From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
A Watershed Moment

September 10, 2004 1:38 PM

If you're an old-school journalist, you better be shaking in your boots over what's happening with this purportedly forged 60 Minutes document.

If you want to trace the process, start here, then here.

CBS is dithering on the emerging scandal and Dan Rather has personally vouched for the documents. Meanwhile, the right-wing is furiously trying to pin this on the Kerry campaign.

Where did the documents come from? A Democrat disgruntled with the Kerry campaign's lack of cojones? It could even be a Rovian-inspired frame job similar to the bug nearly everyone thinks he planted in his own office in 1986.

I can't imagine there's a substantive link to the Kerry campaign, but it may not matter. All they've gotta do is make people think there is. If that happens, this moves from a "watershed" moment to a tragic one.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one that smells Rove here. The American Spectator (eek!): "According to one ABC News employee, some reporters believe that the Kerry campaign as well as the DNC were parties in duping CBS, but a smaller segment believe that both the DNC and the Kerry campaign were duped by Karl Rove, who would have engineered the flap to embarrass the opposition."

More from the archive in Emergence, Media.

A Watershed Moment (09.10.2004)

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Read the 11 comments.


It looks like the documents may be authentic.

Fri Sep 10 2004 3:31 PM

Right Wing Robby:

Cant imagine a link? LOL

Hilarious. Meet the bringer of said documents, Mr. Ben Barnes. For those of you who dont know who Ben is, dont worry, I'll fill you in.

Mr Ben Barnes is the Vice-Chair of the Kerry Campaign.

There are plenty of other connections which include

Are you serious with this? The trail of corruption that follows this guy is ridiculous. Cant imagine any link...What a joke. Either your fact checking is terrible, or you just choose to ignore them. Liberals tend to do the latter.

Fri Sep 10 2004 5:01 PM

Jim Gilliam:

Yes, that American Spectator article I referenced says the info was passed on by the Kerry campaign because they didn't know if it was legit. But the question is where did they come from?

Fri Sep 10 2004 5:22 PM

raging red:

RWR - Why don't YOU check your facts? Ben Barnes is not the person who supplied CBS with the documents.

Fri Sep 10 2004 6:38 PM

evil conservative666:

ACK! If Karl Rove did half the shit that you people say he does, he'd have already taken over the world. Really, stop. Prove those documents are real. There's certainly reason for suspicion. An original of these questionable documents should exist. And go after someone who isn't dead and can defend themselves. Then smear them. I come here to read both sides, but when it's this ludicrous it just backs up what shambles the Kerry campaign is.

W '04 motherfuckers, and get used to it.

Fri Sep 10 2004 8:46 PM

Right Wing Robby:

It doesnt matter. Bush isnt running on his national gaurd record, and he publically states respect for the senator's service.

Is this really all Kerry has? Attacking the attendance record from national gaurd service decades ago. Lets say for a second he skipped his physical and everything is proven to be true. It still makes no difference.

I think any one of us could run a better campaign then Kerry is.

Sat Sep 11 2004 6:28 AM

evil conservative666:

I'm with Robby. Let us never forget that that's a piss poor way to try to win.

Sat Sep 11 2004 7:38 AM


Published on Saturday, September 11, 2004 by the Boston Globe
Authenticity Backed on Bush Documents
by Francie Latour and Michael Rezendes

After CBS News on Wednesday trumpeted newly discovered documents that referred to a 1973 effort to ''sugar coat" President Bush's service record in the Texas Air National Guard, the network almost immediately faced charges that the documents were forgeries, with typography that was not available on typewriters used at that time.

But specialists interviewed by the Globe and some other news organizations say the specialized characters used in the documents, and the type format, were common to electric typewriters in wide use in the early 1970s, when Bush was a first lieutenant.

Philip D. Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe yesterday that after further study, he now believes the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.

Analysts who have examined the documents focus on several facets of their typography, among them the use of a curved apostrophe, a raised, or superscript, ''th," and the proportional spacing between the characters -- spacing which varies with the width of the letters. In older typewriters, each letter was alloted the same space.

Those who doubt the documents say those typographical elements would not have been commonly available at the time of Bush's service. But such characters were common features on electric typewriters of that era, the Globe determined through interviews with specialists and examination of documents from the period. In fact, one such raised ''th," used to describe a Guard unit, the 187th, appears in a document in Bush's official record that the White House made public earlier this year.

Meanwhile, ''CBS Evening News" last night explained how it sought to authenticate the documents, focusing primarily on its examiner's conclusion that two of the records were signed by Bush's guard commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian. CBS also said it had other sources -- among Killian's friends and colleagues -- who verified that the content of the documents reflected Killian's views at the time.

One of them, Robert Strong, a Guard colleague, said the language in the documents was ''compatible with the way business was done at that time. They are compatible with the man I remember Jerry Killian being."

But William Flynn, a Phoenix document examiner cited in a Washington Post report Thursday, said he had not changed his mind because he does not believe that the proportional spacing between characters, and between lines, in the documents obtained by CBS was possible on typewriters used by the military at the time.

Flynn told the Globe he believes it is ''highly unlikely" that the documents CBS has obtained could have been produced in 1972 or 1973.

Flynn said his doubts were also based on his belief that the curved apostrophe was not available on electric typewriters at the time, although documents from the period reviewed by the Globe show it was. He acknowledged that the quality of the copies of the documents he examined was poor.

Also suspicious is Killian's son, Gary D. Killian of Houston. ''I still contend that my father would not have written these documents. I know the type of man he was -- if he felt he was being pressured, he'd confront it head on, not write a memo about it," Killian, 51, said in a telephone interview. His father died in 1984.

The controversy over the authenticity of the documents has all but blocked out discussion of their content. In the first document, dated May 4, 1972, Killian appears to order Bush to show up for a flight physical ''no later than 14 May, 1972." On Aug. 1, 1972, a document bearing Killian's signature notes that he had suspended Bush from flight status ''due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination (flight) as ordered."

At the time of the memo, Bush had not flown since April. He moved to Alabama in May of that year to work on a political campaign, and had not attended drills for more than four months.

In a ''memo to file" dated May 1972, Killian appeared to write that he had counseled Bush about his commitment to the Guard. And the final memo obtained by CBS, dated Aug. 18, 1973, said that the group's commanding general had sought to have Killian ''sugar coat" Bush's annual fitness report -- even though Bush had apparently not trained at his Houston airbase during the year in question.

But reporters and political figures focused much of their attention yesterday on the suggestion that CBS might have been the victim of a hoax.

Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had dismissed the Bush documents in an interview with The New York Times because the letters and formatting of the Bush memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Bouffard yesterday said that he had not considered one of the machines whose type is not logged in his database: the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the Bush memos to Selectric Composer samples obtained from Interpol, the international police agency, Bouffard said his view shifted.

In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. But Bouffard yesterday provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 -- three years before the dates of the CBS memos -- the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.

As for the raised ''th" that appears in the Bush memos -- to refer, for example, to units such as the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron -- Bouffard said that custom characters on the Composer's metal typehead ball were available in the 1970s, and that the military could have ordered such custom balls from IBM.

''You can't just say that this is definitively the mark of a computer," Bouffard said.

Meanwhile, the political fray over the documents continued unabated. At a news conference yesterday, Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, again accused Bush of lying about his record.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan defended the president's service record, but offered no view on whether the CBS documents are authentic.

Globe reporters Stephen Kurkjian and Walter V. Robinson contributed to this report.

Š Copyright 2004 Boston Globe

Sat Sep 11 2004 10:25 PM


From the Wilkipedia article:

"In 1966, IBM released the Selectric Composer, the first desktop publishing system. The hybrid typewriter produced camera-ready justified copy using proportional fonts in a number of font sizes and styles, using the typeball. The machine required that material be typed twice. The first time was to measure the length of the line and count the spaces, recording special measurements on the right margin. The second time it was typed, the operator used the measurements to set justification for the line."
So this senior officer - who, I'm sure, had a secretary at his disposal and whose wife and son both say "he never typed" would, for a "memo-to-file" or(even MORE ludicrous)a "CYA" memo....this Lt.Col. would use the Composer to type his memo

You can believe that if you like but....c'mon now, let's get real. you can't see that you're clutching at some pretty ragged straws if you actually believe that this is how these memos came to be?

Mon Sep 13 2004 7:22 AM


CBS could settle this by explaining where they got the documents from. Seems strange that these "private" files where obtained without the family's knowledge.

Could this be another case of stolen files like Gerald Nicosia experienced when he had possession of the FBI files that proved Kerry was in attendance at a controversial 1971 meeting in Kansas City of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)? There where fewer breakins in the 1972 election.

One other problem with the memo about pressure from Staudt to "sugarcoat" Bush's evaluations is dated Aug. 18, 1973. But Staudt had been honorably discharged from the Guard on March 1, 1972. About as stupid as the "Nixon was president in Dec '68" claims.

Had to laugh, about the Carl Rove comments. My wife asked me a while back who he was after a news report. My reply, "Now that Nixon is dead the democrats that believe in religion say he is the devil that walks the earth".

Mon Sep 13 2004 7:35 AM

Right Wing Robby:


Tue Sep 14 2004 11:08 AM

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