My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


The Reader's Digest Version

Wed Sep 8--CBS News' "60 Minutes, 2" news magazine airs a report anchored by Dan Rather which reported several new things regarding Pres. Bush's service in the Air National Guard. Among them:
:the discovery of four new documents from the "personal" files of Col. Jerry Killian; of these, one is an order to report for a physical, one refers to a phone call between Lt. Bush and Killian regarding how Lt. Bush can "get out" of drilling for a period of time, one is a memo detailing Lt. Bush's suspension from flight status, and the other is titled "CYA" and refers to the Col. Killian was receiving from higher-ups, including one referred to as simply "Staudt", to "clean up" Lt. Bush's record.
:an interview with once Lt. Gov. of Texas Ben Barnes, in which Barnes states "a friend of the Bush family, came to see me and asked me if I would recommend George W. Bush for the Air National Guard. And I did."

Thurs Sep 9--Powerline, Captain's Quarters, Little Green Footballs and others begin to note, with a great deal of help from their readers, that the memos cited by CBS have certain characteristics unlikely to be found in a circa 1972 military document. Among them are the use of superscript "th", as in 111th, the use of proportional text spacing, and the "kerning" of text, and the leaning of apostrophes. Also on Sep 9 a reader to Powerline points out that the "Staudt" referred to is one Gen. Staudt, who retired from the Texas Air National Guard more than a year before the memo in question was written. By the end of this day, a number of officers and forensics experts have weighed in that the documents appear "inauthentic." CBS quiet.

Fri Sep 10--by this date, ABC news has found the widow and son of Jerry Killian, both of whom say it was unlikely that Killian authored these documents. In addition, Ben Barnes' testimony has been called into question, particularly on the point that he did not take over as Lt. Gov until early 1969, while George Bush entered the TANG in 1968. CBS stands by report, saying that the documents were authenticated and that they were not the sole basis for the report, but the "preponderance of evidence" points to the accuracy of the story. CBS even names their document expert, who turns out to be a handwriting analyst.

Sat Sep 11--Maj Gen Bobby Hodges, one of the sources cited by CBS, comes out and says he thinks the memos are fakes; in addition, the "expert" cited by CBS comes out and says he only viewed and attempted to authenticate one document based on the signature. CBS acknowledges that it does not have the originals of the documents, and refuses to turn over what they have to independent groups for analysis. CBS still stands by story. Additional difficulties are found in the details of the documents, including the size of the paper and certain addresses. The Boston Globe runs a story that claims a Dr. Phillip Bouffard authenticated the documents; he fires off an angry retort to stop mischaracterizing what he actually said (that he would "look into it"), and CBS uses the Globe's misreport to back up its claim.

Sun Sep 12--CBS is stonewalling on its source and the originals of the documents; their counter-argument resort to characterizing bloggers as whack jobs. Many MSM outlets following CBS meltdown and reporting that their own experts tend to discredit the documents.

Mon Sep 13--CBS stands by its report on the grounds that the dates of the memos are consistent with Lt. Bush's service (what. . .no soap?) and that certain persons have come forward to say that the character of the documents is consistent with reality, even if the docs aren't.

Tues Sep 14--CBS stands by its report. Meanwhile, two separate document experts come forward to say that they informed CBS prior to the airing of the report that the documents had severe credibility problems, but were ignored by CBS. In addition, the former secretary of Col Killian states publicly that Killian would not have typed these for himself, and that she never typed these--"These are not real."

There. That's it in a nutshell. Docs are forged, Barnes is a discredited political hack, and CBS refuses to listen to its friends who are telling it "you're drunk."

UPDATE: regarding Ben Barnes:

It has been pointed out that Barnes, in the CBS interview, implied that he took action for a young George W Bush while Speaker of the Texas House. However, I remember seeing some video about a week ago when this whole bruhaha started of Barnes telling the story, only in this telling he was Lt. Gov. I think the video I saw is of some sort of campaign event, though I can't be sure. So, at the very least, Ben Barnes has been caught embellishing a story, one that he could also tell (it sounds like) of maybe dozens of other young connected people in the late 60's in Texas. It just so happens that this particular one made it big.

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