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Rather's Trent Lott Moment?

In less than 24 hours the blogosphere looks to have debunked the major scoop from last nights Dan Rather/60 Minutes II hatchet job.

60 Minutes has obtained a number of documents we are told were taken from Col. Killian's personal file.

Col. Killian died in 1984. 60 Minutes consulted a handwriting analyst and document expert who believes the material is authentic

Right off this should have been a warning sign to CBS that there might have been an authenticity problem, but they report them as the gospel truth even though the can't produce a single person who has ever seen them before.

This morning the shit hit the fan in the blogosphere as Powerline (mirrored at Command Post) LGF, Allah, and others investigated (real time) aspects of the magic document find. Ultimately it's been settled (for the most part) that it's pretty easy to self create the documents CBS is alleged to have "found." A reader sent me this easily created Word file/PDF comparison (with tilt and guidelines added for reference):

All you need to do is photocopy a few generations of the document and you've got what Rather showed on 60 Minutes II last night.

Bill at INDCJournal tracked down a forensic document expert of his own, who put his name and credentials on the table (unlike CBS's), and declared that the CBS presented documents are forgeries. After examining the documents several times he concludes the likelihood of forgery is over 90%. Why?

In the document provided by CBS News, the number 4 does not "have a foot" and has a "closed top," which is indicative of Times New Roman, a font exclusive to more modern computer word processing programs. other characters matched the old proportional spacing fonts (available on only a small few typewriters of the era), but this number did not (please note that this is only an initial analysis with numerical characters).

Dr. Bouffard ran this number and could not find a match in his entire database of over 4,000 typewriter fonts that have been maintained and collected into his computer database since 1988. Otherwise, the font is very indicative of Times New Roman, the font that is only available on computer word processing programs.

[Read the rest]

The story is starting to filter back to the mainstream media. Drudge is running the story and you can expect some of CBS's competitors to work up for a pile on this evening or tomorrow.

Have blogs caught Rather in his Trent Lott moment? It sure looks that way.

Update: Charles Johnson has a damning bit of evidence.

Update 2: CBS is sticking by the story.

Update 3: The big media is picking up on it. Brit Hume had it. CNSNEWS, and the Weekly Standard one story up so far and I think they are working on another.

Some outlets are reporting that the White House is convinced of the documents authenticity. That's not an accurate report, as a careful reading of this ABC report indicates:

Yet, it was the White House not Kerry's campaign that distributed four memos from 1972 and 1973 from Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, now deceased, who was the commander of the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in Houston where Bush served. The White House obtained the memos from CBS News, which said it was convinced of their authenticity, and the White House did not question their accuracy.
Update 4: BUSTED
In the August 18, 1973 memo "discovered" by 60 Minutes, Jerry Killian purportedly writes:

Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job.

But wait! Reader Amar Sarwal points out that General Staudt, who thought very highly of Lt. Bush, retired in 1972.

Update 5: Based on the work of Dr. Philip Bouffard as detailed at INDC Journal I noticed that no one shown a close up of the point he was making about issue with the number "4" he noted in the CBS documents.
Dr. Bouffard began entering individual characters in an attempt to match them to the remaining fonts that were available on proportional spacing typewriters of that era, focusing on numbers. Thus far, one character stood out, the number "4." In the document provided by CBS News, the number 4 does not "have a foot" and has a "closed top," which is indicative of Times New Roman, a font exclusive to more modern computer word processing programs.

Dr. Bouffard ran this number and could not find a match in his entire database of over 4,000 typewriter fonts that have been maintained and collected into his computer database since 1988.

Here's a comparison of the August 1, 1972 memo and Microsoft's Times New Roman font as captured from Word 2003 on Windows XP. The September 5, 1973 is from the document Powerline linked.


Game Over.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Rather's Trent Lott Moment?:

» A Single Southern Guy In America linked with Faked Documents - Whose blood do the others smell - Bush or Rather?

» The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with Faked Documents - Whose blood do the others smell - Bush or Rather?

» snellspace.com linked with Forgeries?

» resurrectionsong linked with Forged Documents? Let's Slow Down (Updated)

» pennywit.com linked with Two Faces of Blog Journalism

» ianmassey.com linked with forged documents from cbs?

» Outside The Beltway linked with 60 Minutes Bush National Guard Docs Forged?

» Your Daily Prescott linked with Forgeries

» Arguing with signposts... linked with Thanks, MS!

» ianmassey.com linked with forged documents from cbs?

» annika's journal linked with Outrageous, Stupid, Fraudulent And Despicable

» In Search of Utopia linked with The Forgery Accusations...

» snellspace.com linked with Read the fine print

» Allah Is In The House linked with http://www.allahpundit.com/archives/000930.html

» Simon World linked with Reactions and responses

» FlashBang linked with FlashBurn

» Ipse Dixit linked with It's Not About Bush's Service Any More

» murdoc online linked with Can this possibly be true?

» think!freedom linked with Post 47

» Human Advancement linked with http://humanadvancement.net/blog?itemid=7

Comments (35)

I wonder if this is another... (Below threshold)

I wonder if this is another rope-a-dope. These forgeries are so amateurish. Maybe the Bush campaign forged them in order to flush out the LMM. If so, it was a damn good idea!

Martin,I happen to... (Below threshold)
So It Begins:


I happen to think it is possible Rove did do it, but more as a practical joke. It would be funny. Although, it does not appear Rove could be involved in anyway. CBS would have tried to tie it to him first and any slight odor of him they would have cried "foul"! Then again, Rove is a shitload smarter than those at CBS.

If Rove and the Bushies are... (Below threshold)

If Rove and the Bushies are behind this (and if the .docs are indeed forgeries), they deserve the award for best political trick ever. Alternately, one could argue that the Kerry campaign and its cronies, including Pappy Dan Rather, deserve the award for worst political sensibilities in the history of the modern world.


I think this is going to of... (Below threshold)

I think this is going to officially put the blogosphere on the map, historically. Wow. We're living history, one pageview at a time... w00t!

Unbelievable!!!Fox j... (Below threshold)

Fox just said that they are questioning the "validity of the documents"!!!

Awesome. Still watching and waiting...

Does anyone know if LTC Kil... (Below threshold)

Does anyone know if LTC Killian kept military memos/records on all his subordinate officers in his personal files or did he only keep those documents of the ones he somehow "earmarked" for political prominence 30+ years in the future? Too bad he's not around to ask.

The AP and Fox just reporte... (Below threshold)

The AP and Fox just reported that Killian's son doubted the authenticity of at least one of the documents and said that the family was not the source of the memos.

Interesting comment on the ... (Below threshold)

Interesting comment on the Fox panel tonight had to do with the damage these documents could cause. If they are legit or are not proven to be fraudulent, they remain semi-benign because Bush has already demonstrated leadership.

However, if they are shown to be forged...the backlash against Kerry and his party may be rather severe.

If someone cooked this up...they are not very smart. Something with a high risk that will only marginally harm your opponent if it works out perfectly is not something you ever want to attempt - especially in a Presidential election.

Here are some facts:<... (Below threshold)

Here are some facts:

1) Monica Crowley interviewed the daughter of Ben Barnes. His daughter told Crowley that her father lied on 60 Minutes and was promised a job in the Kerry Administration. Also she claims her father is writing a tell-all book.

2) Lt. Col. Killian's son believes the documents are bogus. He told AP that he served with his Father (retired as a captain) and Bush and doesn't believe those documents are real.

3) Dan Rather attended and spoke at a Texas Democrat fundraiser. His daughter is a budding politician in Texas and is part of the Democrat Party in the state. Rather claims he had no idea it was a fundraiser. Some hotshot journalist. Either he's a dummy or he's a liar.

I don't know if you guys have been following the story but Fox News, WABC in New York, etc. are challenging 60 Minutes to come clean. They're also challenging the Today Show for booking Kitty Kelley for three days of interviews.

This is exciting. I really ... (Below threshold)

This is exciting. I really hope this thing goes back towards the Kerry campaign and we get another Watergate. WAhoo! This is some night!
Glad Dan the bitch Rather got it in the face. Thank you Blogosphere. Let's be honest the left can not be trusted with power right now. Not until they clean themselves of these faudsters.

Read John Kerry's anti-America book THE NEW SOLDIER and 4 chapters of UNFIT FOR COMMAND for free online

Kevin:I don't beli... (Below threshold)


I don't believe that the Staudt data is dispositive. Would it not be possible for a retired general to still attempt to use influence?


He's Karl Rove and you're n... (Below threshold)

He's Karl Rove and you're not

Pennywit, that was me who p... (Below threshold)

Pennywit, that was me who put up that update. And I kinda think it settles it. How on earth could he be writing memos complaining he could not do his job after he retired?

Seems like a done deal to me.


You guys need to wear namet... (Below threshold)

You guys need to wear nametags or something.

Here's the thing: As I undertand it, the memo is written about a general who has retired. All I'm doing is raising the possibility that a retired general might still have enough personal clout that he can make life difficult for his former subordinates.


You guys need to wear namet... (Below threshold)

You guys need to wear nametags or something.

Here's the thing: As I undertand it, the memo is written about a general who has retired. All I'm doing is raising the possibility that a retired general might still have enough personal clout that he can make life difficult for his former subordinates.


P.S. -- I will admit that I'm being contrary here. I tend to do that.

pennywitGive it up... (Below threshold)


Give it up.

"As I undertand it, the mem... (Below threshold)

"As I undertand it, the memo is written about a general who has retired."

save me some time and link me wouldya? Maybe I'll swing your way but the odds are long.

Martin:Just clarifyi... (Below threshold)

Just clarifying my remarks.

I gotta read these things before I submit them. Link you? Not sure of your request here.

As far as the general -- I'm just interested in seeing how this turns out. You could very well be right. Then again, another possibility may rear its head. This is interesting nevertheless.


give me a link explaining t... (Below threshold)

give me a link explaining that comment. I don't remember seeing anything where he wrote it after he retired?!?!?!

Well, so far the top forens... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

Well, so far the top forensic experts have said that there is excellent evidence that these are forgeries.

Now, you can dispute that by saying, whose experts.? These guys are the people who everyone else goes to when they need to get an answer to a difficult problem.


"William Flynn, a forensic document expert widely considered the nation's top analyst of computer-generated document"

And Flynn is a Kerry supporter

Richard Polt, a Xavier University philosophy professor

Bill at INDC (http://www.indcjournal.com/) got Phillip Bouffard who wrote the course on forensic analysis of computer generated documents.

Hugh Hewlett got an expert : http://hughhewitt.com/

Farrell Shiver is the owner of Shiver & Nelson, a document investigation lab in Woodstock, Georgia.

Shriver said that Dr Bouffard was the guy they went to for the final answer.

I think that tears it.

Paul:I think my ba... (Below threshold)


I think my bad writing is getting in my way.

I'm just repeating what you wrote above: That the Lt. Col.'s CYA memo was written in 1973, after Gen. Staudt retired in 1972.


As a reader here -- I don't... (Below threshold)

As a reader here -- I don't know what "pennywit"'s politics and/or motives are, I'm just offering a random opinion upon reading here about the information flow alone on the thread -- it reads to me that "pennywit" was simply positing the idea that the retired general guy (or anyone), although not capable of creating any substance that is verifiable and/or contestable in a court of law, could have otherwise created some action or "document(s)" to make a WAVE alone, to otherwise make a public discourse flash, some influence...to make waves in the public's awareness.

In other words, still bear "influence" on the public's awareness of a situation.

Such that, there's no link available, it's just the writer's general "thought position" as to possibilities here about the phenomenon itself of the Fontgate situation: created without legitimacy for to make a point alone.

About the idea that Karl Rove was somehow responsible...I bet Rove is getting as much a laugh out of that as I am tonight.

Rove could certainly be responsible for bringing to light the lack of crediblity of Barnes as source and therefore, the Barnes "documents" that have surfaced...and influencing people as to where to look for what, but, as to being some Big Mastermind who actually created the entire scenario, I think more of Rove than that. Meaning, he impresses me as someone too intelligent to resort to the Fontgate Grovelling that the DNC seems to have fallen quite so haplessly for.

Kev for it to be accurate y... (Below threshold)

Kev for it to be accurate you need to print it and scan it back in. Printer fonts are different.

See LGF's post.

I would not be shocked to d... (Below threshold)

I would not be shocked to discover that Texas Democrat operative Ben Barnes and CBS's Dan Rather cooked up this whole story. Rather once said that Bill and Hillary Clinton were the most moral people he's ever known. So that gives you some indication of Rather's moral compass. I believe the media should investigate Rather's ties to Ben Barnes and the DNC. Perhaps 20/20 or Primetime could conduct their own investigation. I know, fat chance. Ideology trumps competition in the broadcast news business.

fox is now linking to the s... (Below threshold)

fox is now linking to the story on their front page, headline box. Titled "Bush Guard Memos Questioned", link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,131954,00.html

postscript: sorry for the multiple pings, mt is acting unpredictably after an upgrade. looking into it.

CBS and Gunga-Dan are melti... (Below threshold)

CBS and Gunga-Dan are melting down. But I don't think they are responsible for the forgeries. I believe that they were so eager to air this 'too-perfect' story that they were had by one or more Democratic party hacks. Maybe they are connected to the campaign; maybe not but so much shit has hit the fan that it will spread far and wide.

This is from an ABC News st... (Below threshold)

This is from an ABC News story about the documents being questioned by Col. Killian's wife, son and forensic document examiners.

The White House is declining to comment on the veracity of the documents. Many Democrats are worried that if they are found to be forgeries, it will be a setback for Sen. John Kerry's campaign to defeat Bush in November.


re: sparsematrixyou'... (Below threshold)

re: sparsematrix
you're right, this is the Monica's Dress of the blogosphere.

Ratherbiased.comBa... (Below threshold)


Barnes has already been documented as a top John Kerry campaign donor, but in 2001, a Democratic fundraiser took place in which Dan Rather was the main speaker. On March 21, 2001, an assortment of Austin's well-to-do Democrats paid as much as $1,000 to attend a party held in the backyard of Austin City Council member Will Wynn. Rather raised $20,000 for the Texas Democratic party at the event to which he was invited by his daughter, activist Robin Rather.

There are three steps which... (Below threshold)
Dear Johns:

There are three steps which now need to be taken:

1) Following the trail. Document the chain of possesion of these documents back to the source

2) Determine the number of laws broken such as forgery of signature, falsifying "DOD" documents, mail/wire fraud depending on how the documents were ditrubuted, conspiracy, maybe even FEC violations and of course:

Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, which states: [W]hoever, in any manner within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the United States, knowingly and willfully . . . makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years or both.

Be sure not to leave Sen. Harkin out of that last one.

3) This whole business of counting the number of days since John Kerry has answered a reporter's question is ridiculous. We're looking at a scandal of Watergate proportions if this leads back to the DNC and the personal direction of Terry MacAuliffe as has already been reported. It's time reporters start being reporters again. Stand in the middle of the crowd at Kerry's next campaign stop with a microphone and press credentials and start shouting questions. You know, the pro-active, power to the people, investigative journalists we used to see on the old Lou Grant show.

Semper Gumby,
Dear Johns

If this story pans out, and... (Below threshold)
Anonymous Non-ronin:

If this story pans out, and becomes a Woodward and Bernstien moment, who gets to be Woodward and Bernstein?

Wizbang, LGF, Powerline, etc, take careful note of the dates and times to determine who hit this first. Everyone else, make sure to watch these guys that they don't fudge their timestamps.

Senator Harkin is a likely ... (Below threshold)

Senator Harkin is a likely suspect. He's a proven liar regarding his own military service.

So I'm looking at the compa... (Below threshold)

So I'm looking at the comparison of the two documents in the enlarged version. Have you figured out how the forger managed to float the "e" above the line every time?

Dan Blather is nothing but ... (Below threshold)

Dan Blather is nothing but a homosexual liar, who has probably molested many little boys.

Subject: Dan Rather's daugh... (Below threshold)

Subject: Dan Rather's daughter, Robin, wrote the Killian memos....

After reading the article in FrontPage Magazine today, and after Google searching other things that she has been involved in and with who, there is no doubt in my mind who the "unimpeachable" author of the Killian memos is......Dan Rather's daughter ROBIN RATHER!






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