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September 11, 2004
Washington Times: Killian Memo Signatures Forged

Rowan Scarborough at the Washington Times reports this morning that the signatures on the memos CBS produced to bolster its claim of preferential treatment for George Bush during his National Guard duty are forged:

Eugene P. Hussey, a certified forensic document examiner in Washington state, said yesterday there is another flaw in the CBS memos. Mr. Hussey studied the known signatures of Col. Killian on Air Force documents, and two signatures on documents dated 1972 and 1973 that aired on "60 Minutes" Wednesday night.

"It is my limited opinion that Killian did not sign those documents," Mr. Hussey told The Washington Times. He said he uses the phrase "limited opinion" because he does not have the original documents. He, like other experts interviewed by the press, relied on copies of originals first obtained by CBS.

Dan Rather had earlier tried to pre-empt any debate about the documents by producing the CBS expert who pronounced the documents genuine, Marcel Matley. However, a quick search on both men's names is revealing. Googling Hussey leads to eight links, all to professional document-examiner associations. However, Googling Matley results in at least one instance of Matley's questionable and controversial media pronouncements. Matley's support of another weird conspiracy theory is quoted at Justice For Kurt, a website dedicated to the notion that grunge pioneer Kurt Cobain did not commit suicide but instead was murdered. Matley suggested that Cobain's suicide note is a forgery:

As to the last four lines, there are more than a dozen differences that should give us pause, and we would have to reasonable explain these differences before we can conclude that the same person wrote the four lines that wrote the body of it.

A number of readers also have informed me that Matley served on the commission that determined Vince Foster's suicide note was genuine, although that seemed to me at the time and now to be a reasonable judgement. Far more interesting to me is the ethics of Matley, as described in a very revealing article he wrote titled "The Expert Ambush: How To Hold Off Your Opponent Until The Cavalry Arrives", which advises how to stall and obfuscate when presented with expert testimony damaging to your case. Not only is the article a roadmap for Dan Rather's defense so far, but it also shows that Matley is an experienced partisan who focuses much more on beating his opponent than on getting his testimony right.

So now we have the following discrepancies in the CBS documents:

1. Signatures forged.
2. Pressure allegedly applied is attributed to a command officer who had retired months before the dating of the memo.
3. No letterheads on at least two of the memos.
4. Despite CBS' description of the sourcing for these memos as having come from the personal files of the deceased Jerry Killian, Killian's family insists he kept no personal files.
5. Retired General Bobby Hodges, whom CBS claimed authenticated the material within the memos, now says that CBS lied to him about the documents. He was told that the memos were handwritten in Killian's handwriting. His conclusion that they reflected Killian's sentiments was based on that information, since CBS never showed him the documents. He has now stated he believes them to be forgeries.
6. Killian's family insists that Killian couldn't type well and avoided it whenever possible.
7. Killian's family insists that Killian retained a high opinion of George Bush until Killian died in 1984, and was proud to have been the officer to pin Bush's wings to his chest.
8. The memos vary widely from required Air Force format at the time -- although they come much closer to the more modern Air Force format, first used in the 1990s, suggesting that the creator of the documents only has exposure to recent military procedure. Since Killian died in 1984, he could not possibly have written them.
9. The typography in these memos could only have been done by a typesetting system. While several of the features in the memos could possibly have been created by using various types of typesetting machines in the 1970s, no one has come up with one machine that could do all of them simultaneously in 1972 and 1973, nor explain why a Texas Air National Guard base would own one, or why a reserve Lieutenant Colonel would use one to write memos to his personal files -- especially since the colonel in question hated to type.

Until CBS can answer these questions and produce the original documents for analysis, the logical conclusion is that these documents are clumsy forgeries and were produced by someone looking to smear George Bush. CBS' insistence on protecting its source and refusal to investigate its own actions in publishing this story points to an awareness of journalistic practices that are at best sloppy, and at worst fraudulent.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 11, 2004 7:25 AM

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