Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Whodunit?

Now that the CBS News documents have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be forgeries, it's time to start wondering where the forgeries came from. This is not an academic exercise--the origin of the forgeries will probably determine whether or not CBS comes clean.

The universe of people who could have created the forgeries is relatively small. Creating them required an intense command of the details of Bush's National Guard service and a familiarity with the known literature and documentation. It required time and patience. Who would have the necessary tools, information, and inclination? Three groups immediately come to mind:

(1) The Democratic National Committee and/or Kerry campaign. The DNC and Kerry campaign have opposition research offices which could have fabricated the documents fairly easily. The Washington Prowler reports that an unnamed CBS producer thinks they might have gotten the documents from the Kerry campaign, but this is hardly definitive. In truth, if would be terribly dangerous for any official Democrat to get involved in forgery. It is difficult to believe that any professional political hand would take such a risk.

(2) An unofficial Democratic hack. The world is full of one-time political operatives--people like Sidney Blumenthal--who aren't bound by official duties, have equal access to documents, and have good access to high-level media Pooh-Bahs. (Note to Lawyers: I'm not suggesting Blumenthal is behind this! I'm just using him to illustrate a class of people.) These people are also, on the whole, more politically rabid than the folks who work directly for the party. Don't forget, it was Susan Estrich was exclaimed, "You have to fight fire with fire, mud with mud, dirt with dirt." That was on September 1, while the CBS story was well in the works (the Post reported this morning that CBS has had the documents "for more than a month").

(3) Someone connected with the Texas Air National Guard. Presumably down in Texas there is a finite number of anti-Bush people who have ties to the Texas Air National Guard---people like Robert W. Strong. (Note to Lawyers: I'm not suggesting Strong is behind this! I'm just using him to illustrate a class of people.) Power Line has an interesting post on Strong, who's role in the CBS story seems unclear, except that he's the last man standing on the question of the documents' veracity. Says CBS: "Robert Strong was an administrative officer for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam years. He knew Jerry Killian, the man credited with writing the documents. And paper work, like these documents, was Strong's specialty. He is standing by his judgment that the documents are real."

If someone like Strong is behind the forgery, there's a good chance CBS will come clean eventually. CBS has been placed in the position not simply of having been duped, but of continuing to facilitate the fraud. That seems untenable.

Unless, of course, the truth is worse. As things stand, CBS can avoid revealing the source of the documents because they maintain an obligation to confidentiality. But that obligation collapses once you admit the documents are forged. If CBS admits the truth, then they have to reveal the source.

People around the web are expecting Rather to fall any minute. That depends on who would go down with him.

26 comments:

Dan Patterson said...

Rather about to fall?

Is Paris Burning?

This is the same Rather who, on a post-September 11th appearance with David Letterman, completely faked crying as he recited the obscure 2nd stanza of The National Anthem. David Letterman fell over himself to give comfort as Rather apologized for his spillover: "You're a HUMAN BEING goddammit", as the audience held it's breath in awe of the HUMAN emotion on display.
Human emotion, bah! Bad acting is more like it. The grim-faced stand by Rather owes more to a poor perfomance by Henry Fonda in either Twelve Angry Men, or The Grapes of Wrath than to any defense of Constituitional rights. What First Amendment written by whom allows spewing of propoganda?
We are witness to the death of an era, both the business of broadcast news and in a foolish and naive belief that the broadcasters had our best interests at heart.
The King is dead! Long live the King!

Dan Patterson
Winston-Salem, NC

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Strong's duties were, but it seems unlikely that someone in the military, especially the USAF or TxANG wrote these memos. Too many things internal to the memos that scream FORGERY if theyre looked at by military.

Signature block. Typical authentic military signature block has name, then rank, then on the next line the person's position (TexANG Commander). The CBS Memos just have rank beneath the name.

CBS Memos have dates inconsistent with military style. Months should have three letters (Sep or SEP). If the day of the month is from 1 to 9, it is typed 1, not 01. Proper format is NO COMMAS and month NEVER typed out in full.

Orders are not given by a Memo.

CBS Memos on 4 May and 1 August have no distribution list as needed for orders.

The rank abbreviations are applied inconsistently and incorrectly.

Acronym should be OER, not OETR. EVERY Officer knows what an OER is. They are possibly the most important document an Officer receives.

No Officer would put his complicity in a such a scheme on paper.

Anonymous said...

Dan Rather has already identified the source of the forged memos. If you recall, Dan said his source "was unimpeachable". Which former President was unimpeachable?

It's not just true - it's Dan Rather True!

Anonymous said...

You say: "The universe of people who could have created the forgeries is relatively small."

I say: It's even smaller than you say. All reasonably normal people with good reality testing can be ruled out. Look for someone who functions, but is something of a nut, someone who is capable, on the one hand, of rehearsing the entire Bush/National Guard-"scandal" repetoir, and on the other of not noticing that 1972-dated memos typed in MS Word, using the default typeface and settings, would be quickly exposed.

Anonymous said...

It's no coincidence that Carville and Begala, Clinton operatives, recently joined the Kerry team- traced back to that campaign- the way is paved for Hillary in '08. Truth NEVER mattered to the Clintonistas!

Anonymous said...

First, think like a criminal. How about a bank robber?

One reason a person chooses to rob a bank (no, not the money, silly) is that they think that the have nothing to lose. For whatever reason, things are so bleak (or the robber is such a loser) that getting caught can be no worse than the current situation. In movie terms, maybe something like "Dog Day Afternoon."

The other reason would be that the "score" is big enough to justify the risk. Again, in movie terms this would be the "Heat" scenario. Because of the size of the "score" rational thought is lost and greed takes over.

I think that pretty much lines up with the above suggestions. The "loser" would be the disgruntled TxANG forger, and the "big score" specialist would be the party-hack, professional partisan.

[In the above listed movies, Al Pacino is the cop and shoots the robber in one movie, and in the other he is the robber who gets shot by the cop. I can't help it that Al has been typecast.]

Anonymous said...

I agree with the earlier ex-officer.

1. This was in my mind certainly not Strong.. He would clearly not have screwed up the formats, and usage.. He WAS the Admin type in the unit.

2. I think it was somebody young enough to never have used a typewriter. again, Strong is old enough to know better.

Thomas the Wraith said...

I vote for number 2 - the Stupid Criminal Theory. Look for a low level Dem hack in his 20s. Someone passionately anti-Bush (that narrows it down). Someone familiar with the details of the NG scandal and frustrated by the lack of evidence documenting what he already "knows" to be true. Someone without any experience with typewriters or the military. He reads anti-Bush websites to get his info (hense the use of the wrong acronyms).

He's experienced or connected enough to get the forgeries to the MSM but not enough to really be involved in the campaign or the party (or at best on the margins). He feels excluded and powerless, overlooked and unappreciated, as if the Kerry campaign would be winning if only they listened to him. I bet he mentioned this idea to other, perhaps more responsible, individuals who dismissed it. Some Dem right now has a strong suspicion who the forger is. Once the weakest link snaps, people will be tripping over themselves to tell the story.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about Rather, but I don't think he faked crying about 9/11 on Letterman. That's a cheap shot.

Anonymous said...

I believe it could have been someone like Bill Burkett (I'm not saying it was him, just someone like him). Burkett is a former TANG man with a grudge from a failed lawsuit and knowledge of the facts, but has been seriously ill both physically and possibly mentally recently which could account for the inconsistencies.

Also, as for it being someone young who did not know about typewriters, I have seen that remark often, but I don't agree. I think it was more likely someone who was older and did not know much about computers. The person obviously had some inclination the superscripts were wrong because in some docs they left spaces to defeat it, but did not know the other simple ways to defeat the auto feature. They also didn't change the fonts or margins or anything that any computer savvy person would know to do to make it look like it wasn't computer generated. May well have been someone who knew very little about both typewriters and computers. Someone older who doesn't use computers much, but also never used typewriters much either.

Anonymous said...

Here's my problem with #2: to actually get anyone at CBS to beleive you you had to be connected (even Dan says the source is "unimpeachible"). And why would Rather take the fall for a low ranking dem-nut with a word processer? I read somewhere else that the stroy really depended on these document: all else on Bush NG was purely speculation and the story had no legs without some kind of proof. But I think our villian has to be both conneced, and someone who Rather would fall on his sword for. Didn't someone post that his daughter worked as a Dem??

Annie Bean said...

I think it is interesting that no one has suggested Michael Moore. He is the first person that came to my mind. Sure, he may be too smart to make such a blatant forgery, but maybe it's authenticity wasn't the objective.

Look at Fahrenheit 9/11! Here was a movie full of propaganda if I ever saw one. He took facts and twisted them around to make them into what he wanted. Sure, a lot of the stuff in his movie can and has been discounted. But at least he got it out there.

Maybe he is doing it again. It doesn't matter if it lasts, some damage has all ready been done. There will be hold-outs who say the documents were real and the falsity of them was a cover-up.

I just think Mr. Moore is so blatantly against Bush that this would be right up his alley!

Anonymous said...

Just a guess:

If they are going to at all, look for CBS to come clean during the hurricane Ivan coverage. No better way to bury a story than to report on it during a natural disaster. Now if only Ivan would hit late Friday afternoon instead of Wednesday night...

tom said...

I'm more worried about that side's next trick. Will anyone familiar w/ McAulliff(sp?), Moore, Estrich, etc. be surprised if some gay guy says he had sex w/ Bush? I would not put ANYTHING past these people.

jaybird said...

I want to suggest a class of persons who may be the responsible party or parties in creating and disseminating the bogus Dan Rather memos. It occurred to me whilst I ruminated over some nagging questions about the whole event. Can we first agree that someone with enough, let's say, "gravitas" to have Dan Rather's ear and to also get documents into his hands, would also intuitively have the life experience and intelligence to know that in creating fake typed documents purporting to be from 1973, it would be necessary to actually use an old IBM Selectric from that era to create those documents, and that the mere idea of using a modern day computer with a modern day word processing program to do it would trigger all manner of red flags? Think about it. Let's say, hypothetically, that as a mere gag you wanted to perfectly fool someone that way, i.e., with a faked old typewritten letter, wouldn't that necessity occur to you? It would to me. And if someone seriously wanted to fool Dan Rather, and to fool all of the CBS News staffers, and ultimately to fool the whole world, so as to bring down a President, it certainly ought to occur to them. Seems to me. But inexplicably it didn't to them. And that, to me, is troubling. And so I wonder, who is this someone playing this key role in this caper who lacks this sophistication?

And let me say that I am mindful that we live in an era of lowering and lessening expectations. Thus, we could simply be dealing with rank ineptitude. But I am going to assume for the moment that people operating on the level that we are discussing are not that inept.

And let me also say that I know that there is the possibility of a "set up." The idea being here that the culprit actually wanted the fakery to be discovered. And I know that Terry McAuliffe and others have advanced the mind-boggling and breath-taking proposition that Karl Rove did it to burn them. I enjoy their fear and regard of Rove, but I must add that, just as easily, McAuliffe or some other operator from the Clinton administration could be behind it. But for the moment let's disregard the possibilities of a set up.

Then, at about this point in my ruminations, I realized the possibility that the party who actually created the memos may in fact be too young to remember IBM Selectrics, and too young to remember the way that documents typewritten on them were prepared, and too young to remember what the finished IBM Selectric product looked like. And the way they looked was quite different from today's computer-aided production typing product. I am suggesting a person whose life experiences were not sufficient to set off any little red flags in this regard. So the question then becomes, how does such a person of that age, say, under the age of 35 tops, also have the ear of Dan Rather as a first-hand source on this story? It is a curious conundrum.

And, of course, we still don't know how the documents fooled Rather and his staff at CBS.

Jay Bird
Treetop in Oregon
http://jaybirdsnest.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I've held from the start that, as speculated above, "It's no coincidence that...Clinton operatives, recently joined the Kerry team." They're doing what the boss told them to do, and they're not particular about collateral damage. It's just tough luck for Kerry he had to threaten her prospects, and for that Dan he trusted her operative.

M@ said...

http://manifestcontent.blogspot.com/2004/09/my-wild-guess.html

That's the link to my post where I made my guess as to the root very early friday the 10th. First I want to say that my guess is only who originally forged it. I believe there is a chain of possession which laundered the forger's work.

That said, my original guess of Scott Camil being the forger should be expanded to possibly include multiple members of VVAW. My post did not lay out my reasoning because the more immediate question of who the "solid" source is seemed to be more timely. And that could be anyone. And another disclaimer since I am wildly speculating I should make is that *I AM WILDLY SPECULATING*. I am probably wrong. But follow me as I lay out my Scott Camil Theory here.

First, Scott Camil is the VVAW kook-that-thought-he-was-a-spook from the now infamous Kansas City meeting. He was the guy the FBI files point to as the mastermind of the plan to assassinate 6 senators. The fbi file is my first dot, as it pointed me to the fact that Scott Camil claimed to have "a training ground" where the plan could be detailed and practiced-in florida. He is most definitely the kind of bumbling boob crackpot who would do something like this. A clever covert op that is so crazy it just might work! If done right...

Second, Scott Camil is easily googled and it turns out that he has definite ties to Gainesville.

Third, anyone remember that cheap flyer that surfaced for a bit on Hannity and Colmes and Crossfire a few weeks back? The one that purported to be a BC04 sponsored SBVT meeting? A flimsy fake. A poor forgery. Where'd it surface? Gainesville. The only place I've really been able to find anything about it is at Freep, and the poster there accused Del Sandusky of being behind it since he was in town at the time, but I would be interested in finding out if I'm not the only one who places Camil as suspect #1 for this.

Fourth, Camil is also a member of Veterans for Kerry, and was at one point considered for a job in the campaign proper if memory serves.

Fifth, John Hurley, another VVAW member is founder of Veterans for Kerry and has been a full time volunteer for the Kerry campaign. I am not implicating him necessarily, just establishing a link of info between Camil and the Kerry camp whereby Camil could conceivably get "intel", but I couldn't say if he would be complicit in such a hypothetical case or not. Or even if he would be needed. not really sure if i should mention him other than to say VVAW people are quite involved in the Kerry campaign.

The rest of my points are for the "preponderance of evidence" value

Wizbang has pointed to Marty Heldt, a guy who has spent way too much time collecting documents and info on the Bush Guard story. Others have noted that it is possible that the forger made a few of his errors by searching the net and finding bad info. Is it possible the forger came across Heldt's name as well and brokered the info through him as the first generation? maybe. couldn't really say. maybe he's the forger, but he would have probably been better able to match the fonts and format I would think. He may not be involved at all.

The forger may have a military background, but not likely AF or Nat'l Guard. The idea put forth in earlier comments that it is an older person makes some sense (maybe learned to type in the 60s and uses a lower case l for a 1 is another possible clue) but it would be an older someone who would see the 'net and technology as a perfect means for disinformation and forgery. So this person would have some grasp of the 'net and tech but maybe not a real intimate knowledge with it.

This website is not Scott Camil's but it is just the sort of place Camil might pick up such dangerous ideas. They are in the midst of compiling a multimedia Camil shrine and they have had contact which they write about elsewhere on the site. http://www.newsparkproductions.org/scottcamilprojecthome.html

Check out the "by scott camil" stuff, and you can see he is quite the activist with some strongly held beliefs, to say the least.

Then go read the fbi file about the KC "pheonix project" that Camil suggested.

I am again saying only that this is my wild guess, and these are the dots that I connected. Nothing here is concrete. The fake Florida flyer is not definitively connected to Mr. Camil. The CBS forgeries are certainly not at all, at this point.

But I'm sayin this guy fits the profile. Feel free to email me or comment on my site if you have anything to add, but please don't assume I believe Camil to be the forger. I just think if anyone is looking around for suspects, maybe this guy shouldn't be ruled out. Perhaps there are things I don't know or missed that make the case much stronger or weaker. Perhaps this is all too convoluted to be probable. I don't know, I'm just sayin.

Cheers,

M@ said...

whoops, my email is pick74@msn.com if you want to tell me why I'm wrong or add something to my pet theory. If it needs to be said again, I am *NOT* saying Camil did it.

cheers,
M@

Adjoran said...

The problem with the theories on people like Strong, Burkett, or Camil is that they hardly would be a source which Rather would describe as "unimpeachable."

The fact that Rather is willing to trash his own reputation, risk his career and the very credibility of CBS News over this tells me the source is someone he considers very important. He knows that if he EVER concedes the documents are fakes, he must reveal the source. He would have an ethical duty to do so, and no ethical reason to refuse.

That's why he relies on a former typewriter repairman {described on air as an "information technology consultant," which is not true, and on the website as a "document expert," which Glennon himself denies} and the now-recanting Matley, who never even took a forensic document examination class, and dismissed the opinions of the two legitimate certified experts he had retained {who wouldn't play ball}. He MUST defend the story, because he CANNOT reveal the source.

Who is so important to cause Rather to fall on his sword? It could be a high-ranking person in the Kerry campaign or at the DNC, but even Rather might balk at describing a Democratic source for Bush-smearing docs as "unimpeachable."

Personally, I suspect that he either forged them himself, or it was done with his knowledge and/or at his behest.

In such a circumstance, he is doomed no matter what he does, so he may as well fight until the last dog dies to defend the story.

M@ said...

Well, I agree with the idea that whoever gave them to Rather was at one point considered "unimpeachable" by their standards.

But as I said, I don't necessarily believe that that person was the forger; there could conceivably have been a chain of custody that laundered the original source. I think it is not very likely that anyone at CBS forged them, as USA Today also recieved the forgeries from an independent source, so they have said.

Randy Mott said...

Source of Forged TANG documents

1. Access to CBS is irrelevant. CBS' producers were out scouting for anyone who had information. I don't think that this is a high-level job;
2. I would rule out any officer, who would have had rudimentary knowledge of the format or orders and memoranda. That does not leave out a TANG enlisted person or a civilian;
3. It is someone not very sophisticated in IT or in life: the mistakes are too replete, like using General Staub after he retired.

My Take: It will likely be an old Texas enemy (that looked superficially credible to an outsider) who was possibly aided and abetted by a youthful Democratic activist.

Anonymous said...

There is another class of possible person:

Who stands to suffer most from exposure of this fraud?

George Bush? No. He's already disavowed the quality of his contributions during the Vietnam era compared to Kerry's, and apologized for youthful indiscretions before being elected in 2000.

John Kerry? No. He can believable claim no involvement in this scandal. Plausible deniability.

Dan Rather? Yes. He stands to LOSE BIG from this.

The class not mentioned is: SOMEONE IN THE NEWS MEDIA, LIKELY CBS BUT POSSIBLY ANOTHER NETWORK, WITH A PERSONAL VENDETTA AGAINST DAN RATHER. What a way to seek revenge.

Dan Rather has probably damaged a lot of other people's journalistic careers. Megalomaniacs usually do. Someone who he pissed off, or caused to be passed over for a promotion, or caused to be dismissed, now working at another network and seeking revenge, would be my first guess.

Savymedia said...

Now it is only "circumstantial" but look at the Bush National Guard charges and where
they originated.

These charges first emerged during the Mama Ann Richards vs. George Bush Gubernatorial campaign in Texas several years. Paul Begalla has been active in Democratic circles and is from Texas I believe. Terry McAuliffe set the stage for
the Bush National Guard charges on a national stage by saying "Bush was AWOL".
Who joins the Kerry Campaign as an "unpaid adviser". It is Mr. Paul Begalla.

Now again , this is only a theory, but when you look at the history of Clinton operatives,
Begalla's ties to Texas politics, his hate for George Bush, it should surprise no one that
it is very possible the "forged memos" were in his bag of dirty tricks when he joined the Kerry Campaign. Oh, and Begalla is still at CNN. To me this is where Dan & CBS got there documents to fulfill their journalistic dream - to take down another sitting President.
And perhaps we should also look at CNN for letting "unpaid advisers" to sit on their airwaves as employees too.)

Let me know what you think!

John Fox
Carrollton, TX

Anonymous said...

CBS is expected to make a statement on this at noon (eastern I assume). Now since that is pre-hurricane, I don't expect big news since it cannot be buried this early in the day.

Annie Bean said...

Hmmmm....30 minutes past they time CBS was going to announce. Are they stalling or have cold feet? Maybe it is all just a ruse. Guess we will just have to wait and find out.

Anonymous said...

I think the situation began with a conversation with Killians secretary and documents were manufactured to support her claims. She told the interviewer that pressure was applied. That Killian kept personal documents in a locked drawer and they could ne anywhere. Suddenly documents appear. I closer investigation will prove that her interview preceeded any documents.