CBS' Own Experts Warned Network Purported Killian Memos May Not Be Authentic
New developments add to the growing list of questions about the authenticity of memos, shown on CBS' 60 Minutes II a week ago, purporting to show President Bush disobeyed a direct order and failed to fulfill his National Guard obligations in the 1970s. ABC World News Tonight said last night that "the two experts hired by CBS News said the network ignored concerns they raised prior to the broadcast" about the memos. "A certified examiner from North Carolina said she found problems with the one document that CBS hired her to check in the days before the broadcast." That expert, Emily Will, was shown saying, "I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting. And I found problems with the printing itself, as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter." Will "says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns. And urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents." Will: "I told them that all the questions I was asking them at that time, which was Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story." The Washington Post interviews a second expert hired by CBS, Linda James, who "said that she told CBS the documents 'had problems' and that she had questioned 'whether they were produced on a computer.'" A third document consultant, Marcel Matley, "told The Post on Monday that although he vouched for the signature of Bush's former squadron commander, the late Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, there was 'no way' he could authenticate Killian's purported memos because they were copies." During the CBS' 60 Minutes II broadcast, notes ABC, "CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity of the documents."
Meanwhile, says the Washington Post, CBS "continued to strongly defend the authenticity of the memos." CBS News Senior Vice President Betsy West said last night, "As far as I know, Linda James raised no objections. She said she'd have to see more documents to render a judgment." As for Will's account, West said, "I'm not aware of any substantive objection she raised. Emily Will did not urge us to hold the story. She was not adamant in any way. At one point she raised a concern about a superscript 'th,' which we then discussed with the other experts we hired to examine all four of the documents we aired. We were assured the 'th' was consistent with technology at the time, an assessment that has since been backed up by other experts.'" CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius "added that both women 'played a peripheral role and deferred to another expert,' Matley. But James said she did not defer to Matley and merely recommended him to CBS. The network says it relied on two additional document experts, whose names have not been made public."
Killian's Former Secretary Says CBS Memos Were Forged, But Reflect Killian's Opinion Of Bush.
The Dallas Morning News reports today that Marian Carr Knox, who was Killian's secretary and "typed all of his memos," said in an interview "the documents are fake," even if "they reflect documents that once existed." Knox, "who worked from 1957 to 1979 at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, said that she prided herself on meticulous typing and that the memos first disclosed by CBS News last week were not her work. . . . 'These are not real,' she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. They're not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him.'" Knox did say, however, that the content of the memos is accurate in that it reflects Killian's opinion of Bush at the time and her own recollection of then-young lieutenant. The New York Times notes Knox is not a supporter of the President's, and "said she had never voted for Mr. Bush because she disliked his record in office."