[Mb-civic] CBS Stands By Bush-Guard Memos
michael at michaelbutler.com
Sat Sep 11 13:24:47 PDT 2004
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CBS Stands By Bush-Guard Memos
Friday 10 September 2004
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Questions have been raised about the authenticity of newly unearthed
memos acquired by CBS News that say President Bush's National Guard
commander believed Mr. Bush was shirking his duties.
The network is defending the authenticity of the memos, which were
obtained by CBS News' "60 Minutes," saying experts who examined the memos
concluded they were authentic documents produced by Mr. Bush's former
commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian.
In a statement, CBS News said it stands by its story.
"This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on
a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by
unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials
and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel
Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character
and his thinking," the statement read.
"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."
CBS News Anchor Dan Rather says many of those raising questions about
the documents have focused on something called superscript, a key that
automatically types a raised "th."
Critics claim typewriters didn't have that ability in the 1970s. But
some models did. In fact, other Bush military records already released by
the White House itself show the same superscript including one from 1968.
Some analysts outside CBS say they believe the typeface on these memos
is New Times Roman, which they claim was not available in the 1970s.
But the owner of the company that distributes this typing style says it
has been available since 1931.
Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents
for CBS News. He says he believes they are real. But he is concerned about
exactly what is being examined by some of the people questioning the
documents, because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced.
And the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied,
faxed, scanned and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS
Matley did this interview with us prior to Wednesday's "60 Minutes"
broadcast. He looked at the documents and the signatures of Col. Killian,
comparing known documents with the colonel's signature on the newly
"We look basically at what's called significant or insignificant
features to determine whether it's the same person or not," Matley said. "I
have no problem identifying them. I would say based on our available
handwriting evidence, yes, this is the same person."
Matley finds the signatures to be some of the most compelling evidence.
Reached Friday by satellite, Matley said, "Since it is represented that
some of them are definitely his, then we can conclude they are his
Matley said he's not surprised that questions about the documents have
"I knew going in that this was dynamite one way or the other. And I
knew that potentially it could do far more potential damage to me
professionally than benefit me," he said. "But we seek the truth. That's
what we do. You're supposed to put yourself out, to seek the truth and take
what comes from it."
Robert Strong was an administrative officer for the Texas Air National
Guard during the Vietnam years. He knew Jerry Killian, the man credited with
writing the documents. And paper work, like these documents, was Strong's
specialty. He is standing by his judgment that the documents are real.
"They are compatible with the way business was done at that time,"
Strong said. "They are compatible with the man I remember Jerry Killian
being. I don't see anything in the documents that's discordant with what
were the times, the situation or the people involved."
Killian died in 1984.
Strong says the highly charged political atmosphere of the National
Guard at the time was perfectly represented in the new documents.
"It verged on outright corruption in terms of the favors that were
done, the power that was traded. And it was unconscionable from a moral and
ethical standpoint. It was unconscionable," Strong said.
The president's service record emerged as an issue during the 2000 race
and again this winter. The Killian documents revived the issue of Mr. Bush's
time in uniform after weeks in which Democratic challenger John Kerry, a
decorated Vietnam combat veteran, has faced questions over his record as a
Navy officer and an anti-war protester.
The questions about Mr. Bush's service center on how Mr. Bush got into
the Guard and whether he fulfilled his duties during a period from mid-1972
What the Killian memos purport to show is that Mr. Bush defied a direct
order to appear for a physical exam, that his performance as an officer was
lacking in other ways and that Mr. Bush used family connections to try to
quash any inquiry into his lapses.
In a separate revelation, the Boston Globe this week reported that Mr.
Bush promised to sign up with a Boston-area unit when he left his Texas unit
in 1973 to attend Harvard Business School. Mr. Bush never signed up with a
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