Saturday, September 11, 2004

Everybody and their cousin has been having fun blowing gaping holes into CBS's credibility with regard to the fake memos that, incredibly, CBS still stands behind. I thought it might be interesting to take a different tack, and instead post the current status of CBS's attempted affirmative defense of the fakes.

1. Chain of custody.

CBS - We won't address this, you'll just have to trust us.

Yeah, right.

2. Authentication

CBS - We had several experts authenticate the memos in a variety of ways. However, the only one that we will identify is Marcel Matley. He assures us that they are genuine.

Unfortunately for CBS, Matley himself only says that he can "authenticate" ONE of the four memos. This is because his only expertise is in handwriting analysis, and only one memo bears a signature. Unfortunately for Matley, he is on record as saying that a photocopy cannot be used to authenticate a signature. A copy can only be used to make a determination "that the unseen original is false."

Why can they not identify the other experts that they claim to have consulted? Why do they have to rely on the - misreported - statements of "Phillip Broussard" (real name Dr. Bouffard) as (intentionally?) misquoted by the Boston Globe?

I have to say that I don't believe that CBS consulted anyone other than Matley, who by his own words was in no position to authenticate anything.

In addition, a handwriting analyst consulted by the Washington Times has stated that "my limited opinion [is] that Killian did not sign those documents". Remember, according to CBS's own expert, a copy can only be used to determine that a signature is a forgery.

CBS - We also consulted several people close to Killian who verified that these memos were in fact written by Killian. We won't say how many, but we will release the names of two of them: Major General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the time, and Robert Strong.

However, General Hodges has since made public statements not only repudiating what CBS says he said, but states that from what he has seen in the last couple of days he believes the memos to be forgeries. Let me emphasize this - one of CBS's "authenticators" instead believes them to be forgeries.

And all Strong seemed to have gone on record to say was that the fake memos seemed to reflect "the man that I remember Jerry Killian being." Not exactly a ringing endorsement of authenticity. To add insult to injury, the NYT is reporting that Strong now says, "I'm skeptical that Killian was working on that".

Also, although Rather hasn't mentioned it, other individuals that were contacted by CBS have come forward of their own accord. Unsurprisingly, they also contest the memos' accuracy - AND THEY SAID THE SAME TO CBS prior to the piece running.

Finally, yet another person familiar with Killian has come forward to also say that the memos did not appear authentic to him:

The personnel chief in Killian's unit at the time also said he believes the documents are fake.

"They looked to me like forgeries," Rufus Martin said. "I don't think Killian would do that, and I knew him for 17 years."

Why didn't CBS mention that they had uncovered people who had reservations about the memos' accuracy when the 60 Minutes piece ran? Why did they pretend that there was no question on that count? Hell, why do they STILL pretend that there is no real question?

CBS - We have also consulted an anti-Bush writer, Jim Moore, who assures us that these memos must be genuine.

Desperate much? Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel - this is amateur hour. For a snapshot into Moore's thought process, I especially liked his contention here:

...except for a lone Associated Press story that appeared in the back pages of the pro-GOP news section of the New York Times...

To quote Instapundit, "heh". I think that the "pro-GOP news section" of the NYT got eliminated in a cost-cutting measure before I was born.

To sum up, to date CBS hasn't offered a single item to support their contention of the document's validity that has been able to withstand even cursory inspection.