Tags: CBS | Expert | Backpedals | Bush | Guard | Doc | Authentication

CBS Expert Backpedals on Bush Guard Doc Authentication

Tuesday, 14 September 2004 12:00 AM

In an attempt to quell the charge that the CBS documents are forgeries produced with modern computer word-processing software, Glennon has gone on record saying that IBM electric typewriters in use in 1972 could indeed produce superscripts and proportional spacing similar to those used in the disputed documents.

The documents are memos that were first revealed on last Wednesday’s “60 Minutes II” program on CBS.

The memos indicate that President Bush had failed to take a physical despite orders to do so, and that Colonel Killian was being pressured to “sugarcoat” his performance rating because Bush, whose father was then a Texas congressman, was “talking to somebody upstairs.”

The new expert Glennon’s theory was backed up by Richard Katz, a computer software expert in Los Angeles.

On a segment of CBS’s “Evening News,” Katz said he compared the CBS memos with a replication produced on Microsoft Word.

He noticed a slight variation in the boldness of the letters - as there is on many typewritten (not computer-generated) documents.

“It doesn’t look like you can do this very easily,” Katz added. “If you use something like Photoshop you could come close to faking it, but why not just go out and buy a Selectric for $75?”

But other experts have been quick to jump in the fray.

“I am personally 100 percent sure that they are fake,” said Joseph M. Newcomer, who worked on electronic typesetting techniques in the early 1970s.

Newcomer says he was able to produce virtually exact replicas of the CBS documents using Microsoft Word formatting and a Times New Roman font, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Anther expert, Thomas Phinney, program manager for fonts for the Adobe company in Seattle, is equally adamant.

Phinney said “fairly extensive testing” had convinced him that the fonts and formatting used in the CBS documents could not have been produced by the most sophisticated IBM typewriters in use in 1972, noting that the two systems used fonts of different widths.

Matley has been dissolving as the expert of record for Dan Rather and CBS: “There’s no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them,” Marcel Matley said.

The main reason is that they are “copies” that are “far removed” from the originals.

CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said: “In the end, the gist is that it’s inconclusive. People are coming down on both sides, which is to be expected when you’re dealing with copies of documents.”

Meanwhile, according to a report in the NY Times, some CBS correspondents have confessed that the developments were making them increasingly nervous.

One network correspondent said, “I’ve talked to colleagues who would love to see more of a defense.”

This person described the state of the staff as “deep concern, I’d say not panic - we all want it to be right.”

For his part, CBS anchorman Dan Rather has been sticking to his guns.

During last evening’s “CBS Evening News,” Rather said “60 Minutes” had done a “content analysis” of the memos and found, for example, that the date that Bush was suspended from flying - Aug. 1, 1972 - matched information in the documents.

Rather also pointed to the fact that USA Today had separately obtained another memo from 1972 in which Killian asked to be updated on Bush’s flight certification status.

Andrew Heyward, the CBS News president, has also chimed in, saying on Sunday that he was not concerned about the validity of the documents. “I’m firmly convinced that the memos are authentic and the stories are accurate.”

Having launched an investigation of its own, the Washington Post has been adding fuel to the flames with a shopping list of reported discrepancies including:

This address was used for many years by Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush. However, National Guard documents suggest that the younger Bush stopped using that address in 1970 when he moved into an apartment.

For example, in memos previously released by the Pentagon or the White House, Killian signed his rank “Lt Col” or “Lt Colonel, TexANG,” in a single line after his name without periods.

In the CBS memos, the “Lt Colonel” is on the next line, sometimes with a period but without the customary reference to TexANG, for Texas Air National Guard.

In the final analysis, all may boil down to the source of the disputed documents.

Thus far CBS has steadfastly insisted that it will guard its source. But Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, said the burden was on CBS to prove its report was accurate beyond standard lines like “We stand by our story.”

“I think they should be able to provide credible information about how these memos came into their possession,” Jones added. “And if they cannot provide the name of the source, then they need to make as much transparency as possible.”

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In an attempt to quell the charge that the CBS documents are forgeries produced with modern computer word-processing software, Glennon has gone on record saying that IBM electric typewriters in use in 1972 could indeed produce superscripts and proportional spacing similar...
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Tuesday, 14 September 2004 12:00 AM
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