TrueType Fonts.

It is therefore my expert opinion that these documents are modern forgeries.

Shape of Days: Could an IBM Selectric Composer have been used to produce these documents? [The answer, summarized by the picture below is "no". Note that the image had to be edited to remove line spacing discrepencies and the superscript was created by changing the Selectric type ball after typing "111"]


Finally, if you are not convinced Peter Duncan has a compelling analysis showing the similarity between the Killian Memos and a MS Word Document and the lack of similarity between the Memos and type writers available during the early 1970s. Here is an example:

Who is the Hidden Source of the Bush Guard Memos?

Ace of Spades HQ: Reports a likely candidate: Bill Burkett [hat tip to JustOneMinute].

Newsweek: A principal source for CBS's story was Bill Burkett, a disgruntled former Guard officer.

American Spectator: More than six weeks ago, an opposition research staffer for the Democratic National Committee received documents purportedly written by President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard squadron commander, the late Col. Jerry Killian.

American Spectator (9/13)

"We're having a hard time tracking how we got the documents," says the CBS News producer. "There are at least two people in this building who have insisted we got copies of these memos from the Kerry campaign by way of an additional source. We do not have the originals, and our sources have indicated to us that we will not be getting the originals. How that is possible I don't know."

"It was like they were placing an order for a ready-made product. That is the biggest problem I have with this. It's all too neat and perfect for what we needed. Without these exact pieces of paper, we don't have a story. Dan has as much as admitted that. Everyone knows it. We were at a standstill on this story until these memos showed up."

WizBangBlog (9/13): It's a circumstantial case at this point, but Heldt (or someone known to him) is looking pretty good. There's more information on the way on this story, but new tips and leads are always welcome.

My other posts on this topic:

Posted by tim at September 10, 2004 8:17 PM

Articles Related to CBS Memos, News, Politics:


Did you mean the improbability of LGF's copy, or how unlikely it is that it's not a forgery? Because, I think the evidence points to the fact that it's a forgery. :)

Posted by: Neil Uchitel at September 11, 2004 12:17 AM

Thanks for the correction - my original (confusing) remarks on your article have been updated.

Posted by: tim at September 11, 2004 12:30 AM

Hi again, sorry to be a snit but,

To my ears it should read: "...and the improbability that CBS' documents are not forgeries created in Microsoft Word as was done by Little Green Footballs.' Like I said, I believe they were forgeries, and very bad ones.

Thanks for the link!

Posted by: Neil Uchitel at September 11, 2004 1:54 AM

Got it! Thanks

Posted by: tim at September 11, 2004 10:00 AM

The CBS memos use Bush's so called Service Number.. During that time SSN numbers were used. (I can't believe nobody picked up on that one.)

I went through boot camp at Lackland July 1971. My Service number was SSN based. FRXXX-XX-XXXX some of those cycling thru with me had FG and one guy who was going to be an officer had his FR behind his SSN. When I saw the Memos It is that service number that just smacked me in the face. No one would have used the old service number... Payroll and records were all setup using the SSN. Like the old saying goes follow the money.. in this case if an Airman wanted to get paid he better use his SSN..

Posted by: Dan O at September 12, 2004 10:25 AM


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