Thursday, September 9, 2004

Where's the real one?

Some are questioning the authenticity of the memo. Atrios attempts to shed some light on the capabilities of certain typewriters.

This reminds me of my own brush with juvenile delinquency. Senior year physics for dear Pete Keenan. Having secured early admission to my school of choice, I wasn’t, shall we say, a diligent student, particularly in physics.

It wasn’t a big surprise, then, to receive a “warning slip”, sent home to parents to advise of poor grades before the report card came out. Distressed (it was my first in four years of high school), my guidance counselor (also a friend of my parents, interestingly enough), said (and I quote): “Frame it. And if they can’t take a joke, fuck ‘em.”

(I always loved him for that.)

In any event, I stashed it in my locker, in an attempt to ignore it away. My plan worked. Until the warning slip showed up in front of my parents’ bedroom door. My Mom stormed downstairs. “WHAT IS THIS?!” Dumbfounded, I had no idea what to say.

Laughter from the family room. My brother had played a joke on me. My Dad thought it was pretty funny. Mom, however, recognized that my reaction betrayed my attempts at making the real one disappear.

“Where’s the real one?”

Whether the memo CBS has is the real one (I happen to think it is) (Update: see Little Green Footballs for a persuasive debunking of the memo’s authenticity) isn’t really the point. The White House, in its reaction, has confirmed its existence and, for that matter, its contents.

Bush betrayed a direct order. And the story is about to get bigger.


  1. I'm withholding judgment on the authenticity until CBS reveals more about the source. Although I'm not a typographical expert (the way some people make money this country is amazing!), it sure looks to me like a document produced on modern software. The theories about technology being theoretically available to produce this sort of type in the early 1970s don't seem likely.

    What is possible (pure speculation) is that original documents existed and were illegible or in poor condition, and someone tried re-creating them. For example (pure speculation ahead), the documents may be transcriptions of handwritten notes -- the transcription occuring years after the original notes were written. (Still makes it curious about the signatures, though.) The authenticity of the subject matter of the documents has apparently been confirmed by one named source to CBS. If CBS were more forthright about the origins of the documents, we'd know.

    Rick, though, is correct in interpreting the guilty behavior of the White House. If the events did not occur, I would imagine the White House would not have sheepishly distributed the memos.

    This is the stuff of grand conspiracy theories. My favorite so far: Karl Rove produced the documents to set the Democrats up for the forgery charge.

  2. Killian's wife says the memos don't make sense.

    Killian's son says the memos don't make sense.

    At least two well respected forensic document analysts, one Republican and one Democrat, have very serious doubts about the documents' authenticity.

    One of the documents is dated AFTER Killian had already reviewed Bush favorably and AFTER Bush had already left Texas.

    If the documents are forgeries, then they don't actually "raise" any questions about Bush's service. To the contrary, they "raise" questions about CBS News, its sources and its so-called expert witnesses.

    This controversy will not hurt Bush, and it may well doom Kerry.

  3. And let us not forget the Kerry campaign wanted us to immediately discredit anything the Swifties said simply because they received money from a donor to the RNC.... what is their response to the fact that Ben Barnes is a Vice Chair of the Kerry Campaign?

    To say nothing of the fact his own daughter says he's lying for political purposes?

  4. The Bush campaign claims they were just passing along information. How could Bush have seen copies of documents that were in some dead guy's (allegedly) personal files? Files that his family claims he would have never had; a signature they claim is fake; about a guy (Bush) that he raved about. Don't even get me started on how CBS passed off Ben Barnes as a credible witness...

    What makes them clearly bogus to me is the "CYA" memo. People may write "CYA" memos. People don't legend them as such.

    These better be accurate; reports indicate CBS obtained the "documents" from the DNC. CBS didn't talk to the family until a day before the report.

    I understand that you are a partisan, but I assume you would be interested in whether these documents are in fact genuine. Your last comment appears to treat that issue as irrelevant...

  5. A better job than I could do:

  6. Ben Hodges now has come out and said the documents are faked and in fact he was never asked by CBS is authenticate the documents and never shown the documents only read off excerpts over the phone.

    Furthermore... Ben Barnes has repeatedly said that there was no request from the Bush family for duty in Texas Air Guard. NO REQUEST!!

    The fact that he is saying NOW that there is a request made only after John Kerry's mess ups in response to the Swift Boat Vets is very, highly, questionable due to his own daughter finding it a lie.

    Ben Barnes has flip flopped his story from 1999 as according to Rick Klaw's own linkage.

    Furthermore.. No where has President Bush or his press secretary confirmed any of the contents of these memos. They have only confirmed the existence of them.

    Nor is it known where CBS's source of these documents came from. Those who think President Bush or the Republicans sent them around are not making much sense here.