Typewriters and “Fake” Documents, Oh My — Game Over

There doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room anymore — the CBS documents are clearly out-and-out frauds. Washington Post has a story noting that there are a number of features to the documents that just weren’t possible with 1970s typewriters,

William Flynn, a forensic document specialist with 35 years of experience in police crime labs and private practice, said the CBS documents raise suspicions because of their use of proportional spacing techniques. Documents generated by the kind of typewriters that were widely used in 1972 space letters evenly across the page, so that an “i” uses as much space as an “m.” In the CBS documents, by contrast, each letter uses a different amount of space.

While IBM had introduced an electric typewriter that used proportional spacing by the early 1970s, it was not widely used in government. In addition, Flynn said, the CBS documents appear to use proportional spacing both across and down the page, a relatively recent innovation. Other anomalies in the documents include the use of the superscripted letters “th” in phrases such as 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Bush’s unit.

“It would be nearly impossible for all this technology to have existed at that time,” said Flynn, who runs a document-authentication company in Phoenix.

Killian’s widow — who is very upset about the way her husband’s memory was used here — puts the final nail in the coffin. The most damaging memo was not an official document, but rather was supposedly written up for Killian’s own files. The only problem was that, according to Killian’s widow, he did not type. People tend to forget that in the pre-computing days people in authority such as managers or Lt. Colonels tended to dictate or write in long-hand and had other people type for them.

According to the Drudge Report, CBS News has already started an internal investigation into the matter.

ABC speculates on the effect it may have on the presidential campaign if the documents are proven fake,

The White House is declining to comment on the veracity of the documents. Many Democrats are worried that if they are found to be forgeries, it will be a setback for Sen. John Kerry’s campaign to defeat Bush in November.

What happened here is CBS thought it was going to stick it to Bush good on the Vietnam issue. Instead it has just handed him an enormous gift. Rather than having to answer questions about his National Guard service, Bush is going to be able to reframe the issue as one of a liberal press so out to get him that it will even run obviously forged documents to impugn him.

Already the left wing conspiracy theories have started that Karl Rove planted the documents to make CBS look like idiots. Right, and he probably delivered them in Black Helicopters.

One thing that CBS does need to do once they admit that the documents are fake is to come clean about how they received them. Clearly it looks like someone likely forged documents in order to use CBS to influence the election. CBS’ viewers and the rest of us deserve to know who was behind this.

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