September 10, 2004

A compendium of the Evidence
Posted by Dale Franks

The blogosphere has been all over the CBS documents, but all the information is parceled out in penny packets all over the place. At the request of a reader, I thought I'd try to consolidate them into a single post. This is not canonical, of course, just the stuff I know about.

Typographical Arguments

  1. The use of superscripted "th" in unit names, e.g. 187th. This was a highly unusual feature, available only on extremely expensive typewriters at the time.
  2. The use of proportional fonts was, similarly, restricted to a small number of high-end typewriters.
  3. The text of the memos appear to use letter kerning, a physical impossibility for any typewriter at the time. UPDATE: After manually recreating the 18 Aug 73 memo in both kerned and unkerned forms, I have concluded that the memo was not kerned. The font itself has a few internal kernings, which led to a mistaken impression that the document itself had been kerned. Since I cannot say definitively whether a typewriter version of Times New Roman, if available, had the same internal kernings as the computer version of the font, this argument has to withdrawn. It is important to note that it is still questionable whether a typewriter version of Times New Roman was even available, which would make the Kerning argument academic.
  4. Apostrophes in the documents use curled serifs. Typewriters used straight hash marks for both quotation marks and apostrophes.
  5. The font appears indistinguishable from the Times New Roman computer font. While the Times Roman and Times fonts were rare, but available, in some typewriters at the time, the letters in Times Roman and Times took up more horizontal space than Times New Roman does. Times New Roman is exclusively a computer font.
  6. Reproductions of the memos in Microsoft Word using 12pt TNR and the default Word page setup are indistinguishable from the memos when superimposed.
  7. The typed squadron letterhead is centered on the page, an extremely difficult operation to perform manually.
  8. Several highly reputable forensic document specialists have publicly stated their opinions that the documents were most likely computer generated, and hence, are forgeries.
  9. The numeral 4 has no "foot" serif and a closed top. This is indicative of the Times New Roman Font, used exclusively by computers. The font itself has existed for years, but apparently was used only by typesetters prior to the advent of the computer. UPDATE: Forensic document expert Philip Bouchard has now modified this criticism: "The (new Selectric) typefaces sent to me invalidated the theory about the foot on the four (originally reported to INDC), but after looking at this more, there are still many more things that say this is bogus... there are so many things that are not right; 's crossings,' 'downstrokes' ..."

Stylistic Arguments

  1. The memos do not use the proper USAF letterhead, in required use since 1948. Instead they are typed. In general, typed letterhead is restricted to computer-generated orders, which were usually printed by teletype, chain printer or daisy-wheel printer, the latter looking like a typed letter. Manually typed correspondence is supposed to use official USAF letterhead. However, even special orders, which used a typed letterhead, were required to use ALL CAPS in the letterhead.
  2. The typed Letterhead gives the address as "Houston, Texas". The standard formulation for addresses at USAF installations should require the address to read "Ellington AFB, Texas".
  3. Killian's signature block should read:


    This is the required USAF formulation for a signature block.

  4. Lt Col Killian's signature should be aligned to the left side of the page. Indented signature blocks are not a USAF standard.
  5. The rank abbreviations are applied inconsistently and incorrectly, for example the use of periods in USAF rank abbreviations is incorrect. The modern formulation for rank abbreviations for the lieutenant grades in the USAF is 2Lt and 1Lt. In 1973, it may well have been 2nd Lt and 1st Lt, but that certainly wasn't correct in 1984, when I entered active duty, so I find the rank abbreviation questionable, and, in any event, they would not have included periods. Lt Col Killian's abbreviations are pretty much universally incorrect in the memos.
  6. The unit name abbreviations use periods. This is incorrect. USAF unit abbreviations use only capital letters with no periods. For example, 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron would be abbreviated as 111th FIS, not 111th F.I.S.
  7. The Formulation used in the memos, i.e., "MEMORANDOM FOR 1st Lt. Bush..." is incorrect. A memo would be written on plain (non-letterhead) paper, with the top line reading "MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD".
  8. An order from a superior, directing a junior to perform a specific task would not be in the memorandum format as presented. Instead, it would use the USAF standard internal memo format, as follows:

    FROM: Lt Col Killian, Richard B.

    SUBJECT: Annual Physical Examination (Flight)

    TO: 1Lt Bush, George W.

    Documents that are titled as MEMORANDUM are used only for file purposes, and not for communications.

  9. The memos use the formulation " accordance with (IAW)..." The abbreviation IAW is a universal abbreviation in the USAF, hence it is not spelled out, rather it is used for no other reason than to eliminate the word "in accordance with" from official communications. There are several such universal abbreviation, such as NLT for "no later than".
  10. The title of one of the memos is CYA, a popular euphemism for covering one's...ahem...posterior. It is doubtful that any serving officer would use such a colloquialism in any document that might come under official scrutiny.

Personal Arguments

  1. The records purport to be from Lt Col Killian's "personal files", yet, they were not obtained from his family, but through some unknown 3rd party. It is an odd kind of "personal file" when the family of a deceased person is unaware of the file's existence and it is not in their possession.
  2. Both Lt Col Killian's wife and son, as well as the EAFB personnel officer do not find the memos credible.
  3. Keeping such derogatory personal memos , while at the same time, writing glowing OERs for Mr. Bush would be unwise for any officer. At best, it would raise serious questions about why his private judgments differed so radically from his official ones, should they ever come to light. At worst, they would raise questions about whether Lt Col Killian falsified official documents. As Lt Col Killian's son, himself a retired USAF officer, has said, nothing good can come of keeping such files.
  4. Both Lt Col Killian's wife and son relate that Killian wasn't a typist. If he needed anotes, he would write them down longhand, but in general, he wasn't paper-oriented, and certainly wasn't a typist.
  5. Killian's 18 Aug 73 memo, alleging that Col Staudt was putting pressure on to "sugar coat" Mr. Bush's OETR is odd, because Col. Staudt apparently retired in 1972. One wonder what pressure he was able to bring to bear as a retiree.

The reasons above constitute a very reasonable basis for serious questions about the legitimacy of the memos distributed by CBS. In light oif them, it seems to me that CBS has a positive duty to disclose as much information about the provenance and authenticity of the memos as possible. So far, their response has been, "We think they're true, so do not question us!" That is an understandable reaction, and, indeed, it's much the same as that of the German magazine Stern, when it claimed to have found Adolph Hitler's diaries in the 1980s.

It is not a helpful response, however, and it indicates that CBS is, at this point, far more interested in performing CYA operations than it is in getting to the bottom of these questions.



In addition to the above, let me add the following:

The address under the blackout does not exist (at least not today) in that zip code.

For more, see this post

Posted by: stevesturm at September 10, 2004 03:46 PM


Posted by: capt joe at September 10, 2004 03:49 PM

I raised the CYA issue last night and even tried to research the topic for over an hour with various search engines.

Who else raised the question, and when...?

Not that it's really important, I would just like bragging rights, if I can pull it off.

Posted by: Nathan at September 10, 2004 03:50 PM

What about the PO Box addresss issue?

Posted by: Tom at September 10, 2004 03:53 PM

I don't find the Zip code evidence particularly compelling. First, this was 30 years ago. As a native Houstonian, who lived in the EAFB area, I can personally assure you that, in the 1970s, there was nothing out there but prairie and saltwater pine woods. It was empty. Now, that whole corridor along I-45 and Old Galveston 3 is a massive metropolitan area.

On the north side of town, I can remember when Houston Intercontinental Airport was stuck 20 miles out in the middle of the forest. Now, it's all a built up metro area all the way out to the airport.

Zip codes change. Street names change. And we can't step into the wayback machine and see what was at that address in 1972.

Posted by: Dale Franks at September 10, 2004 03:54 PM

Well, it's an odd PO box, but large adressees can often get a special PO Box number from the USPS. I'm more concerned about why the city is listed as Houston, instead of Ellington AFB. That is clearly odd.

But the PO Box. Well, you know, sometimes, funny things happen.

Posted by: Dale Franks at September 10, 2004 03:57 PM

why do I feel like one side is telling the truth and the other is full of bs?

Posted by: Mr. K at September 10, 2004 04:13 PM

This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Forgery to influence a presidential election is a crime. Somebody needs to swing.

Posted by: Conrad at September 10, 2004 04:17 PM

One more for the typographical arguments. From INDC, Dr. Bouffard's comments:

Thus far, one character stood out, the number “4.” In the document provided by CBS News, the number 4 does not "have a foot" and has a “closed top,” which is indicative of Times New Roman, a font exclusive to more modern computer word processing programs.

Posted by: McQ at September 10, 2004 04:58 PM

Oh, one more thing, both Killian's son and widow claimed that Killian cannot type. How is he supposed to operate an advance typewriter he's unlikely to possess while lacking the basic skill?

Posted by: BigFire at September 10, 2004 05:06 PM

Zip codes change. Street names change. And we can't step into the wayback machine and see what was at that address in 1972.

It might not be easy, but it should be possible. The land, tax, and postal address records from 1973 should all be available somewhere. If not online then in paper format. I'll poke around online later, but someone familiar with the area would have a much better chance of succeeding.

Posted by: Bryan C at September 10, 2004 05:17 PM

Blog o Ram has a list of experts for and against the memo.

There is one expert who believes it might be possible.

Posted by: capt joe at September 10, 2004 05:44 PM

Also, military docs were using 8x10.5 paper, NOT 8.5x11.

Posted by: Trubador at September 10, 2004 05:46 PM

We used 8.5x11 when I was in the USAF

Posted by: Dale Franks at September 10, 2004 05:51 PM

This is overwhelming evidence. Only a nutcase would keep spewing his own nonsense. But don't worry. Remember how the BBC was forced on its knees after trying to bring down Blair over the invasion of Iraq? CBS will be forced to its knees too. By the truth!

OT: Have some fun. Enter this competition LOL What will they come up with next?

Posted by: Brian Dupri at September 10, 2004 05:57 PM

Also there appears to be a slim legal case against the perpetrators via Volokh

Posted by: capt joe at September 10, 2004 06:02 PM

I will not miss CBS if its is brought to its knees, and shuttered up for a few years until honorable management can be located. The partisanship under Rather and company has gone way past the line of acceptibility.

Posted by: Marvin Thulenberg at September 10, 2004 06:03 PM

I've learned that centering text on a typewriter is in fact pretty easy to do. You tab to the center of the page, then hit backspace for one half the total number of letters in whatever it is you want to type.

This presumes evenly spaced type, however. Whether the operation is easy with a proportional spaced typewriter is beyond my knowledge.

Also, I think the closed 4 hasn't gotten enough airtime; it's one of the clinchers. Very few (zero?) typewriters use it.

Posted by: Brian at September 10, 2004 06:03 PM

You tab to the center of the page, then hit backspace for one half the total number of letters in whatever it is you want to type.

This isn't all that clear, so here's an example.

If you want to center a line of text that has a total of 20 characters, you tab to the center line and backspace 10 times, then type your line. You'd wind up with ten characters before the center line and ten characters after, for a perfectly centered hunk of text.

Hope that makes sense.

Like I said, it only works with evenly spaced type as far as I know.

Posted by: Brian at September 10, 2004 06:19 PM

Possible correction: Stylistic #9 says that the memos include the phrase "in accordance with (IAW)". I see "IAW" but don't see the quoted phrase.

Can I ask the ex-military men if the memos make any damned sense at all...for instance, in the May 4 memo, Killian orders Bush to "report to commander" (i.e. Killian himself!) to conduct a medical exam--huh? Then in the next section he orders Bush to report to the admin officer to schedule the exam. Double Huh?? Wouldn't he simply order Bush to report to the medical branch?

Posted by: passerby at September 10, 2004 06:34 PM

I would e-mail the above to CBS AND all the other main stream media. These are compelling valid points and I would spread them around.

Posted by: Dee at September 10, 2004 06:43 PM

If you were CBS, would you not be busting your a** to find a typewriter that existed in the early 70's that is capable of reproducing this document exactly? That's what I would be doing. And how hard could it possibly be for a large "news" organization like CBS to track one down - especially when their credibility is resting on it?

At this point, you have a long list of document experts, military procedure experts, and Kilian's wife and son all saying that for many different reasons the docs appear to be forgeries. Just about the only person I have heard in the last 24 hours that says these documents are the real deal is Dan Rather and this inexplicably unnamed document expert they supposedly ran it by.

It's now up to CBS to produce a typewriter that existed back then that can reproduce the document exactly. The case has been made that they're forgeries, and it's up to CBS to prove that they are not. I believe if they could do that, they would've done it by now. They haven't come close.

Posted by: Scott at September 10, 2004 06:45 PM

I don't watch 60 Minutes or CBS News. Someone out there must. Can anyone give us a list of advertisers? We can scream until we are blue in the face, and CBS won't give a big rat's rear. But if we get to their advertisers, we might get some action.

I suggest we organize a campaign to notify the sponsors that we want CBS to release the name of the source, the names of the "experts" and copies of the experts' reports. We also want the orginal documents to be released to our experts and decent copies posted on the web. If CBS refuses to do these things, we will hold the sponsors responsible and will boycott their products.

It's time to show the real power of the blogosphere.

Posted by: Corbett at September 10, 2004 06:47 PM

Even the content of the documents is flawed. According to the document - it references talking to Col Walter Staudt about "sugarcoating" a Bush OER.

However, as reported in the LA Times:

Bush's application, as well as his commission, were handled by then-Col. Walter B. "Buck" Staudt, who said, "Nobody did anything for him…. There was no … influence on his behalf. Neither his daddy nor anybody else got him into the Guard." Staudt, who retired in 1972 as a brigadier general, said Bush was enrolled quickly because there was a demand for pilot candidates.


Staudt recorded that Bush was "a quiet, intelligent young man who has the interest, motivation and knowledge necessary in today's Air Force and Air National Guard flying programs."

Stated another performance report: "Lt. Bush is a dynamic, outstanding young officer. He clearly stands out.",1,6240422.story

Now isn't that very odd for an officer who spoke so highly of Bush - to order Bush's commanding officer to "sugarcoat" Bush's performance? And more importantly, how could Staudt have applied pressure - since he retired in 1972 and the CBS document is dated 18 August 1973????

And what does the 81 year old Staudt say now?

"I love the guy," Staudt said of Bush. "I'm so tired of this negative crap about him that I'd like to volunteer to build a barn and take you press guys out behind it and kick your asses."

Posted by: Doreen at September 10, 2004 06:55 PM

Here's how CBS conducted the document exam with its team of experts:

DAN RATHER (to document experts): Document Experts, does this look like a document to you?

DOCUMENT EXPERTS (in unison): Why yes, it does.

DAN RATHER: Very good. Document confirmed. And thank you for your expertise Mike, Morely, and Leslie.

Posted by: Scott at September 10, 2004 06:57 PM

On fox news tonight, the Lt. Colonel said that he doubts that Staudt was in Bush's chain of command at that time as he may have been retired before the date on the letter dated 18Aug73. Also something was said about the L. A. Times reporting something along these lines. Anyone have any info on Staudt's status as of 18 Aug 73?

Posted by: dave at September 10, 2004 06:59 PM

Couple points:

It's Jerry B. Killian.

And again, I find it odd that an officer that doesn't type would choose a difficult to use typewriter, when there are likely other, easier to use typewriters available.

And as of 18 Aug 73, Gen Staudt was retired.

Posted by: Orihara at September 10, 2004 07:09 PM

he was retired at least a year before the doc.

Posted by: capt joe at September 10, 2004 07:10 PM

28 Reasons the 'Bush Memos' reported on by CBS are faudulent:

Courtesy of Free Republic

1 -- Proportional spacing not generally available

2 -- Superscripts not generally available

3 -- Small "th" single element not generally avail.

4 -- 'Smart' quotes. Curved apostrophes and quotation marks were not available

5 -- The blurriness of the copy indicates it was recopied dozens of times, tactic of forgers

6 -- Signature block. Typical authentic military signature block has name, then rank, then on the next line the person's position. This just has rank beneath the name.

7 -- Margins. These look like a computer's unjustified default, not the way a person typing would have done it.

8 -- Date usually with three letters, or in form as 110471.

9 -- Words 'run over' consistent with word processor

10 -- May be a Times Roman or similar font not generally available then (per Haas Atlas)

11 - Signature looks faked (do not match)

12 - No errors and whiteout

13 - No letterhead

14 - Exact match for Microsoft Word Processor

15 - Paper size problem, Air Force and Guard did not use 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper until the 1980s.

16 - Overlap analysis is an exact match

17 - Absence of hyphens to split words between lines, c/w 1970's typewriter.

18 - 5000 Longmont #8 in Houston Tx. does not exist

19 - Box 34567 is suspicious, at best. The current use of the po box 34567 is Ashland Chemical Company, A Division of Ashland Oil, Incorporated P. O. Box 34567 Houston

20 - It would have been nearly impossible to center a letterhead with proportional spacing without a computer.

21 - Bush's grade would "normally" be abbreviated "1Lt" not "1st Lt"

22 - Subject matter bizarre

23 - Air Force did not use street addresses for their offices, rather HQ AFLC/CC, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433.

24 - Kerning was not available

25 - In the August 18, 1973 memo, Jerry Killian purportedly writes: "Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job." but General Staudt, who thought very highly of Lt. Bush, retired in 1972.
26 - Language not generally used by military

27 - Not signed or initialed

28 - Not in any format that a military person would use, e.g. orders not given by Memo.

Posted by: CT at September 10, 2004 07:13 PM

I read somewhere in the blogsphere a list of reasons from a military person why the contents of the memo sounded bogus (ordering a physical 2 months before his birthday when a physical was actually required seems unlikely, a pilot taking a physical when they knew they could not maintain flight status because of the lack of planes at the new base seems unlikely, that sort of thing.)

If someone runs across this data, and it appears credible, it would be nice to see it added to the list above.

Posted by: RJSchwarz at September 10, 2004 07:17 PM

Found it myself at Allah the all mercifuls abode.

Still it would be nice to have someone in the Air Force confirm the data.

Posted by: RJSchwarz at September 10, 2004 07:20 PM

From ABC News online article:

"The vertical spacing used in the memos, measured at 13 points, was not available in typewriters, and only became possible with the advent of computers."

Posted by: Rob at September 10, 2004 08:13 PM

One more oddity: the content of the CYA memo. Not that I have any experience writing such things, but isn't it odd that this one has an admission of guilt about backdating? Why confess to wrongdoing in a CYA memo? Isn't the whole point of such things to be able to prove that the writer did nothing wrong?

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 10, 2004 08:21 PM

Does anyone remember that the first campaign 'trick' mentioned in the book, Bush's Brain, about Karl Rove, involved his discovering a bugging device in his office, that he hinted had been put there by his client's opponent.

When investigated, the press found that there were all sorts of reasons why the device presented could not have been used as Rove suggested; batteries needing replacement every 8 hours, etc. The press uproar at the discovery, however, had the effect of destoying the opponent; the later reports of the hoax didn't become public until after the election; Rove won.

I know a little bit about proportional space, fonts, etc. If I wanted to create something that passed initial inspection, but would subsequently yield the kind of results cited above, then these documents reflect exactly what I would do. Sure, the IBM Executive typewriter (actually patented in 1935, and in use in the '70's in almost every lawyer's office in the country) makes pages that look something like this, but nothing I'm aware of in those days was smart enough to turn st after 1 into a superscript.

But there's nothing today, as far as I know, that's smart enough to turn st into a superscript in a date phrase, i.e. 1st of September, and not do the same thing in the phrase 1st Lt. Bush. This was a planted clue to make sure that the forgery was discovered.

The Kerry camp and his supporters have made some mistakes, but I'm not aware of any evidence at all that anyone on that team is suicidal.

The type looks too askew (above and below the baseline) to have been done with a laser or inkjet printer. I would guess that you'll find that this was done with some sort of daisy wheel printer, and with a very unusual daisy wheel that includes the st as a single, superscript character.

I'd be willing to bet that the printer is in some heavily Democratic office, with strong ties to the Kerry campaign, and with a night cleaning crew, each member of which is working there as a second job, earning minimum wage.

I hope that whoever has that printer comes forward with the daisy wheel right away, before some Rove operative leaks some piece of unrelated correspondence to the press that just happens to have the same character set, and impact pattern.

How in the world did we all get into the situation where the campaigning for the highest office in the land would come down to this?

Posted by: Bats at September 10, 2004 08:25 PM

Wow. I say the hell with Kerry and Bush. Instead, let's elect Karl Rove president. [PINKYVOICE] He's both evil and a genius! [/PINKYVOICE]

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 10, 2004 08:33 PM

Not only is it likely Kerry will once again have his genitalia knocked in the dirt, Dan Rather may join him. Hell, CBS too. What better, more humiliating evidence of their eagerness to prostitute what little credibility thewy have left to put a hit on Bush, and their despir about this election.

Posted by: Jumbo at September 10, 2004 08:35 PM

The Bush campaign utterly manufactured the nonsense about Kerry's "questionable" war record. It's not surprisingly that there's been a backlash. Bush was a rich kid who avoided the draft, Kerry is a decorated veteran. The Repubs' moxie is, as always, breathtaking. What goes around comes around, unfortunately.

Posted by: wilson at September 10, 2004 08:36 PM

Bats, re. printer type, with the right set of drivers you could do it with a dot matrix printer. A 24-pin dot matrix running in graphics mode would produce an original that, after a faxing and a photocopy or two, would probably be indistinguishable from typewriter text. That would also take care of the font problems, since the font would be resident in the computer. Apple's Imagewriter printed pages this way back in the 1980s.

Posted by: Old Grouch at September 10, 2004 08:59 PM

Wilson, troll somewhere else with that nonsense. The adults are busy here.

Posted by: Robin Roberts at September 10, 2004 09:03 PM

It seems that you've all been wrong. CBS's handwriting expert has spoken. Evidently you've been analyzing copies of copies of faxes of copies, so you're analysis isn't any good. You might as well all shut up and go home.

Of course one might enquire why a handwriting expert was called in to verify the authenticity of a typed document. But there is an easy answer to that. Mr. Matley was the guy they brought in to say that Vince Foster wrote the "suicide note". And why did every other handwriting analysis in the world show that Vince didn't write it? Because they were analyzing degraded copies of copies of faxes of copies...

At the prices they must pay this guy, you'd think he could have come up with a new line.

Posted by: Corbett at September 10, 2004 09:08 PM

Wow, so Matley has saved two lives in his career ... Dan Rather's and Vince Foster's ... uh, oops.

Posted by: Robin Roberts at September 10, 2004 09:14 PM

You guys need to see this...

Posted by: David Forsyth at September 10, 2004 09:18 PM

Wilson wrote, "The Bush campaign utterly manufactured the nonsense about Kerry's "questionable" war record. It's not surprisingly that there's been a backlash. Bush was a rich kid who avoided the draft, Kerry is a decorated veteran. The Repubs' moxie is, as always, breathtaking. What goes around comes around, unfortunately"

Where to start...

How about the draft dodger accusation. Bush joined the Air National Guard and was subject to being called up at any time. But if in your world joining the reserves makes you a draft dodger, then Kerry is also a draft dodger because he joined the Naval Reserves. In the real world, neither was a draft dodger -- unlike Bill Clinton.

Now we'll talk about the manufacturing of war records. If anybody manufactured Kerry's war record, it was John Kerry.

How many lies has he been caught in?

1st Purple Heart -- had to admit it was self-inflicted. It was pretty hard to maintain the hero facade in light of his diary entry that said he hadn't been shot at -- a week after he claims to have been wounded.

Christmas in Cambodia. Again, he was either lying to his diary or was lying to the American people. He was forced to admit that he was not in Cambodia or anywhere near it on Christmas. Nor did he ever cross into Cambodia at any point.

No man left behind. In his acceptance speech he said his boat was the only one that stayed in place whne the other boat hit the mine. Later he admitted that he was the only boat that ran -- all of the others stayed.

Silver Star with "V". There ain't no such animal. He has three different Silver Star citations -- this is against regulations. Two of them were signed by admirals -- again against regulations. The last one, that purports to be signed by the Secretary of the Navy appears to be a forgery because the person who is supposed to have signed it says he didn't. That's not the sort of thing you'd forget.

I could go on, and on, and on. But any reasonable person would have to conclude that Kerry repeatedly lied about his war record.

Of course if Kerry really were telling the truth, he'd release all of his military records -- just like the President.

As for moxie, I'd say that Bush certainly has shown more than Kerry.

Posted by: Corbett at September 10, 2004 09:41 PM

One more item of evidence: As Company Clerk in my National Guard unit (60s-70s), I typed many a letter from our CO. The correct signature block did not include "Commander" below the name. The proper word was "Commanding." I'm fairly sure this was SOP throughout the Guard.

Posted by: Virgil at September 10, 2004 10:44 PM

The use of "Commanding" under the signature block is an Army formulation. The USAF uses the duty position name, which in this case, is "Commander". The USAF and Army have very different style guides.

Posted by: Dale Franks at September 10, 2004 11:01 PM

RE the issue of whether this is all a Rove plot:

Not only does Ockham's Razor suggest otherwise, but it would have been a needless risk on Rove's part. Notwithstanding the the critiques of the DailyKos and other true believers, even a casual dispassionate analysis reveals the documents to be forgeries (with effort, this obvious analysis can be overcome, but with similar and unbiased effort, it can even more easily be deepened, as we're seeing here), so he'd want to do a better and more subtle job than we see here.

I think we're seeing much more of an amateur effort than a brilliant one.

But of course, if one is trapped in conspiracy theories (and MANY anti-W folks are, being the mirrors of the most rabid anti-Clinton folks), then a lack of evidence is exactly what you'd expect to find, and so is in fact compelling confirmation of the theory.

Sadly, there's no escape from this mindset if it's held firmly.

Posted by: John Rylander at September 10, 2004 11:24 PM

"RE the issue of whether this is all a Rove plot:"

Johnny Ry: I agree this is no Rove provocation. It's far too complex and risky for so likely little gain. But it's a hoot watching their eyes widen in terror at the evil genius Karl Rove. They're running scared, which makes them all the angrier, which makes them all the more likely to pull crazy shit like this. Confident campaigns (not to mention campaigns run by decent people) don't pull crap like this. They're drowning.

Posted by: Jumbo at September 10, 2004 11:53 PM

Might want to add to the list this highly imformative discussion of Air Force procedures;

The two memos refer to a flight physical and a flight review board, both IAW ("in accordance with") AFM 35-13. But that would stand for "Air Force Manual" 35-13, and manuals are guidelines only. They have no regulatory authority. No one takes a physical exam, flight or not, IAW a manual. ...


Posted by: jvtl at September 11, 2004 03:59 AM

Oh Danny boy, the lies, the lies, you're telling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.

The first verse of a song to be sung at the wake of Dan Rather's career...

Posted by: Corbett at September 11, 2004 07:16 AM

I'd just like to point out that the typeface in the CBS memo is NOT the Microsoft version of Times New Roman. Of course this doesn't prove anything one way or another. But as it's clear to anyone who has actually looked at the documents closely - and it's very easily checked as the documents are online - it's best to not to use it as an argument against their authenticity.

Some of the salient differences between the typeface of the CYA memo and MS Times New Roman:

capital 'A' & capital 'M' - the angles of the A and M are substantially, consistently wider in the memo than in MS TNR. this cannot be an artefact introduced by copying/faxing if it affects only these two letters.

'8' - the proportions between upper and lower loops of the 8 are clearly different - in MS TNR, the two loops are very close in size. in the CBS memos, the top loop is plainly, consistently smaller.

small points I know, but enough to be absolutely conclusive that the typeface is not MS TNR.

Posted by: billy at September 11, 2004 09:10 AM

Billy: I think you're right. The animated slide show I referenced identifies the type as "Palatino Linotype" which is a True Type font. If true, that makes the evidence even more damning.

Posted by: McQ at September 11, 2004 10:01 AM

The Killian memos are consistent with being produced on an IBM Selectric Composer. The document experts are backpeddling now, and admitting the Selectric Composer, introduced in 1966, could have produced the memos.

1.) Why is it so hard to imagine that the TANG could have required a Selectric Composer?
Texas Air National Guard had very expensive capital investments. Think how much those planes were valued at--when adjusted for inflation in today's dollars. Think of the technology and beauracracy of this agency. Think of the policies and procedures and paperwork required for day to day operations. The Selectric Composer, introduced in 1966, would have been comparable to a higher end desktop computer in today's dollars. Not far-fetched at all.

2. "th." Selectric Composer offered this superscript key as an option. As someone noted, 111th would have clearly been interested in this feature.

3. Selectric Composer offered Proportional Spacing, consistent with Killian memo.

4. Selectric Composer offered header centering tool, consistent with Killian memo.

5. Selectric Composer offered many interchangeable type face balls (including several Roman serif fonts in different font sizes), consistent with Killian memo.

6. Selectric Composer offered variable leading (aka line spacing) from 5 - 20 points, consistent with Killian memo.

7. People say the Selectric Composer was "too big" for office use.

8. Killian wasn't a typist. Most commanders had an administrative assistant, which would type from notes or dictation of the senior officer.

Take a look:

Further reading:

Question: if Bush pulled strings to get out of service, and if Bush disobeyed a direct order from his supervisor, doesn't that indict his credibility to conscript National Guardmen to their death (via a back door draft) in Iraq--a war based on fabricated evidence re: the WMDs?

No matter what your political affiliation, evidence suggests Bush is unfit for command.

Posted by: Pat Buchanan at September 11, 2004 10:58 AM

First, Rufus Martin, Killians admin officer shared an office and a secretary with Killian. He claims their typewriter was an old manual model.

Secondly, the superscript on the model you reference would require a change of ball and some very tough machinations per an expert who reproduced the memo on that typewriter. You can read all about it here.

Last, and probably the most damning, the line spacing is completely different from that produced in the memo and can be produced on that typewriter.

Posted by: McQ at September 11, 2004 11:04 AM

>>First, Rufus Martin, Killians admin officer shared an office and a secretary with Killian. He claims their typewriter was an old manual model.

Secondly, the superscript on the model you reference would require a change of ball and some very tough machinations per an expert who reproduced the memo on that typewriter. You can read all about it here.

Last, and probably the most damning, the line spacing is completely different from that produced in the memo and can be produced on that typewriter.>>


1.) A Secretary is a professional typist. Killian need not have typed them himself. Selectrics were in use by the USAF by 1969.

2.) A Secretary would know how to use the superscript. Think: Why would the 111th value superscript capabilities? Hmmmmmmm....And why are there superscripts on Bush Gaurd files dating to 1968, which are known to be authentic? Hmmmm.....

3.) Re: Spacing issue. No, you're wrong. The Selectric Composer boasted variable line spacing (aka leading) in 1 pt increments from 5 pt - 20 pt.


Questions for you:
I've read the Shape of Days blog.

A.) Have all the serif fonts available for the Composer been tested? Besides Press Roman used in the test--try Aldine Roman, Bodoni or Pyramid etc.

B) Has the precise font size of the Killian memo been used? Instead of 11pt in the Press Roman test, what about 12 pt?

C.) Has the line spacing of the Killan memo been determined? Dial the line spacing on the Composer to test.

The fact remains that a secretary using the Selectric Composer could have produced these Killian documents.

Of course they could still be forgeries. But no conclusive evidence has been presented to that end.

Posted by: Pat Buchanan at September 11, 2004 11:27 AM

Alright, let's accept, for sake of argument, that the typewriter was there (even though Martin says they used a manual) and the typist was a master on the new machine.

As you point out, she'd have been a "professional typist". She'd have also been intimately familiar with AF documents and how they were styled and formatted. She'd have known, for instance, that the signature block always is left justified, not to use periods in rank or in unit designations (111th F.I.S.) and many more of the more obvious deveations from accepted AF style.

How do you explain the huge discrepancies in style outlined in this post with a "professional typist" in the Air Force?

Posted by: McQ at September 11, 2004 11:45 AM

Originally, the counterargument was: "no typewriter from the era could have boasted proportional spacing, superscript, serif Roman fonts in multiple sizes, and variable line spacing."

Now, all the so-called experts are backpeddling. Clearly, with the introduction of the IBM Selectric Composer in 1966, a typewriter did exist.

To answer your question about the secretary: The best way to determine whether the Killian memos are authentic from a typographical standpoint is as follows:

1.) Find known and authenticated Killian memos from the period and compare them to the ones in question. Compare the type, spacing superscript etc.

2.) Try to recreate the memo on a Composer model.

If the memos are genunine and were typed on a Composer, the operator had some efficiency with the machine. Whether the operator had exercised full knowledge/compliance of AF format rules is ultimately a red herring if other documents from the same period known to be authentic exhibit the same typing style.

Posted by: Pat Buchanan at September 11, 2004 12:14 PM

If the memos are genunine and were typed on a Composer, the operator had some efficiency with the machine. Whether the operator had exercised full knowledge/compliance of AF format rules is ultimately a red herring if other documents from the same period known to be authentic exhibit the same typing style.

Unfortunately, other documents from the same period do not share these characteristics., which seems to moot your argument.

Posted by: Dale Franks at September 11, 2004 12:23 PM

Originally, the counterargument was: "no typewriter from the era could have boasted proportional spacing, superscript, serif Roman fonts in multiple sizes, and variable line spacing."

Now, all the so-called experts are backpeddling. Clearly, with the introduction of the IBM Selectric Composer in 1966, a typewriter did exist.

Actually they're not backing off at all.

The acknowledgement that they did exist does not mean they were in the TANG or available to a squadron commander in the TANG when the memos were typed. It simply means they existed.

1.) Find known and authenticated Killian memos from the period and compare them to the ones in question. Compare the type, spacing superscript etc.

2.) Try to recreate the memo on a Composer model.

If the memos are genunine and were typed on a Composer, the operator had some efficiency with the machine. Whether the operator had exercised full knowledge/compliance of AF format rules is ultimately a red herring if other documents from the same period known to be authentic exhibit the same typing style.

Known and authenticated memos have been found. They were all typed in a courier font on a manual typewriter just as Maj Rufus Martin said they were.

The known documents show the proper style with the left justified signature block. You can see one of them here.

Posted by: McQ at September 11, 2004 12:26 PM

It's a little thing but another argument for MS Word vs a typewriter is the size of the periods. Old typewriters had large periods so they wouldn't tear the ribbon and the force of the impact would be distributed over a wider area. The memo has the smaller periods normally associated with laser printers. Look at verified documents vs the potential forgeries, they are different.

Posted by: OldManRick at September 11, 2004 12:39 PM



The known document you provided was a Bush memo. Are you suggesting Killian's secretary typed it for Bush?

The Bush document provided is an incongruous analogy. What if Bush typed it in his apt. using his personal typewriter?

We are looking for memos from Killian's secretary during the same period. Not memos written by Bush to Killian.

Posted by: Pat Buchanan at September 11, 2004 12:47 PM

Originally, the counterargument was: "no typewriter from the era could have boasted proportional spacing, superscript, serif Roman fonts in multiple sizes, and variable line spacing."

No, the original argument was that very few typewriters did proportional spacing at the time, making it unlikely that that they were used in the squadron orderly room at a texANG base.

Posted by: Dale Franks at September 11, 2004 12:49 PM

That's a request and 1st indorsement. The way it usually works is you submit the request and it gets typed up. You sign it and it goes to the next higher who then puts their indorsement on the same sheet.

Note that it says "recommend approval". George Bush could not assume approval. If he'd done it he'd have hand to put "recommend approval/disapproval and allow Killian the choice). So that strongly suggests that the indorsement (and most likely the request) was typed by the same person ... namely Killian's secretary. It also suggests she checked with Killian for approval or disapproval before she typed it up.

More importantly the format is entirely correct. Signature block is left justified and has the proper arrangement without the periods you find in the fakes. Unless you're going to try to suggest that Bush was a format expert one has to assume the secretary did this.

Posted by: McQ at September 11, 2004 12:56 PM

Pat Buchanan, some problems with your argument:

1) the Selectric Composer is being called a "typewriter," but it's really more of a low-end typesetting machine. Even people who can type well (and Killian supposedly couldn't) can't just sit down at one and bang out some well-formatted memos. They take training to use correctly.

2) I've matched some type in my time, and even using the same computer and OS and fonts, it's not always easy. Matching something done on a PC with a Mac is harder. Matching something done on a non-computer system is extremely hard to do. Even though someone might have been able, in theory, to typeset memos that look like these back in '72-'73, the chances that they would match something easily created by MS Word at default settings 30+ years later are zero.

3) All the other problems with the docs: no provenance, no errors or corrections, no hyphenation, "pressure" from an officer long retired, an address G.W. Bush hadn't lived at for years, non-standard formatting and abbreviations, unlikely content, etc., etc.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 11, 2004 01:14 PM

I don't think the Bush to Killian request for endorsement is proof of forgery. Too many assumptions to believe it had to be typed by Killian's secretary. Too messy.

It would require far fewer assumptions that known authenticated memos issued by Killian (typed by his secretary) would be more credible for sake of comparison. These are more likely to have been generated from Killian's secretary.

Why not post several known, authenticated memos issued by Killian during 1972-73. Compare them with the CBS documents.


1. Personnel records. Track down Killian's secretary. Determine length of service / ask him or her to authenticate.

2. Review capital expenditure files. Determine typewriters purchased and used by TANG 111th from 1950 - 1973.

Some have suggested TANG had manual typewriters in 1973. Come on, these guys had a budget. Adjust the value of the planes for inflation and how much was each of the planes worth? Several million?

And, would TANG have had use for a robust flexibile typewriter that could produce manual quality typesetting? Did the goverment receive a special bulk, non-profit purchase rate from IBM for the Selectrics?

Posted by: Pat B at September 11, 2004 02:56 PM

A) the point about the indorsed memo is it is in the proper format, regardless of who typed it. The CBS memos aren't.

B)Maj Rufus Martin, Killian's admin officers has said the he sat in the same room with Killian and the secretary and the secretary used an old manual typewriter. That's an eye-witness account.

C)We're not talking about a cheap electronic typewriter here. If there were any in the AF system they'd have been found much higher up the line. $16,000 typewriters in 2004 dollars aren't going to be found that some squadron orderly room in the TANG.

Posted by: McQ at September 11, 2004 03:04 PM

Question for Pat B:

What is the logical connection between the cost of the jet planes and the cost of the typewriters?

I left the Army in '72. We had M-60 tanks that cost as much or more than a jet. We also used manual Royal typewriters. The battalion HQ had a couple Selectrics (not the typesetting Composer model).

The military primary spending priority is weapons systems. Office equipment is a much lower priority. The two are not connected.

Posted by: Dennis_M at September 11, 2004 03:46 PM

People need to drop the P.O. Box 34567 argument because Bush's own documents here:
On page 1 of 26 show that same address.

Posted by: Nan G at September 11, 2004 04:42 PM

"Internal Kerning", which is always on in Word, is not possible on a non-memory typewriter. Think about it - when letters get printed very close together so that the top or bottom of one letter overlaps the next, the typewriter would have to know that it is ok to print them that way. That means the typewriter has to REMEMBER that the first character (say an f) makes it ok for the next character (say an r) to be printed in the 'space' below the overhang of the 'f'. NO Machanical typewriter could do this. NONE. It is simply impossible. SO if the CBS documents have this 'kerning' effect they were not done on a typewriter. Game over.
Although the CBS posted documents do show what looks like this effect, they are so blurred that it is impossible to say 100%.

Posted by: ex IBMer at September 11, 2004 10:49 PM

More importantly the format is entirely correct.

Also readily apparent is that 111th is typed without superscripting.

Posted by: Steverino at September 12, 2004 12:33 AM

Go to this site to find known valid historical documents generated by Killian and others in the TexANG during that time period:

You'll see that none of them resemble the type of equipment that could produce the proportional spacing and superscripting that are in the CBS memos. Sure that technology existed, but it doesn't look like Killian or others in the TexANG were using it at that time.

Nor were they using indented formatting and other "fancy" formattting that are more common in our days of computer word processing.

You'll see at best they centered their letterhead and everything else tended to be left justified as seems to be common for the military of that time period.

You can see some valid signatures by Lt. Col Killian and decide whether they really match the CBS memos (of which Matley only verified 1 signature and not all 4 as Rather stated).

You can look at the punctuation of officer's titles and the standard for an officer's title in the signatures blocks (used by Lt. Col Killian and others in the historical documents) that don't match those in the CBS memos.

You can see that the dates on every one of the historical documents are presented as 6 September 1972 and not 04 May 1972. Forcing dates to have 2 digits was not common back in those days before the personal computer boom (two digit dates allow for appropriate sorting by date). Why use two digit dates on typewritten memos prior to widespread PC use?

Print out some of the historical documents and then go to CBS news' website and print out the CBS memos.

Even with degradation due to copying, the differences are as plain as day.

Unless someone is willing to provide the originals so that they can be tested for age and examined to see if they really were typewritten and signed with a pen, I will have to consider them highly dubious in nature.

Posted by: Steve Nelson at September 12, 2004 02:11 AM

Echoing Nan G, the P.O. Box and the Longmont address are consistent with other Bush docs. See, e.g., page 10 of

I was suspicious of the P.O. Box, too, but hey, that's not the convincing thing, is it?


Posted by: bbbeard at September 12, 2004 09:22 AM

If any of you think the documents are forgeries, answer the following:

1.) Is it possible that the Killian CBS memos could have been created on an IBM Selectric Composer?

2.) Is there any definitive, concrete, absolute conclusive proof that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the documents are forgeries?

Posted by: pat b at September 12, 2004 03:45 PM

Update at this website:

Welcome to the only site on the Internet completely dedicated to the IBM "Selectric" Composer line of typesetting machines.

The recent controversy of the authenticity of the Jerry Killian memos has brought notoriety to the IBM Composer, as well as lots of e-mails asking about the Composer's capabilities as well as my opinions of whether the documents in question are authentic. Since most of the e-mails have asked the same questions, I will try and answer them here.

Q: Can the IBM Selectric Composer produce a superscripted "th" as seen in the memos?
A: Yes, but not in one keystroke. To type 111th, you would first type "111", then remove the 11pt font element, and replace it with an 8pt element, then change the escapement (horizontal spacing) to the narrowest setting, half reverse index the paper, type "th". Then, you have to reverse that process by half indexing the paper back down, replacing the 8pt font element with an 11pt font element, and returning the escapement lever back to the widest setting.

Q: How much did the composer cost back in 1972?
A: I have seen a sales receipt that showed $3600, but I don't recall what year it was. I have heard estimates that the machine went for as much as $4400.

Q: Can the Composer make curly quotes?
A: Yes. The composer keyboard is different from a standard typewriter. On the modern PC keyboard, the comma and period keys, when shifted, produce greater-than and less-than symbols, but on the composer, a shifted comma produces a single "open" apostrophe and a shifted period produces a single "close" apostrophe. To make a double quote, the typist would use two apostrophes, which look exactly like an opening quotation.

Q: Does the Composer automatically center justified text.
A: Yes and No - it depends on the model. The first IBM Composer models had no digital electronics, and therefore were 100% mechanical. They did not have the ability to automatically do anything. To center text on an IBM Selectric Composer, you would have to first determine the length of the line to be centered and then position the carrier (the ball) accordingly. The user manual shows 6 steps in order to center text. The later models of the Composer were electronic; the user could type the text in with a "center code" and when the text was replayed, it would be centered automatically.

Q: Do you think that the IBM Composer was used to produce the documents in question.
A: No, I do not. And my reasons are more practical than scientific. Let me explain. First, the IBM Composer is NOT a typewriter for general use. Those who used it were typographers/typesetters and were trained on its usage. It contained no error correction capabilities as modern typewriters do. The keyboard was somewhat rearranged from the standard keyboard of a Selectric typewriter. The ribbons used on this machine were specialized (and expensive) ribbons that produced very black output used for reproduction purposes. The machine was extraordinarily expensive. The odds of the military providing anyone, other than someone in a publications department, with a machine like this is unlikely. It is unlikely that Killian would have made the effort to make a superscripted "th", but not pay attention to basic spacing around a comma. My opinion is not a political one, rather it is just based on knowing the difficulty of using this machine, and knowing that it was found mostly in print shops, typesetting shops, small publication offices, and occasionally a law firm, but I've never heard of one on someone's desk (who wasn't a closet typographer). Even if Killian had asked someone else to type it for him, requesting that it be done on an IBM Composer would be like asking someone to phototypeset a memo on a Varityper. Its not practical.

Q: What font comes closest to Times New Roman?
A: Press Roman

Q: Could the IBM Executive Typewriter produce such a document as the memos?
A: It is likely that it could have. It is much more feasible that there were IBM Executive Typewriters at the colonel's disposal than IBM Composers for him to use. The IBM ET had proportional spacing. I do not have an IBM ET, so I cannot vouch for its capabilities. It is not impossible that the ET could have had a special key on the keyboard for the "th". IBM probably published a simple step-by-step method of centering text on the ET, but once again, this question is better suited to someone who is either an IBM serviceman or an enthusiast of the IBM ET.

Q: Does the IBM Composer have the capability to produce ligatures (such as "fl", and "fi")?
A: Not in one keystroke. I have looked through the font catalog and don't see any fonts that contain ligatures, however, using the incremental backspace, one could type an "f", then unit backspace, and type an i. Depending on the font, however, it may look pretty ugly.

Q: What is the character spacing on the IBM Composer?
A: The IBM Composer measured characters in "units" - a character occupied between 3 and 9 units. A "unit" size is dependent on the font's size. There were three preset horizontal spacing settings. A larger font size, like 11pt, would require the widest setting, while a smaller font such as 6pt would require the tightest spacing. That being said, here are the three unit sizes:

Widest: 12 units per pica, (72 units per inch)
Middle: 14 units per pica, (88 units per inch)
Narrowest: 16 units per pica, (96 units per inch)

Here is the table that shows the widths of all of the characters on the Composer keyboard:

Q: Does the IBM Composer have a numeric "1" key, or does the operator have to use a lower case "L"?
A: The composer has a one key just like a modern keyboard.

To start viewing pictures and narratives, click on the pictures of the composer on the left.

Posted by: pat b at September 12, 2004 03:51 PM

1.) Is it possible that the Killian CBS memos could have been created on an IBM Selectric Composer?

Even if I concede the point that the documents could have been created on an IBM Selectric Composer, you would then have to prove that (a) there was one in Killian's office and (b) someone in Killian's office actually typed this memo on the IBM Selectric Composer.

Just because something was technically possible at the time doesn't mean that the people in question actually had the technology needed to accomplish it.

2.) Is there any definitive, concrete, absolute conclusive proof that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the documents are forgeries?

I suspect that you won't accept any proof as absolute or conclusive.

The burden of proof is on those who claim the documents are real. Show provenance. Who had these documents for all these years? Show the chain of ownership from Killian back in 1972 to CBS in 2004. Until that's shown, these documents cannot be taken at face value.

Posted by: Steverino at September 12, 2004 04:18 PM

Nan g:

Same address except for zip code. The document you reference has zip code 77034.

The zip code for Ellington field was changed to 77030 when it was decommissioned.

The CBS documents use 77030.

Posted by: Jim at September 12, 2004 04:58 PM

Also, I don't recall any orders ever being issued by memo. Memos were for spreading information, not issuing orders.

Note that there is no "copy to" at the bottom left. I would expect there to be if these were orders, since they had to be kept on file, in the pers office.

Posted by: Bob at September 12, 2004 06:10 PM

There's another anachronism. Lt Col Killian's memo is dated 18 August 1973. It's written in the present tense. Yet the "not observed" report he was asked to "sugar coat" was prepared in early May 1973.

Posted by: leslein at September 12, 2004 06:33 PM

Re point #8: The problem isn't so much that orders (vs. memos) would not have been issued using the "MEMORANDUM FOR," etc. format; it's the fact that that format wouldn't be used in the Air Force for another 20+ years after the "memo" ordering Bush to report for his physical was allegedly issued. An order--or, indeed, any official correspondence--issued today in the AF would use the "MEMORANDUM FOR/FROM:/SUBJECT:" and signature block position shown in the alleged "4 May 72" memo, but definitely not a genuine document from 1972.

Posted by: Chris Allen at September 12, 2004 06:45 PM does a good job of comparing the Selectric's character tracking and Microsoft Word's character tracking - I'm not so sure the Selectric could have done it, after all.

Posted by: Jason at September 12, 2004 07:58 PM

If any of you think the documents are forgeries, answer the following:

1.) Is it possible that the Killian CBS memos could have been created on an IBM Selectric Composer?

2.) Is there any definitive, concrete, absolute conclusive proof that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the documents are forgeries?

I like Pat B's style!

When a document surfaces, rather than authenticating it before taking its contents into consideration, you should assume it's true, and then it's up to people to prove that it's not. If you cannot prove that the document is forged "beyond a shadow of a doubt", then it should be assumed true!

Never mind that the documents if true leads to embarrassing revelations...

Posted by: Chuck at September 12, 2004 09:27 PM

2.) Is there any definitive, concrete, absolute conclusive proof that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the documents are forgeries?

If it matches the letter spacings of modern Microsoft TrueType Times New Roman perfectly, it absolutely must be 1980s or later. See here for some information about the difference between Times Roman and Times New Roman, and a discussion of how the width metrics for the various fonts different. A "close" font, like Press Roman, isn't good enough. Even various pre-late '80s versions of Times Roman and Times New Roman won't match each other.

Posted by: John Thacker at September 12, 2004 10:23 PM

Here's another piece of evidence:

The typed letterheads on the documents that have them are absolutely perfectly centered. Each has the same midpoint of text, exactly the way that Microsoft Word does it when centering headings.

While an easy thing to do on a typewriter with a fixed-width font, and an absurdly easy thing for Microsoft Word to do, this is no easy task when using a complicated proportional font. Rather than being able to merely count the number of characters, you have to take each character's width into account when determining the line length.

Possible counterargument: This is perhaps possible given practice of the same text block many times, and a letterhead might well have been repeatedly practiced.

Rebuttal to counterargument: Surely in that case there would exist many more similar memos with that same typed letterhead. However, typed letterhead is already a strongly suspicious point.

Posted by: John Thacker at September 12, 2004 10:38 PM

This 'memo' could not have been produced prior to 1992, even in Microsoft Word. That was when Microsoft took delivery from Monotype of the TrueType version of Times New Roman. The likelihood that the font metrics of a typewriter version of TNR would match the TrueType version (even assuming such a thing existed for 1970's-era equipment) is zero. The Adobe and Linotype TrueType TNR fonts don't even match Microsoft's Monotype version; neither does the 1932-vintage original. The fact that glyphs are superimposed on the CBS documents in a Microsoft Word-created version is incontrovertible evidence of their falsity. One can of course adduce further evidence, such as the implausibility of finding a typewriter that cost as much as a car being used to write memos, and the fact that the format corresponds to no known military usage of the time, but we don't have to. The letter spacing is absolutely dispositive. Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora (it is pointless to do with more that which can be done with less).

Unless you have a decade or so of experience in desktop publishing and reprographics (I first used Microsoft Word nearly twenty years ago), you almost certainly have nothing intelligent to add to this discussion.

Posted by: David Gillies at September 13, 2004 12:28 AM

After copying these letters from the, I used Windows magnifying glass and discovered typeface of individual letters had obvious differences on the same page and even within a few lines of each other.

Examples: Aug 1, 1972 letter The B's in
SUBJECT: BUSH are different than the B in JERRY B. KILLIAN on the same page. ALso the U in SUBJECT seems to face a different direction and seems to have a squarer shape than the U in USAF
just 2 lines below.

On the AUG 18, 1973 Memo the BUSH name appears 3 times, yet when blown up and compared the B U and S in one of them has obvious differences from the other two. The top and bottom of the letter B points left on one of them, but on the other two there appears to be an different type used that points at a angle. The U's are dirrerent, and one of the S's sags below the line and is different proportionally.

Can't see how copying would have only altered one of the three. It appears that some cutting and pasting, may have been done.

I have done some cutting and pasting myself in the past where I have glued in paragraphs/ and words to fix errors and then used whiteout to hide the joints. When copied a few times it can get to the point where you cannot tell.

I also copied the memo to a word document and was able to type Times New Roman letters directly below the "Harris took the call" line and the WORD BOLD font matched perfectly, spacing and all.

Something strikes me about the CYA memo. IF you were trying to CYA, wouldn't you want to have a little more identifying info on the memo then "BUSH". Also why would you incriminate yourself on a memo and mention the fact that you would "backdate".

As far as the raised miniature fonts being used in the superscripts. Both my wife and I used Selectric IIs in that time period. I recall that you could do a 1/2 carriage shift to raise the lettering, but you would have to change the ball to change the font size.

If KILLIAN had a secretary, who did his typing for him, then WHY only superscript some of the TH's. Why not the ST in 1st?

Interesting sites from experts on the Selectric
and their opinion on this matter:

Selectric Museum site:


Posted by: Mike Fogarty at September 13, 2004 01:11 AM

I thoroughly agree that the CBS documents are computer-generated frauds. To those die-hards who are desperately clinging to the IBM Composer excuse, if the TANG had such an advanced and expensive machine, one should be able to find numerous other [authentic] TANG documents produced with that equipment. In the highly unlikely event that TANG had acquired such a machine, one would certainly expect to find abundant evidence of its actual use.

Posted by: Lee DeYoung at September 13, 2004 01:15 AM

The direction of the postings here seems to be so focused on the technological issues, that a major factor appears to be getting overlooked.

Last night, I ran across PDFs of signatures, on non-disputed documents, from multiple dates bracketing the time of the CBS memos. (

Now, I'm no handwriting expert, but a couple of things jumped out at me immediately.

First, the "K" in Killian, in the CBS memos, is constructed from a vertical, and the "arms" are then made from a single penstroke, sometimes looping at the change of direction. In the non-disputed documents, the "K" appears to be constructed of three completely separate strokes.

Next, the "J" in Jerry, in the CBS documents has a relatively straight "back", and a pronounced upper loop size, along with a finishing stroke that angles severely upward, relative to the rest of the signature. In the non-disputed signatures, the "J" has a definite rounded back, a more equal upper-to-lower loop size ratio, and a finishing stroke that tends to follow more closely the general line of the signature.

Finally, there is the matter of the rest of the letters in Killian. In every non-disputed example, the entire last name is spelled out, with the "l"s and even the "i" being so pronounced as to exhibit definite loops in their construction, not the abbreviated peaks evident in the CBS memos. Also, in no instance of the non-disputed signatures is the dot for either of the "i"s set leftward, into the "K"s space, as they are in the CBS document. In fact, they seem to be regularly shifted rightward, in a position over the "l"s, for the most part.

As I said, I am not an expert in these matters, and it would require one to say that the CBS documents definitely bear a valid signature.

Although we as non-experts cannot make THAT determination, it does not take an expert to see that the CBS documents bear a signature that is NOT that of "Jerry B. Killian, Lt Col, TexANG".



Posted by: BobM at September 13, 2004 01:26 AM

Although Pat Buchanan seems to be a partisan whom no amount of reason can influence, he/she is providing a useful service in stretching the limits of challenges to what seems a "slam-dunk" case; his objections need to be (and can be) challenged. I'll add one: he erroneously calls the "th" in the legit Bush memo a "superscript". It is a glyph at the same elevation as the rest of the text, as opposed to a true superscript, which appears above the upper line of the text in the MSWord document forgeries. Typewriters don't do superscripts; according to the web Composer expert, the Composer only does a superscript by rotating the platen manually and inserting a smaller type ball. And, Pat, if it was so worth a few grand to the 111th to have such a machine because their name demanded it, why not use the feature in the LETTERHEAD, Hmmmm? you would hum.

Posted by: dandr at September 13, 2004 02:10 AM

If none of you can produce the original documents and prove they are forgeries, then the honest thing to do is to admit that these memoes are genuine. The burden of proof is on those who doubt Dan Rather.

Posted by: Moonpat at September 13, 2004 04:23 PM


You might want to consider a drink other than Kool-aid.

Dan Rather doesn't have the originals (he has copies) so the burden of proof is definitely on him ... especially in light of the listed problems here and the fact that 11 experts claim they're forgeries.

Posted by: McQ at September 13, 2004 04:32 PM

Moonpat, I'll assume that you are just trying to be funny, rather then actually being a simple minded fool. But I'll play along...

someone gave me copies of some documents that prove that Dan Rather is really an escapee from a lunatic asylum. If you can't produce the original documents then we need to assume that mine are genuine. The burden of proof is on those who believe Dan Rather. It's obvious he's crazy.

Don't worry, I know you're not really a moron - although I think most people might believe that Danny boy should be in a white coat with long sleeves and straps...

Posted by: Flyboy at September 13, 2004 09:29 PM

I think one of the most obvious clues that these are fakes, is the poor quality of the copies.
A "CYA" memo is going to be circulated to... who?
If they had been copied and/or faxed this many times... they would have shown up a long time ago. The only obvious reason for the poor quality is re-copying to "age" them and fuzzy up the computer quality.

Posted by: mzlrtz at September 14, 2004 12:09 AM

Might be possible? Maybe? A type of type writter existed but was very expensive! Why the mental masturbation games? Maybes don't cut it. These documents are so obviously faked and CBS should have known it. The actions of the people at CBS responsible for authenticating the documents leads a just and prudent person to only conclude one thing. They (CBS) didnt care if the documents were real or not. CBS didnt question how the documents were obtained, if they were stolen from the family then they certainly would be accomplices to a burglary and if not stolen then accomplices to a fraud. Either case that is a crime and I for one wonder why the LA DA is not asking these questions. CBS has not addressed the source of these documents in any form that holds any credibility. Normally they would say something like "Credibile sources within (xyz) have .." They give some information on the source so the veiwer (reader) can determine for themselves. In this case they haven't even approached their own standard.

Posted by: Dave at September 14, 2004 08:00 AM

In addition to the many other suspicious characteristics of these documents, I find it odd that the May 4, 1972 memo orders Bush to report for his physical no later than May 14, 1972 -- a date that fell on a SUNDAY in that year. I would think that routine physicals would be done during regular business days/hours, as would the scheduling of appointments for same. So, if Lt. Col. Killian was giving him a deadline date to report, why make it on a Sunday???

Would the offices he was to report to even be open on a Sunday?

Posted by: Lunafalls at September 15, 2004 09:21 AM

I think Bush is a criminal but with that said, I think these are forgeries and unfair to Bush. There is enough truth out there without supporting to lies. I spent 20 years in the Navy and as far as I know only the Navy referred to job positions as billets. Also, all services used the European day Month year format.


Posted by: T Marten at September 15, 2004 01:35 PM

I can't believe that people have the audacity to offer the defense that these were planted by Karl Rove to ensnare the Democrats and CBS. From the New York Observer:

Mr. Rather said that he and his longtime CBS producer, Mary Mapes, had investigated the story for nearly five years, finally convincing a source to give them the National Guard documents.

My god is that Rove brilliant to have started plotting this five years ago!

Posted by: Jiri at September 15, 2004 04:30 PM

Two other comments
l. The use of the term "billet" is not used in the USAF, that is a Navy term. The AF uses "slot".

2. If part of Bush's military record, even a copy would have a two hole punch at the top (less likely would be on the side) for it to be "bound" to the entire file through two metal sprongs.

Posted by: arnoldo at September 15, 2004 05:27 PM

From NY Daily News:

The secretary, Marian Carr Knox, said the memos that CBS showed on the air are forgeries.

Posted by: Victor Taylor at September 15, 2004 05:56 PM

In addition to typeface, font, etc., what did CBS do about the following:

Military organizations (including the Texas Air National Guard) have regulations governing correspondence, memoranda and orders. The documents originated by or for a Lieutenant Colonel commanding a squadron would have been prepared consistent with those regulations.

Are these documents consistent with the regulations of 1972-1973? Surely, CBS researched that question and knew the answer before it published the documents as the centerpiece of its story.

To make absolutely certain, one should look at the regulations in effect for the Texas Air National Guard in 1972-1973 and match the documents to the regulations of their (purported) time. But, facially these documents are extremely suspect for a host of reasons.

They just do not present themselves as military documents. Deficiencies include (to list a few and without limitation) that a document called "Memo to file" "Subject: CYA" is absurdly, facially deviant from what a field grade military officer would write; that an individual's signature block includes both his/her rank in a particular style and component affiliation (depending on the years involved, an example might be Lt Colonel, TXANG); and that documents show where they will be filed, etc. (under an indication for "Distribution," or "CF" or "copy furnished," etc., depending on the type of document and the regulations of the time) Air Force units used different signature block indentation. Also, military personnel do not write about other military personnel using only their last names, without the person written about’s rank preceding his/her last name, especially when writing about Colonels and Generals.

The above is in addition to the observations others have made that the documents contain linguistic deviations from the military language then in use, wrong address and serial number data, etc.

Also, the notion that these documents are something that a senior military officer such as Killian would believe would “CYA” for Killian’s “A–“ is absurd on its face. To “CYA” you write a document that you file in an appropriate place such that you can point to it later if someone later calls you to account for what you did or failed to do. In other words, you create self-serving evidence that “covers” your conduct. These documents are not written in terms that a rational individual, with years of experience in a large organization, would use to create self-serving evidence, evidence that he would file away in order to be able to show it to a future inspector, if the individual feared he might need to prove that he had not done something wrong, but had acted at the behest of others who had, and thus needed his “a–“ to be “covered.”

Posted by: Retired at September 17, 2004 09:40 PM

Arnoldo claims:

The use of the term "billet" is not used in the USAF, that is a Navy term.

Here's a Google search for billet or billets at (official Air Force sites).

This gets "about 939" hits, for example:

"The remaining percentages include billets at the wing level and below, from wing staff on down." (Officer Careeer Path Guide, ch. 3-1)

"Staff billets above the wing level are prevalent in every major Air Force command and numerous joint service agencies (ie, Military Traffic Management Command ...." (Officer Career Path Guide, ch. 4.6)

"All PD updates, and PDs accompanying requests for core billet realignment or for new core billets, will be submitted for certification." (AFMC Instruction 38-202)

So much for the claim that the term "billet" is not used in the Air Force.

Posted by: Raven at September 24, 2004 06:00 AM

jvtl, Here's a PDF of three pages from AFM 35-13, vintage 1971.

Now you can see what's being cited as authority in

(1) the CBS/Killian memo of 1 August 1972 (whose authenticity is being disputed),

and also in

(2) Major General Greenlief's order of 29 September 1972 (whose authenticity has not been disputed) — which confirms "verbal orders of the Comdr on 1 Aug 72 suspending 1STLT GEORGE W BUSH... from flying status".

AFM 35-13's Paragraph 2-29m, titled "When a Rated Officer Fails To Accomplish a Medical Examination Prescribed by AFM 160-1", states:

All rated officers on flying status must accomplish a medical examination annually or biannually (flight surgeons) as prescribed by AFM 160-1. Failure to accomplish a required medical examination disqualifies the officer for flying duty and he will be suspended effective the first day of the month following his birthmonth, citing this paragraph as authority.
(The next block of text discusses investigating "why the individual failed to accomplish the medical examination", and convening a board on the matter.)

Greenlief's order accordingly cites "Authority: Para 2-29m, AFM 35-13."

George W. Bush was born on 6 July 1946. The verbal order suspending him was issued "the first day of the month following his birthmonth", 1 August 1972, according to that undisputed document in Bush's official military records.

The CBS/Killian memo dated 1 August 1972 is stating just what the undisputed record already shows:

1. On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination (flight) as ordered.

2. I conveyed my verbal orders to commander, 147th Ftr Intrcp Gp with request for orders for suspension and convening of a flight review board IAW AFM 35-13.
Now we can see that this was indeed IAW (in accordance with) AFM 35-13.

Posted by: Raven at September 27, 2004 05:37 AM

So what was the evidence that the memos were forged?

Not "created in MSWord using Times New Roman" — the jagged baseline shows they were typed, and the font shows distinct differences from MSWord's TNR (the typefonts Delegate and Press Roman are better candidates).

Not "no 1973 typewriter had proportional spacing" — at least two (IBM Executive and Selectric Composer) are known.

Not "no military office had such a typewriter" — a 1970 memo from the 101st Airborne features proportional type.

Not "no 1973 typewriter had a small-font / superscripted 'th'" — such keys could be special-ordered, the 111th FIS apparently used them (Bush's own records show a small "th", see the 2nd item in his chronological listing of service), and superscripting only required rolling the platen back a bit.

Not "kerning" — every example presented has fizzled out, and it turns out the Washington Post graphic actually falsified the shape of the letter "f" (elongating the top curve) in order to claim kerning.

Not "anachronistic jargon" ("CYA" and "feedback") — both were in common use at the time.

Not "terms never used by Air Force / Air National Guard" ("billet" and "administrative officer") — the Air Force and Air National Guard use both terms.

So far, every "proof of forgery" presented has turned out to be false.

What CBS has admitted is their inability to prove authenticity, since they can't get the originals to examine ink/paper/impressions, and can't verify the provenance (or "chain of custody").

That leaves the issue undetermined, not proven one way or the other.

Posted by: Raven at September 27, 2004 05:41 AM

On date formats and rank abbreviations:

Have you bothered to look at the undisputed records Bush himself released, including his "chronological listing of service" and the card noting his promotion dates?   A wide variety of date formats occur, even on different lines within the same document.   As to "1stLt" vs "1LT", look at Greenlief's (undisputed) order again: "1STLT".

Posted by: Raven at September 27, 2004 05:51 AM

On the Houston address (with PO Box 34567): it also appears on Bush's own records, including documents with his (Bush's) signature.

Posted by: Raven at September 27, 2004 05:52 AM

Dal, your "stylistic argument" #9 says:

The memos use the formulation " accordance with (IAW)..." The abbreviation IAW is a universal abbreviation in the USAF, hence it is not spelled out....

Are you claiming here that the CBS Killiam memos spell out " accordance with (IAW)..." rather than simply using the abbreviation IAW?

That seems to be what you're saying.

If it is, you're wrong.

The CBS/Killian memos only use IAW.   They don't spell out the whole phrase.

So what's the point of your #9?

Posted by: Raven at September 27, 2004 06:10 AM

Ooops! Sorry for omitting the "e" at the end there, Dale!

Posted by: Raven at September 27, 2004 06:11 AM

Stylistic #4: Lt Col Killian's signature should be aligned to the left side of the page. Indented signature blocks are not a USAF standard.

Look at Greenlief's indented block in his 29 September 1972 order.

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