If you missed the show, here’s the transcript via RatherBiased
Via LGF comes the CBS’s defense of their position to their affiliates – after the jump.
September 15, 2004
MARION CARR KNOX, SECRETARY OF LT. COL. JERRY KILLIAN, TO APPEAR ON “60 MINUTES” TONIGHT IN FIRST TELEVISION INTERVIEW
CBS NEWS AFFIRMS ITS INTENTION TO CONTINUE TO REPORT ALL ASPECTS OF THE STORY
Marion Carr Knox, the secretary of Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, whose personal memos were part of a report on last Wednesday’s (8) 60 MINUTES broadcast regarding questions about President Bush’s service at the Texas Air National Guard, will appear in a report on 60 MINUTES tonight (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
In the interview, Ms. Knox states that she does not believe the memos are genuine. However, she confirms that the content of the memos does reflect the feelings of Lt. Col. Killian at the time and accurately portrays events that were taking place in connection with then-Lt. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service.
“I know that I didn’t type ’em. However, the information in those is correct,” Ms. Knox told CBS News for tonight’s broadcast.
In light of the questions about that original 60 MINUTES Wednesday report, CBS News states that it will redouble its efforts to continue reporting aggressively on all aspects of the story, in an effort to resolve those questions. Tonight’s 60 MINUTES interview with Ms. Knox is part of that effort.
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.