Tuesday, September 14, 2004


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.


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.

Oscar in Kansas 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??

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...

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.