The CBS News report was based on a preponderance of evidence: many interviews, both on- and off-camera, with individuals with direct and indirect knowledge of the situation, atmosphere and events of the period in question, as well as the procedures, character and thinking of Lt. Col. Killian, Lt. Bush's squadron commander in the Guard, at the time.
The report also included the first television interview with Ben Barnes, a Democrat and current fundraiser for John Kerry, who said he helped get Mr. Bush into the Texas Air National Guard at the request of a Bush family friend.
Numerous questions have been raised about the authenticity of the documents. CBS News believes it is important for the news media to be accountable and address legitimate questions.
Procurement of The Documents
The 60 MINUTES Wednesday broadcast reported that it obtained six documents from the personal files of Lt. Col. Killian, four of which were used in the broadcast. In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which 60 MINUTES Wednesday received the documents. CBS News' reporting determined that the source of the memos had access to the documents he provided and an opportunity to obtain copies of them. Our sources included individuals who had first-hand knowledge of the events in question.
Additionally, Mary Mapes, the producer of the report and a well-respected, veteran journalist whose credibility has never been questioned, has been following this story for more than five years. She has a vast and detailed knowledge of the issues surrounding President Bush's service in the Guard and of the individuals involved in the story. Before the report was broadcast, it was vetted and screened in accordance with CBS News standards by several veteran 60 MINUTES Wednesday senior producers and CBS News executives.
Authentication of the Documents
Four independent individuals with expertise in the authentication of documents were consulted prior to the broadcast of the story regarding the documents 60 MINUTES Wednesday obtained: document examiners Marcel B. Matley, James J. Pierce, Emily Will and Linda James.
As CBS News has publicly stated, the documents used in the report were photocopies of originals.
Two of the examiners, Mssrs. Matley and Pierce, attested and continue to attest to their belief in the documents' authenticity. (see attachments 1 and 2) Two others, Ms. Will and Ms. James, appeared on a competing network yesterday, where they misrepresented their conversations and communication with CBS News. In fact, they assessed only one of the four documents used in the report, and while one of them raised a question about one aspect of that one document, they did not raise substantial objections or render definitive judgment on the document. Ultimately, they played a peripheral role in the authentication process and deferred to Mr. Matley, who examined all four of the documents used.
Additionally, two more individuals with specific expertise relative to the documents - Bill Glennon, a technology consultant and long-time IBM typewriter service technician, and Richard Katz, a computer software expert - were asked to examine the documents after the broadcast for a report in the Sept. 13 CBS EVENING NEWS. They, too, found nothing to lead them to believe that the documents did not date back to the early 1970s. They strongly refuted the claim made by some critics that there were no typewriters in existence in the early 1970s that could have produced such documents. (see attachments 3 and 4)
CBS News Experts' Conclusions About the Documents
- Katz believes the documents were written on a typewriter and not a computer. (attachment 3)
- Glennon confirms that the superscript "th" and proportional spacing of the typeface of the four documents were definitely available on typewriters as early as the late 1960s. (attachment 4)
- Pierce believes that the documents in question are authentic as best as he can determine, given that they are copies and not originals. (attachment 2)
- Matley says the signatures are, indeed, Killian's. (attachment 1)
Again, the documents used for the 60 MINUTES Wednesday report were copies, and most of the analysis fueling the current controversy is based on scanned, downloaded, faxed or re-copied copies. For now, the disagreements among "dueling experts" have not been resolved.
Maj. Gen. Bobby Hodges, who was group commander of Lt. Bush's squadron, has stated to The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among others, that he believes the documents are not real, but also told The New York Times, in an article that appeared on Sept. 12, that the information in the CBS News report "...reflected issues he and Col. Killian had discussed-namely Mr. Bush's failure to appear for a physical, which military records released previously by the White House show, led to a suspension from flying." That is consistent with what he told CBS News off-camera as part of the research for this report.
A reference in one memo to Gen. Buck Staudt applying pressure on behalf of Lt. Bush raised questions because Staudt had left his job 18 months before the memo was written. But CBS News' background reporting determined that Staudt remained a powerful figure in the Guard for years after his retirement, a fact that is confirmed by Ms. Knox in a newspaper interview. More importantly, the same memo referred to unhappiness in Austin, an obvious reference to Staudt's successor at the Austin, Texas, headquarters of the Texas Air National Guard.
The editorial content of the report was not based solely on the physical documents, but also on numerous credible sources who supported what the documents said.
Through all of the frenzied debate of the past week, the basic content of the 60 MINUTES Wednesday report - that President Bush received preferential treatment to gain entrance to the Texas Air National Guard and that he may not have fulfilled all of the requirements -- has not been substantially challenged.
CBS News will make every effort to resolve the contradictions and answer the unanswered questions about the documents and will continue to report on all aspects of the story.
This is so gonna get ripped apart by the bloggers. Just wait about 20 minutes.
BTW: Frank Abagnale, Jr thinks they are fakes too saying "If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been Catch Me In Two Days."
I ain't arguing with Abagnale about forgeries.
A thought (perhaps a dumb one) .
How much of what is happening can be traced back to the McCain-Feingold Act?
After all us "little people" now don't have a legal way to voice our views directly this close to an election, only the "big boys" of media can now speak.
Are we seeing the first example of outright, naked partisanship? Is CBS simply giving up on even the APPEARANCE of being neutral in reporting facts because they feel that no one can "really" touch them?
It would fit right in with the arrogance that Rather and Company have displayed many times in the past.
They are talking about this on CNN right now and one of the two folks Paula Zahn was interviewing went as far to say that that "this action, with Rather pushing this story forward even after very tough questions regarding their authenticity, shows Rather's liberal bias". I loved that he said that! He went on to say "Dan Rather has long had a problem with the Bush family and that his intentions are purely political". Hell, even the Washinton Times guy that was on with him conceded that these documents were forged and that the story should be pulled.
Dan Rather in his blind rage and hopes to screw Bush has opened perhaps the biggest can of worms ever to be opened by the news media. I hope those bastards pay dearly, both by losing $$$ and maybe their jobs as well as the election! And this just proves, even to those who still won't admit it, that what we've been saying about the liberal media bias for years is true! And it also gives more credibility to Bernard Goldberg who spoke out against Rather a few years ago. Now I just hope we can tie it all together. But this is popcorn worthy stuff here. LOL.
Was it me or did the old hag have that " I hate that George Bush" or what?
Her sorry old ass is just pissed the that Kerry will be losing the election.
We will see, but it would appear that CBS should be DBS (demorat broadcasting service)
It has already begun. This was posted on FreeRepublic earlier today before the CBS statement.
Evidence that CBS News 60 Minutes II is guilty of malice and intent to defraud
In the article, ABC news systematically dismantled what was likely to have been Dan Rather's “Swan Song”. Instead, it will undoubtedly be the story that drowned his career, a career I used to respect years ago. I still fondly remember the Dan Rather that went to Afghanistan to report on the Mujadin. Wow, how far he has fallen since hiking through the mountains of Afghanistan. Whether ABC knows it or not, they went one step further than their story suggests. That is, they exposed malice and fraud by CBS News/60 Minutes. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I videotaped the news article. I stood there stunned as I watched the interview by Brian Ross with Emily Will and I have reviewed it several times. Was I seeing things? Yes I was! There in black and white was Ms. Will going over the one document CBS News gave to here to presumably authenticate. Brian Ross stated:
“Emily Will, a court certified examiner from North Carolina, says she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check in the days before the broadcast.”
Ms. Will said: "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."
On camera, Ms. Will goes over an enlarged display copy of the document she examined. Therein is the problem and the answer to the question of whether CBS News was honestly just reporting the facts. Unless Ms. Will is lying, CBS News/60 Minutes gave her a document that CBS has never publicly admitted that they had in their possession. Ms. Will carefully reviewed the alleged signature of Jerry B. Killian on the June 24th, 1973 letter addressed to “Sir”. I first found this same document on the USA Today website as one of six (not four as reported by CBS) alleged Killian documents which I first shared here on September 11th: search under "Killian" for the "Two more 'Killian' Documents" thread. Since CBS News did not make the June 24, 1973 document available at their website as part of their original story, the question for me ever since has been why? As it turns out in perfect hindsight, CBS has made significant efforts to lead the public to believe that they only had four documents. Just go back and watch the 60 Minutes II, interview again or go see the four documents on their website today. Why only four CBS documents? Recall that Marcel Matley, the respected signature expert used for the 60 Minutes II, interview to support the authenticity of the alleged Killian documents, was also only given one document to examine. Mr. Matley was given the 04 May 1972 document in which Lieutenant Colonel Killian allegedly ordered then Lieutenant Bush to report for his annual physical “not later than” May 14, 1972. This is a case of authentication shopping!!! It is also fraudulent and it was clearly done with malice as there is no other reason to restrict an honest authentication expert from seeing all of the evidence unless you already know the answer you want to hear. If anyone was duped, it would appear to be the documents experts themselves and an unsuspecting TV audience. Obviously, CBS should have shared all of their documents with all of their experts. It would appear that the truth they were looking for is frustratedly hard to find and harder to accept—a truth which exists in the minds of the investigators but not in their fictitious documents. In the end CBS News chose to use for its broadcast, the one signature that looked most authentic when compared to other known signatures of the late Colonel Killian. CBS News cast aside the document Ms. Will told them was not authentic. Of course, it is possible that Ms. Will was using the June 24, 1973, document as a prop provided by ABC, but I don't think so. I think Ms. Will did examine document number five of six (chronologically speaking). If not where did she get it, ABC News? Oh, and Bloggers, it’s email@example.com. Thanks.
My observations after the CBS statement:
charleston1 was right about CBS getting all 6 memos and only using 4. He alleged that the other 2 were deemed by the CBS experts as not authentic. If CBS made a consciences decision not to use only 4 of the 6 for authenticity concerns then it is reasonable to suspect the authenticity of all 6 not just the 2 checked by the experts. This would imply intent to fraud.
What can we do to further the charge that CBS is guilty of malice and intent to defraud
from the CBS statement
"The 60 MINUTES Wednesday broadcast reported that it obtained six documents from the personal files of Lt. Col. Killian, four of which were used in the broadcast."