Okay, finally we're getting somewhere here.
The thing about these charges that the CBS documents are forgeries is that if it's so clear that they were made on a word processing program then it shouldn't be difficult for an independent news organization to comes up with a list of experts who will say that they don't look legit.
And the Post
now has out an article
that, at least to some extent, does just that.
Here are the key passages ...
Experts consulted by a range of news organizations pointed typographical and formatting questions about four documents as they considered the possibility that they were forged.
The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor. An examination of the documents by The Post shows that they are formatted differently from other Texas Air National Guard documents whose authenticity is not questioned.
William Flynn, a forensic document specialist with 35 years of experience in police crime labs and private practice, said the CBS documents raise suspicions because of their use of proportional spacing techniques. Documents generated by the kind of typewriters that were widely used in 1972 space letters evenly across the page, so that an "i" uses as much space as an "m." In the CBS documents, by contrast, each letter uses a different amount of space.
While IBM had introduced an electric typewriter that used proportional spacing by the early 1970s, it was not widely used in government. In addition, Flynn said, the CBS documents appear to use proportional spacing both across and down the page, a relatively recent innovation. Other anomalies in the documents include the use of the superscripted letters "th" in phrases such as "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron," Bush's unit.
"It would be nearly impossible for all this technology to have existed at that time," said Flynn, who runs a document authentication company in Phoenix.
Other experts largely concurred. Phil Bouffard, a forensic document examiner from Cleveland, said the font used in the CBS documents appeared to be Times Roman, which is widely used by word-processing programs but was not common on typewriters.
They don't go as far as to say they're certain. <$Ad$>But the questions raised now no longer seem to be limited to amateurs or people doing experiments on their own copies of Microsoft Word.
CBS is sticking by their story, saying they ran them by their own experts and adding that one of their sources or points of confirmation for the genuineness of the documents is Killian's then-superior, retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, who is mentioned in one of the documents and was involved in the back-and-forths described in the documents. A CBS source tells the Post
that Hodges confirmed that the statements contained in the documents were concerns and thoughts that Killian expressed to him at the time.
, meanwhile, has a piece
up quoting Killian's son saying that he believes some of the documents are genuine but doesn't believe his father would have written the 'CYA' document.
The White House is keeping mum but also, needless to say, happy to encourage and/or observe the feeding frenzy of questions about the authenticity of the documents.
It is of course worth noting that the White House is the only player here with ready access to the president. If they had some confidence that the underlying claims contained in the documents were not valid, then presumably they would have more confidence in doubting the documents' authenticity.
But something in all this doesn't fit. For tonight, I'm going to associate myself with Kevin Drum's final thoughts
of the evening.