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January 12, 2005
How Thornburgh-Boccardi Shirked Their Responsibility

In a column appropriately titled "It's Worse Than You Thought," Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard takes a close look at Appendix 4 of the CBS panel report. The Thornburgh-Boccardi investigation declined to make any firm conclusion on the authenticity of the Killian memos at the heart of the scandal, allowing Mary Mapes and Dan Rather enough cover to claim that their story still had not been repudiated. As Last points out, however, their own expert definitively concluded otherwise:

On September 12, 2004, Newcomer, one of the fathers of modern electronic typesetting, published a 7,000 word essay about the fraudulent documents used by CBS. Newcomer's conclusion was simple and unequivocal. "These documents," he said after much explanation, "are modern forgeries." So why did the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel turn their back on Newcomer and the rest of the body of expert opinion? What caused them to suspect that the documents might indeed be authentic?

APPENDIX 4 of the CBS Report details the panel's lone inquiry into the technical aspects of the questionable memos using the services of Peter Tytell. The report gives nearly a full page of Tytell's impressive qualifications, the most charming of which is that he was once referred to as a "famous typewriter detective" by CBS's own Andy Rooney. ...

Now, after careful examination, Tytell has come to three conclusions:

(1) The previously-released Texas Air National Guard documents had been created on an "Olympia manual typewriter."

(2) The four disputed Killian memos "were not produced on an Olympia manual typewriter."

(3) "The Killian documents were produced on a computer in Times New Roman typestyle."

How did the panel fail to miss this when reaching its conclusions? After all, Tytell's analysis appears in their own report. Last finds the explanation in a footnote buried in the report:

Although his reasoning seems credible and persuasive, the Panel does not know for certain whether Tytell has accounted for all alternative typestyles that might have been available on typewriters during that era.

That, my friends, is one of the dumbest cop-outs I have ever read. They hired Tytell for his expertise in document authentication, and Tytell unequivocally stated that the memos were created by a modern computer. If they have reason to doubt that, why not do what they expected of CBS and get a second opinion? This demonstrates a complete lack of courage and colors all of their conclusions as a result.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 12, 2005 7:27 AM

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» MSM Death Spiral from Secure Liberty
Down, down, down, down....ratings, credibility, influence, prestige...down they plummet towards the inevitable collision with reality. The MSM still doesn't get it, and they won't until it's too late. It may already be too late. Oh the networks news... [Read More]

Tracked on January 12, 2005 9:56 AM

» SeeBS Report Part II from Flopping Aces
Jonathan Last published a article last night in the Weekly Standard that delved into appendix 4 of the SeeBS report. In it he describes how it is curious that the panel would not label the Texas ANG documents as fakes [Read More]

Tracked on January 12, 2005 12:07 PM

» Dan Rather's rather lame response. Courage from The Anchoress
For those among you who are still falling for the "the documents were accurate, the report said so," mantra, Captain Ed links you to Jonathan Last's piece, It's Worse Than You Thought. Briefly: On September 12, 2004, Newcomer, one of the father... [Read More]

Tracked on January 12, 2005 12:27 PM

» The devil.... from Media Lies in the details of the CBS document investigation. . . . the documents appear to have been produced in Times New Roman typestyle. . . . Times New Roman was only available on typesetting and other non-tabletop machines until the desktop publi... [Read More]

Tracked on January 13, 2005 12:14 AM

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