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Please see this new diary for the newest developments, including the very real possibility that it was indeed the IBM Selectric Composer that created the docs.

First, I want to make one thing clear.  My point in all this was not to prove the documents authentic; proving something authentic beyond all doubt is impossible.  You will always find someone who will say "ah, but it's just a really, really clever forgery!"

My point, instead, was simply to prove that the argument being proposed and propagated -- that MS Word and original version of the documents were "mostly identical" -- was a red herring, and that the denizens of LittleGreenFootballs are intellectual half-wits in a very large pond of right-wing half-wits.  This I hope I have done to everyone's satisfaction; if not, read on.

Second, a number of people point out that this debunking of a debunking is a colossal "waste of time".  Perhaps, perhaps not.  But one of the points of the cooperative blogosphere, and of political blogs in particular, is that different individuals can choose their targets.  A very few people managed to track down irrefutable evidence that the rationales underpinning the "forgery" cries were simply false, and were able to do so in a short time.  The rest of the blogosphere didn't have to lift a finger.

And I don't like lies.  And I especially don't like lies that make it into the mainstream media with such astonishing ease.  And I choose to do something about it.

There are more interesting things coming out of this than merely the full and certain knowledge that conservatives can't perform either logical analysis or basic Google searches.  We also have been given a prime example of how the mainstream media obtains its information, and where they get it from.

Original post is here.

First off, drewthaler, in the previous thread, demonstrated precisely what I was getting at with a very simple graphic.

Glyphs in fonts are defined by tiny, minute details. There are sometimes big and obvious differences, but you of COURSE have to examine the originals in high resolution to tell definitively if they are the same.

Shrinking a font down to 10 or 12 pixels high is an absolutely foolish way to compare two typefaces. Hell, if you shrink it down to NINE pixels you can make ANY two serif fonts look the same! Observe:

And in the limit, if you shrink to ONE pixel high, ALL fonts look identical! Why, if I were stupid I'd think it was like magic!

These are obviously two very different typefaces.  Superimposed on each other at extremely low resolution, however, they look identical.

In other words, the LittleGreenFootball crowd has successfully demonstrated that two typefaces designed to look similar do indeed look similar, at small type sizes, if you don't look very hard.  The fact that this "discovery" has now been trumpeted across the continent by everyone from Rush Limbaugh to the major news networks should make mainstream media sources very, very embarrassed.  (It is constitutionally impossible, however, to make LGF contributors embarrassed.  They named their site after nose-picking, what else exactly do you need to know?)

Another definitive indication the letter was typewritten, or at least that it was a more clever forgery than a five-minute Word job, can be seen when examining the letter closely, as opposed to the birds-eye view that the right-wing claims rely on.

(The CYA document).

Look particularly at the word "interference", at the beginning of the second line.  It contains four 'e's.  Two are at the baseline; two are raised slightly above the baseline.  It is inconsistent, even on the same line, within the same word.

This isn't an artifact of a fax, or a copy distortion; if that were true, all 'e' elements would be equally misplaced.  These character drifts must necessarily exist in the original document.  Similar drifts exist throughout, and for other letters.

If you were comparing this document with a Microsoft Word document at a small type size, you wouldn't even notice the differences.  But as we have previously demonstrated, if you are comparing those two documents at a small type size, you are a moron.

Conclusions on the "credibility" of a typewriter existing with these capabilities:

They existed.  The model in question is almost certainly an IBM Executive Model C or D.  IBM typewriters were popular with government entities; the Executives were popular in particular because they could make very forceful strikes -- able to make numerous duplicate copies at the same time, which was always necessary for government work.

A commenter at the Washington Monthly blog had this to say:

Kevin, I worked in the IBM Office Products Division field service area fixing typewriters in NYC for over 13 years in the 70s. I can tell you that the Model D can produce those documents, not only did it do proportional spacing, you could order any font that IBM produced AND order keys that had the aftmentioned superscripted "th."  Also you could order the platen, thats the roller that grabs the paper, in a 54 tooth configuration that produced space, space and a half and double spacing on the line indexing, this BTW was popular in legal offices. The Model D had to be ordered from a IBM salesmen and was not something that was a off the shelf item, typical delivery time were 4-6 weeks.  Also, typewriter keys were changed in the field all the time, its not that hard to do. I wish I had saved my service and parts replacement manuals to backup this claim but I'm guessing a call to IBM with a request for a copy of their font and parts replacement manuals would put this to rest ASAP.

Posted by: BillG NYC on September 10, 2004 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

As I said, I have found nothing that contradicts this information. It would appear you could order the humble IBM Executive with a wide variety of typestyles and characters, especially if you were a large, important client.  It would also appear not only that these machines were in at least relatively widespread use in government and other offices -- yes, even in supposedly primitive backwaters like Texas -- but that this particular typeset and capabilities would not have even been outrageously uncommon.  And as I have previously noted, we have definitely identified that Times New Roman and similar typesets were indeed developed at IBM for the period in question, for use on Selectric and Executive typewriters.

Media Reaction and "Expert" Analysis

So far, "expert" analysis on these documents has been sadly lacking, probably in large part due to the presumed unwillingness of true "experts" to look at an n-th generation document posted on the web, and deduce whether it is "true".

I want to single out one story in particular, because it is a particularly concise example:

More than half a dozen document experts contacted by ABC News said they had doubts about the memos' authenticity.

"These documents do not appear to have been the result of technology that was available in 1972 and 1973," said Bill Flynn, one of country's top authorities on document authentication. "The cumulative evidence that's available ... indicates that these documents were produced on a computer, not a typewriter:"

Among the points Flynn and other experts noted:

- The memos were written using a proportional typeface, where letters take up variable space according to their size, rather than fixed-pitch typeface used on typewriters, where each letter is allotted the same space. Proportional typefaces are available only on computers or on very high-end typewriters that were unlikely to be used by the National Guard.

As we have proven, this is clearly wrong.  Proportional typefaces were available in electric typewriters since the 1940's.  As we have demonstrated, IBM, which did heavy business with the government and military, produced these typewriters.

- The memos include superscript, i.e., the "th" in "187th" appears above the line in a smaller font. Superscript was not available on typewriters.

This statement is proven false by a cursory glance at any of the pre-existing documents contemporary to this one.  Any expert who would claim that 'th' was not available on typewriters, if nothing else, could look at the documents previously released and known to be authentic, many of which contain this magical and impossible 'th' glyph.

- The memos included "curly" apostrophes rather than straight apostrophes found on typewriters.

It can be empirically proven that typewriters existed with "curly" apostrophes.  Many, in fact. Here is a 1954 ad for an IBM Executive typewriter that clearly shows the ability of that machine to produce "curly" apostrophes.

- The font used in the memos is Times Roman, which was in use for printing but not in typewriters. The Haas Atlas -- the bible of fonts -- does not list Times Roman as an available font for typewriters.

This statement is false in at least two ways.  First, the font used in the memos is quite possibly not Times Roman or Times New Roman, at least not one that matches current incarnations.  Second, Times New Roman was indeed used for typewriters.  In the 1960s, IBM hired the original designer of Times New Roman, Stanley Morison, to adapt the font to IBM typewriters.

So on this one, the "expert" is simply full of shit.  There's no polite way to say it.  This is simply dumbassitude of the highest order, and in front of a national audience to boot.

- 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.

Adjustable line spacing only became possible with the advent of computers?  Really?

Hmm, we'll have to wait and see on this one.  I am extremely skeptical that (a) these '13 points' measurements were taken with any more care that in the rest of the provably false claims, and (b) that no typewriter on the planet was capable of creating this line spacing.  The jury, however, is out. Update [2004-9-10 22:22:33 by Hunter]: It has been confirmed that the 1966 Selectric Composer, at least, did in fact have this capability.

So it would appear that the "experts" quoted by the media are not only wrong, but astoundingly and easily provably wrong in their assertions.  I therefore have several questions which I would like to ask any media figures who wander this way.

  • What does it take to be considered a "document expert"?

  • How much does it pay?

  • Can you hire me to do it?

  • How 'bout reporter?  Do you have one of those yet?  'Cause fuck, it seems pretty easy.

In all seriousness, the quality of "expert" analysis surrounding this topic has been nothing short of shittacular.  The press needs to be made to feel some serious shame over this one, and these particular "experts" need to be pinned down and made to explain or amend their claims.

CBS Update

CBS News Anchor Dan Rather says many of those raising questions about the documents have focused on something called superscript, a key that automatically types a raised "th."

Critics claim typewriters didn't have that ability in the 1970s. But some models did. In fact, other Bush military records already released by the White House itself show the same superscript - including one from 1968.

Some analysts outside CBS say they believe the typeface on these memos is New Times Roman, which they claim was not available in the 1970s.

But the owner of the company that distributes this typing style says it has been available since 1931.


Reached Friday by satellite, Matley said, "Since it is represented that some of them are definitely his, then we can conclude they are his signatures."

Matley said he's not surprised that questions about the documents have come up.

 "I knew going in that this was dynamite one way or the other. And I knew that potentially it could do far more potential damage to me professionally than benefit me," he said. "But we seek the truth. That's what we do. You're supposed to put yourself out, to seek the truth and take what comes from it."

 Robert Strong was an administrative officer for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam years. He knew Jerry Killian, the man credited with writing the documents. And paper work, like these documents, was Strong's specialty. He is standing by his judgment that the documents are real.

"They are compatible with the way business was done at that time," Strong said. "They are compatible with the man I remember Jerry Killian being. I don't see anything in the documents that's discordant with what were the times, the situation or the people involved."

Other quick clarifications:

  • It would appear that the IBM Selectric Composer, while certainly top of the line, was not as rare or as cumbersome to use as perhaps has been implied, if you weren't using the "advanced" features -- none of which are used by this memo.  And it has been documented that the military had these machines.  This particular office of the TANG?  Unclear, and largely not an issue, because more common machines could also duplicate these memos.

  • The name of the typeface is is largely irrelevant, as many typefaces exist that are strikingly similar to one another, and some near-duplicates with alternative names.  The presence of 'th' superscript glyphs (characters, if you prefer) in other typefaces is useful for proving that the feature was indeed widespread at the time, but does not prove that the glyph existed in any typeface other than the demonstrated one; so it's helpful, but not a proof.

  • What does the history of Times New Roman, as outlined in the previous post, demonstrate?  That Times New Roman was a font that IBM specifically designed into their machines at the time, and that Microsoft Times New Roman is specifically and very carefully designed to look as precisely like the original Times New Roman as possible, down to the character widths, spacing between letters, etc.  Again, it is documentation that the modern fonts are specifically designed to look like their less modern counterparts; "discovering" this fact is hardly proof of anything (at least, not anything that could be considering flattering to the discoverer.)

  • It continues to be unclear whether CBS has "originals" or copies, but the most recent transcript suggests that they themselves have "photocopies."  What is unclear is whether they mean modern photocopies or contemporary, 1970s copies; modern copies is most likely, since it is highly doubtful a whistleblower would remove the originals from a file in order to give them to CBS -- he would make copies, and keep the originals.  Thus, actual indentations in the paper are not going to be found, nor are paper and ink tests going to be conclusive.

More updates, particularly on the discovered identity of these "experts" and whether they stand by their claims, forthcoming.  Use this as a thread to post additional information.

Update [2004-9-10 21:54:43 by Hunter]: maha has a must-read diary on this subject: I'm an Expert, and I say They're Not Forged.

Update [2004-9-11 1:4:24 by Hunter]: Updated my opening insult to be 1/100th less rude than it was before. (Damn, I wish I could type superscript 'th's on this computer, like I did back on my old typewriter.)

Update [2004-9-11 3:48:50 by Hunter]: Case closed, or as close to it as it's ever going to get. In a new story for the Boston Globe, the "forensic document examiner" originally interviewed by the New York Times, and cited around the wingnut kingdom, is now retracting his earlier opinions:

Philip D. Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe yesterday that after further study, he now believes the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.

Analysts who have examined the documents focus on several facets of their typography, among them the use of a curved apostrophe, a raised, or superscript, ''th," and the proportional spacing between the characters -- spacing which varies with the width of the letters. In older typewriters, each letter was alloted the same space.

Those who doubt the documents say those typographical elements would not have been commonly available at the time of Bush's service. But such characters were common features on electric typewriters of that era, the Globe determined through interviews with specialists and examination of documents from the period. In fact, one such raised ''th," used to describe a Guard unit, the 187th, appears in a document in Bush's official record that the White House made public earlier this year.


Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had dismissed the Bush documents in an interview with The New York Times because the letters and formatting of the Bush memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Bouffard yesterday said that he had not considered one of the machines whose type is not logged in his database: the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the Bush memos to Selectric Composer samples obtained from Interpol, the international police agency, Bouffard said his view shifted.

In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. But Bouffard yesterday provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 -- three years before the dates of the CBS memos -- the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.

As for the raised ''th" that appears in the Bush memos -- to refer, for example, to units such as the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron -- Bouffard said that custom characters on the Composer's metal typehead ball were available in the 1970s, and that the military could have ordered such custom balls from IBM.

''You can't just say that this is definitively the mark of a computer," Bouffard said.

Ooooh, that's gonna leave a mark.

To to sum up, the original document expert the "forgery" brigades were quoting checked the document typeface with Interpol, and now believes that these documents were consistent with an IBM Selectric Composer; that the Air Force had indeed purchased such devices as early as 1969; and that typeheads were indeed available with the 'th' keys in question. (I will further point out that it appears any IBM typeface available for the Selectric was also available for the Executive, but that is a likely irrelevant detail.)

I think we're done here. All that's left now is to smile gleefully and wonder what the Little Bus Brigade will try next... and how many nanoseconds it will take Drudge to link to them when they do.

Thanks to all who contributed to the pushback on this story.

Originally posted to Hunter on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 06:34 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommended (none)
    And since I know this diary is going right to the top, I want to remind everyone that whoever reproduces these documents on a 72/73 era typewriter collects $10,000 from guy.

    Will James R. Bath reveal the secret behind George Bush's National Guard Service before it's too late?

    by pontificator on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 06:37:23 PM PDT

    •  It would cost me more than $10,000 (none)
      just to FIND one of those antiques, much less one that was working...

      The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. - Hubert H. Humphrey

      by PBJ Diddy on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 07:52:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They would just say it's a forgery (none)
      If you showed them the typewriter, they'd say you customized it and it's phony. That's why Rather did exactly the right thing by putting the focus back on the allegations against Bush and the totality of the evidence, and by demanding PROOF that the documents are forgeries.
    •  That guy.. (none) just asking for it.  All you'd have to do is borrow a couple of typewriters from IBM's museum and start typing.

      For 10K I'd even take a few days vacation to do it.

    •  He wouldn't pay (none)
      He'd claim you forged your note on Microsoft Word, and wouldn't pay. This is even if you offered to come to his house, set up the typewriter in his living room, and reproduce the note right then and there. Besides, it's unlikely he even has $10K. Most of the wingnuts that I know are so heavily in debt that their mortgages are mortgaged, which is why they're not worried about the deficit -- they figure that sooner or later the U.S. government is going to have to inflate the currency in order to reduce the size of the deficit in terms of percentage of GNP (necessary in order to prevent default once the total deficit becomes unservicable otherwise), and at that time, their own debts will similarly be shrunk.

      In other words: a) he won't pay unless God Himself (or George W. Bush, same deal) comes down to his living room and tells him to, and b) even if he had the desire to pay, he most likely does not have the means (unless one of Dickey Scaife's foundations gave him a grant recently!).

      - Badtux the Realist Penguin

      Sign of the endtimes #532341: I agree with Pat Buchanan about something (Iraq)

      by badtux on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 10:08:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please recommend... (4.00)
    ... so that we can replace the older, 300+ comments original thread with this updated version.

    And please feel free to use this thread as a clearing-house of other information you think is relevant.

  •  The 13 point claim (none)
    is also false. IBM produced typewriters with varying 'default' point settings for line height, but those settings were also adjustable in 1-point increments. I was reading an old IBM article about this last night when the story got nuts - I'll post a link to the relevant article in a sec (need to look it up again).
    •  OK (4.00)
      so it looks like adjustable line height was available on the Selectric Composer, at least. And while that's not precisely a typewriter, it certainly refutes the idea that variable line spacing only became possible with the advent of computers.
      •  wow (4.00)
        It's just amazing what one can learn when they pay attention to politics. One week it's swift boats. The next it's typewriter info from the 70s? Who knew?? Can't wait to see what next week brings!


        •  Hmmm, (4.00)
          Cocaine weights and homoerotic schoolboy play.
        •  It may be just starting (none)

          . . . It's just amazing what one can learn when they pay attention to politics. One week it's swift boats. The next it's typewriter info from the 70s? Who knew?? Can't wait to see what next week brings!

          Here is a hint.  What about John Ashcroft and a gang of FBI agents serving a search warrant on the DNC and Kerry/Edwards headquarters?  

          Have you seen the story that Emmett Tyrrell's The American Spectator is pushing?  According to their columnist "The Prowler" in "Anatomy of a Forgery" the documents in question got to Rather and 60 Minutes via the DNC and the Kerry campaign which has been holding them since before the Swift Boat attack.   The people at FreeRepublic and all doing research on exactly what sort of federal crime it be to forge military records and the signature of an officer. 

          Can you say "Watergate"?  What did Kerry and the Democrats know and when did they know it? 

          •  pure speculation (none)
            This accusation was addressed by Rather:

            The CBS producer said that some alarms bells went off last week when the signatures and initials of Killian on the documents in hand did not match up with other documents available on the public record, but producers chose to move ahead with the story. "This was too hot not to push. If there were doubts, those people didn't show it," says the producer, who works on a rival CBS News program.

            CBS consulted a handwriting expert to dispel this. On the other hand, I don't doubt that Ashcroft would be salivating at the opportunity to search the DNC's offices. Now there's a fight I'd like to see! Can it possibly get any nastier?? Don't answer that. ;-)

            •  Probable Cause? (none)

              This accusation was addressed by Rather

              If memory serves me right that is a quotation from Matt Drudge and no one else.  Matt was also the one who floated the bogus report about an internal "investigation" at CBS had Rather "shell-shocked".   When one reporter asked Rather about how the "investigation" made him feel Rather demanded several times to know where she had read that and of course she was unwilling to say Matt Drudge© on camera.  But he was the only one to report that too.  But it was clear the Rather had seen Drudge because he expanded his denial by saying something to the effect that "I feel confident and fine, if anyone is acting shell-shocked it is the people objecting to this." 

              This claim of Drudge that he has a mole inside CBS who knows all about Rather's mental state and the discussions among the producers working with Rather must have gotten Rather's goat.

              But remember when a British wag was asked what he was going to do about some bad press and said "I don't pick fights with people who buy their ink by the barrel."  I think the Bushies should think twice before picking this sort of a fight with some who controls as much free media as Rather can.  Already the flap about the type font and its pickup by the other outlets has given Rather not just an excuse to air everyting again in a regular news program but almost required him to demand that Bush himself respond to the question raised by the 60 Min. report.

              •  agreed (none)
                I don't know anything about the machinations of Drudge. I occassionally send him links to stories that are very favourable to the left just to give him something to think about while he's spinning his little right-wing stories (aka "crap").

                I agree with you about Bush. If the man had any integrity whatsoever, he'd come out and clear up his military record once and for all. If he's so convinced of his stance that what happened in the 70s has nothing to do with what's going on today, then he has nothing to fear. But, that would require that he admit mistakes and I'm sure he'd rather cut off his left foot than do that.

                Keep pushing this administration Dan Rather and CBS. You owe it to your public.

          •  Oh I'm Sure (none)
            Remember that such a criminal prosecution would involve the defense calling Bush to the stand to answer questions under oath about whether he stopped flying because he was too coked out or because of his anal venereal disease.
  •  5/4/72 memo (none)
    Check out the word "annual" on the second line of point 1. The "ual" part of the word is clearly a little bit higher than the "ann" part of the word.

    I'd like to see LGF reproduce THAT on Microsoft Word.

    Will James R. Bath reveal the secret behind George Bush's National Guard Service before it's too late?

    by pontificator on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 06:49:53 PM PDT

    •  Wobbly Baselines (none)
      More on this sort of thing in my diary:

      Memorandum, May 4, 1972

      Especially notice that period.  It's completely off the baseline.  Computers create perfectly straight horizontal baselines, whereas typewriters regularly go out of alignment.  You'd really have to go to some length to try to reproduce that with a computer.  As commenter Arthura asked, whats the font, Wobbly Times Roman Sort Of?

      Funnier than anything on Air America: Listen to The Stephanie Miller Show online, tape delayed 6-9pm PT/9-Mid ET!

      by Michael D on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 07:16:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Second Example (none)
        And if you don't think that's actually a period, look at the rest of the baseline on "Texas 77027," as well as the x-height and cap-height (like the baseline, but for the top of upper- and lowercase letters).  They're totally unaligned.  A computer would create precise horizontal lines.  Here's another example:

        Memo to File, May 19, 1972

        Again, totally unaligned.

        Funnier than anything on Air America: Listen to The Stephanie Miller Show online, tape delayed 6-9pm PT/9-Mid ET!

        by Michael D on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 07:36:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Check out (none)
    old school lefty's diary  where he determines that one of the AP's "document experts" is in fact a donor to a GOP women's training forum.

    And if old school lefty has come back and posted, please give him so mojo. I titled the first post "put up a tip jar" and I think people are wrongfully giving me mojo that should go to him...and I feel so bad. Well, ok, it's just mojo, but he made a good catch.

  •  Media matters (none)
    chimes in on the subject as well:

    media matters on documents

    "I don't want to wake up on Nov 3 with George Bush still president and ask myself if there was anything more I could have done." -- Moby

    by lapis on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 07:06:19 PM PDT

  •  media transmission (none)
    You got mentioned in Salon's war room.  I think this should be sent to them..

    ABC's The Note went into detail for transmission of this probable canard in its Note today.  I think you should email them with your old post and this one as well.  Drudge provides the right a direct line into the mainstream media.  We don't have that, but maybe the Note and the War Room will give this some space or at least link to it.  In particular the the textual experiment conducted by dewthale that at a small enough font similar typefaes look the same.  And you can blow up the Killian documents because the distortion is already built in.

  •  I've not yet weighed in on any threads... (none)
    ...having to do with this alleged forgery but I DO have something to offer.

    In the mid-70's, I wrote a number of undergrad term papers on an electric typewriter.  I don't recall whether it was a "golfball" Selectric or one of those standard key deals.  It belonged to my roommate, Marc, and he got very pissy when I used it.  That much I remember.  He also had a car and he NEVER let me use that.  Prick.

    Many years later I came to use a computer.  Some years after that, I discovered what a "font" was.  There are many, many types of fonts.  Some of them are more kern-y than others.  Some are not.  "Webdings" (or "Wingdings" or "Dingbats," I forget which) aren't even actual letters at all (unless it's a foreign language with which I'm unfamiliar...although I'm pretty sure "foreign language" and "font" are two different things...except Russian which I think is both)!!  

    My point is this, I guess...George Bush's daddy pulled strings to get his lame ass into the National Guard where W consistently slagged off his duties and every time he's been asked about either of these issues, he's lied.

    But serially...the angle about the Harvard professor who claims W admitted Bush pere finagled him into the TANG seems to be lost in all this.

    Okay, maybe Bush is killing innocent people around the world but at least the economy sucks.

    by Pyewacket on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 07:22:01 PM PDT

    •  CBS should release much higher quality scanned... (none)
      images of these documents, using the highest resolution they can manage, at least 300 dpi and preferably as high as 600 dpi, and scanning the copies that are the closest to the originals that they have available. To save on bandwidth, they should distribute the documents in djvu format, which is much more efficient than PDF for scanned text. Until they do this, I don't think there's that much more that can be said on the matter.

      Given the amount of controversy this has aroused, I find it a bit of an outrage that they haven't done this yet. They really aren't using the available technology in a very sophisticated way. (This isn't to say that they aren't to be highly commended for running the story and standing by it, of course.)

      To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

      by Alexander on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 07:43:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hunter's story got a link from ZDNet (none)

    Your original story got a link in a news report from ZDNet. Ironically, I found the link to the ZDNet story on Drudge.

  •  A note on media 'objectivity' (4.00)
    In response to your comment: "We also have been given a prime example of how the mainstream media obtains its information, and where they get it from," I have an interesting media story. I work for a small, daily newspaper as a copy editor (I do news layout, monitor AP wires, proofread, etc.)

    Yesterday, first thing when I came into work around 2 p.m. CDT, my boss, who's extremely right-wing, said "We're not running this Bush national guard story because the documents might be forgeries."

    My response was, huh? I found it hard to believe since I hadn't heard anything about it at that point, and I'm constantly monitoring the Internet for news, etc. He printed off an article for me that made the forgery claim ... and it was from the DRUDGE REPORT. He said that until the AP picked up the forgery story, we would not be running anything about the TANG documents.

    Not just at the national level, but at the local level, media is heavily influenced by the likes of Drudge and various right-wing blogs. It's disgusting ... but in the end I fought with my boss (politely and respectfully) and got the story into the paper, albeit on A8. One small victory in the battle for media fairness.

    •  thanks! (none)
      Kudos to you for convincing your boss! Every little victory counts.
    •  For comparison's sake (4.00)
      How did your boss react to the Swift Boat accusations?

      I'm going to guess he rushed them into print so fast he hurt himself.

      The polls don't tell us how a candidate is doing, they tell us how the media is doing.

      by Thumb on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 07:25:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's for sure... (none)
        That's part of what made me so angry, because every time I put one of those Swift Boat stories in the paper, I was basically holding my nose because I knew (from reading this and other web sites) that it was completely false. But do you think I could've printed a Daily Kos post and said, "Well, I'm not going to run this Swift Boat story until the AP picks up this information..." I probably would've been fired. Ironically, right-wing dumbasses still call to complain that our paper has a liberal bias. Go figure.
        •  Well, You Do Have A Liberal Bias (none)
          So long as you print one scintilla of evidence, analysis or opinion that deviates one iota from the party line.

          That's the standard defined by the Media Research Center, which is the most active, well-funded rightwing "media watch" outfit.  Just read their "Notable Quotables" on a regular basis, and you'll see that any hint of deviation is cause for claims of bias.

          The Structure of Lies In A Land Without Silence--Let's put the information back in the information age!

          by Paul Rosenberg on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 11:46:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is too complex (4.00)
    I refuse to form an opinion until Reverend Moon weighs in.
  •  Hunter (none)
    First an apology. I just started to read the last few comments on your last diary and saw that even though you had 200 ratings, the total wasn't a 4.00. Wanted to see what bozo didn't give you a four, and much to my embarrassment, I was one of the jerks. I fixed it, sorry.

    Second, I just saw Aaron Brown do a segment and the entire thing was about whether or not the documents were forged. Only a brief acknowledgment that the content of the documents is not being discussed. The new line now seems to be, that unless the originals can be examined, the controversy will continue.

    So, as penance for my earlier screw up, and because it needs to be done, I'll now go send an email to Brown with links to your two diaries.


    •  Hee Hee. (none)
      Oh please, don't worry about it.  There's nothing wrong with giving a three, anyway.  Just wait -- twentyfour hours from now, people will be trollrating diaries about damn "typefaces".

      But thank you for emailing Aaron Brown.  Let's email as many real media types as possible... we seem to be only place on the left that has such a thorough debunking, all in one place.

      Hmm.  I wonder if I need to clean up some of my swearing, if company's coming...

      •  You're very gracious... (none)
        Me? I hate 3's, which is why I was horrified to see I had done given one, and to one of your diaries no less.

        Anyway, I emailed Brown and unlike my usual self, I was very polite. I pointed out to him that this controversy was started on the right side of the blogsphere (I know, I watched it develop and almost posted a comment about it, but I just thought they were doing their usual gymnastics). I suggested he should at least check out what the left side has discovered, and praised your researche.

        Hopefully, he'll take a look. And forget cleaning up your swearing, this isn't the Senate floor.


  •  Document font unimportant (4.00)
    Everyone, make sure you see Stirling Newberry's discussion of the matter:

    His argument is this: however the documents look is irrelevent. The documents are legally authentic according to the chain of custody. CBS is simply witholding this information to protect sources (and possibly bolster ratings?).

    Attacking this angle makes way more sense than analyzing fonts, type wheels, kerning, etc.

  •  Someone on livejournal used (4.00)
    IBM Selectric and Executive typewriters in the
    military in 1972 (in Florida, not Texas). Here's
    her personal testimony.
  •  I don't get it (none)
    Most of the things they said weren't true, turned out to be wrong.

    Wrong fact #1: Times New Roman font has existed since 1931.  Word processing programs copied the fonts already in use.

    Wrong fact #2: It is possible to get the right spacing with these typewriters.

    Wrong fact #3: It is possible to make a subsript "th" either with a special key or with a simple manipulation.

    It is probable that Killian did not type the memo himself.  Also wouldn't a subsript "th" be important for a Guard unit?

    It is possible that the documents are genuine.  It is not important that a word processor can be made to look the same.  The shrinking/resolution can be manipulated.

    George W. Bush -- Disaster Accomplished

    by Unstable Isotope on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 07:57:34 PM PDT

    •  They could have asked for the "th" (none)
      To quote from a quote in the diary,

      "Also, typewriter keys were changed in the field all the time, its not that hard to do."

      The medium shapes the message -- we need new new media, more biased toward truth.

      by technopolitical on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 08:34:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Freepi Misunderstand This (4.00)

        In fact, I'd say this is an excellent demonstration of Freepi ignorance. They assume that everything, from their policies and philosophies to their technology, is off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all. The idea of things being customizable or changing - never mind being easily customizable or regularly changed to fit the circumstances - is completely and totally foreign to them. They simply cannot grasp it.

        If they could, they'd have realized that typewriters, while rather intricate, are also rather simple mechanical devices. With a lot of models, it was fairly easy to perform custom modifications to them at the factory or, in some cases, in the field. Like, say, adding superscript ths, rds, and nds for users that'd be typing things like "111th airborne" a lot. IBM, in fact, made a lot of their money from delivering precisely what the customer ordered. (Well, for a certain class of customer - large businesses) Heck, IBM still makes a lot of their money from delivering mainframes that do exactly what the customer wants and do it very well. Saying "Well, this-and-this model didn't do that-or-that" simply makes no sense. You'd have to dig through IBM's records and find out exactly what modifications they'd sold to exactly what units, and exactly what changes they'd made in the field and when.

        And as SCO and Microsoft are very rapidly discovering, you do not fuck with Big Blue without a very, very good reason and lots and lots of evidence. They really are the sleeping giant - they learned the hard way in the '80s that playing rough doesn't get you anywhere, so they've been playing nice since then and making a bundle off it. I'd be willing to guess that if Rove started pressuring them to support his forgery crap, they'd very carefully and methodically annihilate the Bush/Cheney campaign, regardless of the personal politics of the company owners. After all, it doesn't pay in the long run (a couple decades to a century) to play partisian politics. You're too likely to get burned when your side swings back towards its low point.

  •  Hodges speaks out? (none)
    HODGES SAID HE WAS MISLED BY CBS: Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

    Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".

    ABC News' The Note (puke, I know)

    •  The Note... Noted Now, whatever (none)
      before anyone chimes in.  8-/
      •  Look at what he actually said (none)
        HODGES SAID HE WAS MISLED BY CBS: Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

        Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".  

        But before, Hodges said that the memos were consistent with concerns that Killian had expressed to him at the time.  

        Weird, huh?  Hodges hasn't changed the story, hasn't seen the documents, but still thinks they're phony.

    •  what's his objection? (none)
      Handwritten? Typewritten? What, exactly, is he complaining about?

      Earth to Hodges: Perhaps the more important point here is that no one saw Bush in the 70s and people believe he is a fraud.

      •  If they were completely handwritten (none)
        he knew if he came out and called them garbage they could be easily verified because they would contain a lot of handwriting samples besides just his signature.

        Since they are typed, along with the right-wing echo chamber outrage, it gives him enough breathing room to now come forward and say it's inauthentic.

        That's how I'm seeing it, based on the really limited information there, anyway.

        •  What do you think of this exchange (none)
          I had at Tacitus?

          Ooops. . .There Goes A Shoe (#282)
          M Scott Eiland (User Info) Posted on: Fri Sep 10th, 2004 at 08:58:40 PM EST  

          Killian says he was misled by CBS:

          Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

          Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".

          [Scott borrows a cigar from Red Auerbach and prepares to light up.]
          "If the cultivation of understanding consists in one thing more than another, it is surely in learning the grounds of one's own opinions."- Mill

          [ Reply to This ]  

          Oops (#286)
          Armando (User Info) Posted on: Fri Sep 10th, 2004 at 09:02:05 PM EST  

          Suuuure - he was "misquoted."  Took him a while to come out with it eh Scott?  What I like especially is the part where he is sure it is a forgery.  A Bridge Too Far.

          Honestly, this is the kind of stuff that makes me think the documents are authentic.
          From the dKos amateur pit.

          [ Parent | Reply to This ]  

          [new] You Guys. . . (#290)
          M Scott Eiland (User Info) Posted on: Fri Sep 10th, 2004 at 09:08:00 PM EST  

          . . .were dismissing one of the Swift Boat guy's claims after a "disavowal" far less unequivocal than this:  lessening our standards a bit, are we?
          "If the cultivation of understanding consists in one thing more than another, it is surely in learning the grounds of one's own opinions."- Mill

          [ Parent | Reply to This ]  

          [new] Scott (#295)
          Armando (User Info) Posted on: Fri Sep 10th, 2004 at 09:18:14 PM EST  

          are you saying this guy was the authenticator of the documents? I'm pretty sure you weren't accepting that yesterday.

          Actually, my point is a little different - first, I don't believe him, do you? Do you think CBS made up the conversation with him?  I don't.

          Second, what did CBS say he said?  That this guy said that Killian felt that way at the time. Nothing more, nothing less. They didn't ask if he had seen the memo, in fact it was made clear that he hadn't.

          So his story is now that CBS lied to him and said the memo was handwritten and he said well, then it must be true????  Puhleeeeaze.  The only way you could possibly believe that is if you believe the man a complete and utter idiot. If it was handwritten, what would they need Hodges for at all?

          Scott, let me cross this guy 10 minutes, and I would have him in pieces.

          The real question is why did he decide to lie 2 days later?  

          From the dKos amateur pit.

          I think I have a good point.

          "We're not criticizing Bush for going after terrorists, we're criticizing him for NOT going after terrorists." - Wes Clark (hopefully in the future J. Kerry)

          by Armando on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 09:20:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  heh (none)
      I'm sure that CBS didn't read the damn thing to him.  Someone was gotten to.  too late now.

      "We're not criticizing Bush for going after terrorists, we're criticizing him for NOT going after terrorists." - Wes Clark (hopefully in the future J. Kerry)

      by Armando on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 08:58:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just a sec.. (none)
      CBS have got to be lunatics if they didn't pull their own CYA and record the conversation in question.  (I imagine he'd have to know they did, too.)
  •  Another comment... (4.00)
    from Kevin Drum's site, which is proving to be a popular place for these discussions:

    And lastly, my father was a typewriter repairman in the 70s and early 80s. The military (in general) used both the IBM Selectric Composer and the IBM Executive typewriter. He used to buy them frequently from military surplus auctions, fix them, and then resell them. I just asked him about this last night, and he said the Executives he got from the military were almost always heavily customized with special keys. He had to bring them back to standard keys before he could sell them again.

    He also thinks that trying to prove this is a forgery based on scans or photocopies is stupid. The original documents should be consulted.

    Posted by: Slipshod on September 10, 2004 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

  •  Sort of OT, "Will Fact Check For Food" (4.00)
    The Oregonian put the AP forgery story on page A2. After scanning the blogsphere this AM, I made a sign which read "Will Fact Check For Food" and stood outside the main entrance. I recommend it!  Mostly smiles and nods with only a couple of negative comments.
    Next week I think I'll cross out "Food" and replace it with "Health Care".
  •  PC Magazine (4.00)
    ... has weighed in.

    A great deal has been made of the fact that some documents that are claimed to have been typed in the early 1970s look very much like documents prepared in Microsoft Word in 2004. This fact proves nothing, because (1) a document may well have been typed on a typewriter in the 1970s and (2) virtually the same document can be prepared on a computer in 2004. (Some other comments on this issue, from a notably better-informed perspective, may be found here.)

    Note the second link leads to the previous "Typewriter Follies" dKos story.

  •  Ding-Dong (4.00)
    Josh Levin over at Slate chimes in on the subject and you're referenced. Good going!

    "What fresh hell is this?" - Dorothy Parker

    by MyDeskChair on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 10:21:04 PM PDT

  •  It doesn't matter, though (4.00)
    They put the idea out there, and it's a deflection and distraction. That's all that matters.

    I'm a thoroughbred racing fan.  In 2003, the Miami Herald ran a story that claimed jockey Jose Santos appeared to have a suspicious object in his fist in the stretch of his winning Kentucky Derby Ride on Funny Cide.  Let's not get into the myriad levels of prejudice and ignorance that informed that story, and just deal with the fact that the "suspicious photo" was easily and immediately debunked by anyone with an enlargement feature on their computer.  But the story had a shelf life of three days and turned into this redemption routine when it came time for the Preakness.

    FF to the fall; I'm attending a funeral, one of my uncles is in the car, we're gabbing, and he starts telling me about the electronic shock device that's in Jose Santos's hand in the Derby, and how crooked the game is.

    This is the same thing.  Just get the idea out there, plant the seed, so it disrupts people's convictions.

    Looking for a Bush smoking gun is a waste of time even if there's ten of them, IMO.  IMO the campaign is better focused on the generalities that are inescapable - he's a stupid lying incompetent weasel.  He and his crew are phony ass.  Their narrow-minded myopia got us into 9/11 - and they're going to protect us now because?  We're going to be living in Mussolini's Italy in 2005, and you folks in the red states who think that's a small price to pay for no abortion, ethnic minorities properly deferential, Christianity acknowledged as the official U.S. religion, and no more tax dollars wasted on lazy poor people are going to find none of that is going to happen, but what will happen is you're poorer, working longer hours, sicker, and have more diversionary interactive reality crap to watch on TV to distract you.

    IMO AWOL or not AWOL misses the point.  Priveleged dillatente vs. noble soldier misses the point.  What needs focus is the bullshit logic upon which they are running. This security/terror crap.  It is WAY more terrifying, on EVERY level, having this crew in office, and I don't think the case is hard to make.  I also don't think anyone needs to point to Bush's military record to make a point about his character.  His entire administration makes a point about his character.  I just wish it would be made, pithily.  He's phony.  He can't be trusted.  He'll say whatever he needs to say to win.  He's a puppet.  Etc.

  •  The Capitulating Moderate Blogging Brigade (3.50)
    It's all well and good to blame the moronic brownshirt fucks and Freeps, but closer to home, it's been the likes of Drum and Josh Marshall (not to mention that idiot Ezra at Pandagon and Yglesias)  who have been treating the laughable wingnut conspiracy theories as if they have any credence. Not surprisingly, these are the same "liberal" fuckheads who rolled over and played dead in the run-up to the war last year (and who have never seriously atoned for their mistake).

    Fuck these moderate sell-outs. Thanks for nothing, pricks.

    •  Didn't Marshall and Drum also.... (none)
      support the Iraq war initially?  
      •  Liberal climbers (4.00)
        Yes, and they were very effective in undercutting much center-to-left questioning of the war, as was the nominal and tepid opposition from liberals like Gittlin and Corn. And from what I see from TPM and the American Prospect this morning, this is going the same way. Too many powerful people with too much patronage invested themselves in this for young Ambitious Pundits to call them on it. Expect their own, psuedo-lefty version of the classic country-club Republican petulant sniff when caught out - Well of course that was unfortunate but my God! look at what the liberals do! Well, we shan't speak of it again

        Shorter 4 Gospels: Don't Be Cruel

        by jlb on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 05:37:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  moronic brownshirt fucks (none)
      Zealotry and rigid ideological policing are not confined to the right.
    •  Drum & Marshall Are A Disgrace (4.00)
      Haven't they, like, heard of these things called "blogs"?

      It was the same thing with accepting all of Colin Powell's UN lies.  We can pretty well map these guys as having the same zero learning curve as mainstream press--with the possible exception of CBS, it now seems.

      So, Dan Rather more competent and reliable than Drum and Marshall.  Who'da thunk it?

      The Structure of Lies In A Land Without Silence--Let's put the information back in the information age!

      by Paul Rosenberg on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 12:06:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's Almost Sunday.... (none)
      ...and Josh Marshall still hasn't admitted that he's way wrong on this.

      Hope it's worth all the extra invitations to swank Washington parties.

      In a "safe" state? Consider a vote for David Cobb, the Green Party's candidate for President.

      by GreenSooner on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 08:54:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's one thing I cannot get past: (4.00)
    Say you're forging these documents to discredit George W. Bush. Let's leave aside the idiotic theories that it was JOHN KERRY HIMSELF or CBS KNEW ALL ALONG--say it's just some fringe Bush hater who has followed this closely enough to write a convincing story.

    Let's further assume you are out of high school. If so you probably you remember that once upon a time your family & the public library did not have a laser printer or a WYSIWYG word processor--just a lousy dot matrix with dots on the side, or maybe an electric typewriter.

    Exactly how stupid, and how lazy would you have to be to forge these documents on the Microsoft Word defaults and print them on a LaserJet? It's not like typewriters that use the standard old Courier font are impossible to find.

    Too stupid to be believed. I'm sorry, I know people do dumb things, but that is just TOO dumb.

    It seems like there are four possibilities about the source of these documents:

    1. They are authentic.
    2. Their content is accurate but they are reproductions.
    3. They were forged by a Kerry supporter--who would not want them to be revealed as forgeries.
    4. They were forged by a Bush supporter--who would want them to be revealed as forgeries.

    #3 is the one that makes by far the least sense to me. If you're revealed as a forger you harm Kerry and CBS much more than and you rely on.... a laser printout of a Microsoft Word Document? Come ON.
  •  Analogy (none)
    These are obviously two very different typefaces.  Superimposed on each other at extremely low resolution, however, they look identical.

    In other words, the LittleGreenFootball crowd has successfully demonstrated that two typefaces designed to look similar do indeed look similar, at small type sizes, if you don't look very hard.

    Isn't this just representative of typical wingnut myopia? Kind of like Bush squints his eyes and thinks "Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, all them evildoers all look the same if you don't look very hard, Dick!"

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. -- George Santayana

    by Page van der Linden on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 12:56:17 AM PDT

    •  LOL (4.00)
      I'd add that it's probably more like, "All these evildoers look the same once you've drank enough, Dick!"  As Bush slams down a near-empty fifth of Jim Beam to powder his nose.

      "One god, one market, one truth, one consumer. Just a quiet peaceful dance, for things we will never have." --Zack De La Rocha, "Down Rodeo"

      by Subterranean on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 01:48:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some additional refutations (4.00)
    Here are some other points that I guess came from the freepers or the LGF, that I haven't seen here yet... I've posted my responses after each item.

    The blurriness of the copy indicates it was recopied dozens of times, tactic of forgers
    CBS indicates that the document they examined is much cleaner than the copies being evaluated on the Web. Since the documents on the CBS website are obviously multi-generational copies, CBS must have transmitted/mangled them several times before posting them. Why, they don't say, unless they were unable to physically remove the copies from where they were examining them.

    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.
    One of the documents released does have both lines. Two are memos to file with no signature, just initials. Offical records released by the White House are also inconsistent.

    Margins. These look like a computer's unjustified default, not the way a person typing would have done it.
    Hard to judge margins - each of the documents released by CBS has different sizes and appears to have been trimmed. Besides, typewriters have margin adjustments; professional models like IBM Selectrics have very good margin adjustments.

    Date usually with three letters, or in form as 110471.
    Several documents in Bush official records use the same date format.

    Words run over consistent with word processor Any experienced typist learns how to judge word wrap. Many typewriters have a warning bell 5-10 characters before the margin.

    Signature looks faked
    CBS's handwriting expert confirms its authenticity.

    No letterhead
    These are memoranda; several other documents in Bush's file have no letterhead.

    Paper size problem, Air Force and Guard did not use 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper until the 1980s. It is unknown if this paper is 8.5"x11". No originals have been released; the documents in question have been copied/faxed - undoubtedly onto readily-available 8.5"x11" paper.

    Absence of hyphens to split words between lines, c/w 1970's typewriter.
    Typists learn how to split words accurately and quickly. See also other Bush records in similar format.

    5000 Longmont #8 in Houston Tx. does not exist
    It might not exist now, but it's listed in his official records as distributed by the White House (available from USA Today).

    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
    The Zip Code is also different from the main Ellington AFB address, yet several of Bush's official papers list the 77034 Zip. There is no further address information in those papers, so no further confirmation is available.

    Bush's grade would "normally" be abbreviated "1Lt" not "1st Lt"
    Most of Bush's official records disagree. His rank is written 2nd Lt., 2d Lt., 1st Lt., but never 2Lt or 1Lt.

    Subject matter bizarre
    CBS reports that a fellow officer questioned about the documents indicates that the subject matter hits the nail on the head; the unit was political to the nth degree. The 111th is the same unit that Bush 41 accused Lloyd Bentsen of getting into by priviledge. It seems Bush 41 knew just what that unit was like after all - Bentsen and Bush 43 were both promoted to 1st Lt. on the same date!

    Air Force did not use street addresses for their offices, rather HQ AFLC/CC, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433.
    This isn't the Air Force we're talking about here. The TXANG main address is at Ellington AFB, but it appears that there might have been a seperate address based on some clues in the official Bush records.

    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.
    According to the memos, Staudt thought so highly of Bush he was willing to pressure the TXANG into giving GWB a pass on bad conduct. Just because he retired doesn't mean he couldn't generate pressure.

    There were several other points, most of which were already covered in the typeface analysis. These are more fact-checking issues. I took the time to go over the entire 2004 Bush military record set as posted to USA Today to do comparisons.

    •  Thanks... (none)
      for all the hard work!
      •  NP (none)
        I should probably add that while going through the records, I found very few instances of a proportional Times New Roman typeface in anything other than a pre-printed form.

        Most of the documents were from earlier in W's career (moreso since he didn't have much of a later career...).  I suspect that the unit didn't get their IBM Composer until '72, and that most documents were still done in monospace fonts - probably due to either guidelines or familiarity.  The proportional type which matched the memos was minimal, mostly filling in forms.  Many of the documents in his file were probably produced elsewhere, not at the TX-ANG base, reducing the number of valid samples we might have available...

        •  Official v. personal (none)
          I kind of wonder whether that's the route we ought to be pursuing. Is there a reason why someone would use a different typist for these documents than he did for the others?

          One question I have is, are these memos A LOT less standard than the other files in Bush's file (the CYA memo certainly is, not sure about the others). In which case, it might have been produced by a secretary and not the steno pool or vice versa. Certainly, the Courier font was (and in some places) is still standard for government work, so it's not surprising that most of Bush's records were in courier. But is there a good reason why these would be in something like Times New Roman (although I'm fairly certain these aren't Times New Roman exactly, FWIW).

          Another reason these might be in different font is if the writer was trying to avoid typical bureaucratic players. Imagine his own secretary was the kind of person who would tell HIS superior that he was complaining about giving BUsh a pass. In that case, you wouldn't want to have these typed by her. But if you knew Milda in the typing pool was sweet on you and wouldn't tell anyone about these memos, then you might go to her and her nicer typewriter. Plus, if Milda is sweet on you, she might work extra hard to make the memo look nice. But she'd be a little ditzy and therefore would superscript only a few of the THs.

          •  CYA (none)
            is very common military-speak for "cover your ass". i hope i'm not belaboring the obvious here-but maybe some don't know that. if killian was trying to cover his own ass relative to the political pressure he was getting to sugar-coat bush, he may have wanted some memoranda of his own, in a personal file, to record the pressure and his subsequent actions. he seems to be avoiding personal career repurcussions stemming from fallout over bush's special treatment by making a contemporaneous, confidential record.
            •  CYA (none)
              That was why I said the CYA was not a standard memo. WHich might explain why it was produced in a different font and increases the chance that it was typed by someone "non-standard" and therefore someone using a non-standard typewriter.
        •  other examples? (none)
          The proportional type which matched the memos was minimal, mostly filling in forms.

          If there are any other examples in the non-CBS documents, then I'd say the "forgery" idea is dead.  Since other examples, however brief,  would mean they had a typewriter that produced proportional fonts in the office.  

          The rest - supposed kerning that can only be produced on a Composer, the centering, etc., can be explained by the poor quality of the copies, and the fact that an officer of his rank likely did not do his own typing.

    •  Now THAT is interesting! (4.00)
      One of your points above rang a bell with me, and blessed be Google, it was a gong indeed:

      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

      The Zip Code is also different from the main Ellington AFB address, yet several of Bush's official papers list the 77034 Zip. There is no further address information in those papers, so no further confirmation is available.

      So, George Bush was using a PO Box owned by, or at least inherited by, Ashland Oil. Hmmm.... reminds me of something about someone.... Frank C. Carlucci, chairman of the Carlyle Group:

      But more pertinent to [Carlucci's] role in later years were the many directorships he held, among which were General Dynamics, Westinghouse Electrics, the Rand Corp. - and Ashland Oil (among others). He had also been a college classmate of Donald Rumsfeld, the present Secretary of Defense. [source]

      Thick as thieves, this lot is.

      So the weird number turns out to mean something after all -- another connection to Daddy's friends. What chance do you give that this is just an accident? It isn't "suspicious" -- it's one more piece of confirmation of authenticity.

      Why the fuck can't the press do this sort of work?

      "Salvation is by way of the truth, not by way of the fatherland" -- Chaadaev

      by sagesource on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 02:11:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More connections... (4.00)
        If the TXANG was using Ashland Oil's PO Box, then it was using it back then, too.  I doubt W was the one that filled out the form I found that on.

        Does that mean that the 111th was sponsored by Ashland Oil?  Or does it mean that it's a really small world after all, and it's just a co-incidence?

        Another tidbit from the Bush official records.  He lists employment with Baker Botts in the early '60s, before he joined the Guard.

    •  Another note... (4.00)
      5000 Longmont #8 in Houston may not exist, but this certainly does (text auto-translated from the original Italian):

      5000 Longmont Suite 9 - 77056 HOUSTON (HOUSTON) - United States
      tel.: 713-899-9797, fax: 713-552-1003

      Any of you in Texas want to phone them up and find out whether there is a #8, and who is there?

      Another one of Daddy Bush's friends, perhaps?

      "Salvation is by way of the truth, not by way of the fatherland" -- Chaadaev

      by sagesource on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 02:30:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just a front address? (none)
        All of Bush's relatives' contact information points to this location on his Guard personal history file.

        Did this used to be an apartment, or is it just a front so the Bush's could screen out their annoyances?

  •  cheers to you, Hunter (none)
    You helped send this stupid meme back into oblivion, and hopefully it'll die before spreading beyond the overly-credible. Now I hope we'll see some people actually considering the content of the memos.

    Because after all: it's their content, not their freakin' typeface, which is the important thing.

  •  We need our own Drudge (none)
    Any takers?  There has to be a leftwing gossip monger with connections willing to give Drudge some competition...

    Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

    by Jonathan on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 09:36:42 AM PDT

  •  This whole episode demonstrates why we need our (none)
    own version of Drudge.  Buzzflash is good, but doesn't pretend to be non-partisan in the way that Drudge does.  

    Of course, anybody with a clue knows that Drudge isn't anything less than a wingnut hack, but his links to non-political news stories makes it appear to those who don't know better that he's not a partisan.  So, when someone that doesn't know better goes to Drudge for the first time, they will give his sensational headlines and "exclusives" the benefit of the doubt or will simply believe them.  

    That needs to be changed by either building a competitor to Drudge or discrediting Drudge so much that everyone on the net will know that he is a shill for the GOP machine.  

    "Reality" is the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes.

    by LionelEHutz on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 10:03:18 AM PDT

    •  It's an addiction (4.00)
      Eever since Drudge scored the Monica story, he's been chasing that high - not unlike an addict who tries over and over again to get that buzz but, in the end, just can't do it. It's an endless search for 'glory'. And, just like an addict, he'll do just about anything to see himself as supreme again - to feel that rush, including prostituting his wares to the highest bidder.

      Fame is best left to those who are humble and are able to put it in its rightful place.

    •  I doubt that will happen (none)
      There's no way to discredit Drudge.  He's gotten so much wrong over the years, yet still gets so much traffic, that it's clear the "tabloid" appeal is permanent.

      What we need is someone else with tabloid appeal, who also has the connections to get inside stuff that will have the press checking his or her site for news.

      Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

      by Jonathan on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 04:20:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More damning comparisons! (3.83)
    I scanned Iraq into my computer, printed it out, faxed it to myself then photocopied it five times!

    It looks a lot like Al Qaeda now!

  •  Case not (yet) closed (none)
    The centering issue has been challenged on the Composer, but not on the Executive.

    A couple more points to debunk and we're there.

    •  Nonsense (none)
      Bouffard want a wingnut site to clear his good name?  Soemthing is wrong with that guy.  Whatever he says is nonsense.  He's no expert.  

      "We're not criticizing Bush for going after terrorists, we're criticizing him for NOT going after terrorists." - Wes Clark (hopefully in the future J. Kerry)

      by Armando on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 11:34:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Case is CLOSED (none)
      As this moves to the cable news blabfests, Democrats can now push this talking point that totally undercuts any allegations of forgery:

      "Why would someone go to the trouble of making a forgery, someone who obviously has knowledge of Bush's significant Guard service problems (make sure to get that in!) and not just use an old typewriter? It's utterly preposterous." The Republican on the show cannot very well respond: "Because we made it!"

    •  They don't match (4.00)
      The centering on the documents does not match.  Doesn't even come close.

      The pdf files from CBS are the only copies available.   Here and here.

      And they don't match.
      Image Hosted by

      •  I got the same results as you! (none)
        Here's what I got:

        I have asked Jeff, the creator of those images to clarify his methodology. They do not match and he needs to clarify his findings. I find it difficult to believe that he'd make shit up, but I suppose it's not impossible.

        It's also possible that he mistakenly lined up two copies of the same document.

      •  The word Squadron really takes a plunge, too (none)
        Look at the way the word "Squadron" just kinda dives off a cliff at the end of the 1st line.

        What function key on Word do I hit to make a word processor curve a word like that?


        "President Bush now says his Iraq policy is a catastrophic success. He's half right." - John Edwards

        by nyetsoup4you on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 01:10:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Centering (none)
        Here is my diary on the composer a couple days ago.  The Composer can center fairly easily if the manual is right.  Read pages 18-19 in the manual to see.  The guy with the Composer says it is difficult.  He is wrong.  

        I think they are using the wrong font as well.  I believe the font is Aldine Roman not Press Roman they are using at the Shape of Days.  I should email them I suppose.

    •  Centering test came out different for me (none)
      compared to that site.When I put the centered text into MS word it clearly had letter alignment differences from the Shape of Days blog version. Maybe a print vs screen thing?!? Also, I don't know how to not superscript the th (which would have been done automatically) and I tied using "111fh" instead for this text also:

      111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
      P.O. Box 34567
      Houston, Texas 77034

    •  explanation of the centering (none)
      The most obvious explanation of the centering was that the letterhead really was letterhead.  That is, somebody had previously typed the three line address, carefully centered, on a blank sheet of paper, and then run off a bunch of copies.  That is why the identical-looking ones looked identical.  Because they were run off from the same original.
      •  Agreed. (none)
        This would have been standard operating procedure, especially for "unimportant" letterheads.

        Or even more probable; because the IBMs could generate enough force to type up 8-10 copies of something in one pass, using carbons, they were apparently quite popular with the military.  Running off a short batch of letterheads could therefore be done without anything by carbons, and was apparently, again, a common thing to do.

    •  Routine jobs (none)
      Maybe I just don't understand the issue, but if you had a standard heading that you used for memos, wouldn't you have tab stops set up for it?

      Even if centering were a complicated problem, a typist would only go through that process once.

      "If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times." ~~ Mark Twain

      by Ddeele on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 02:54:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was a clerk-typist in the 70s.. (none)
      OK, it was around 1977-1979, not as early as these memos, but I did work for the government -- first in an engineering station in Port Hueneme, California, and then in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.

      I always worked on pretty sophisticated electric typewriters. I forget the exact type -- I think probably IBM Selectrics -- but these things had ball-type gizmos that could produce some very sophisticated results.  Some of them even had little LCD screens where you could preview what you were writing.

      In fact, when I worked at PSNS (around '79), I actually worked on a word processing machine -- a precursor to Word and all the others that came later.  (It was a huge thing, more like a workstation, made by Exxon.) Our documents were actually produced electronically.  

      So .. the point is, there was some pretty sophisticated word-processing going on in the 70s ... typewriters were becoming very complex.  No one was anticipating the dominance of computers (and their shrinking) so a LOT of creativity and expertise was going into making typewriters jump through as many hoops as could be found.

  •  Is this Case Closed? (none)
    Despite the excellent research by Hunter, I am not convinced the case is closed.  After reading most of the terabytes here and elsewhere on the document validity issue, I did not see any citation of the website, or the blogged experiments by that website's author Gerald Kaplan done on this wingnut's website:

    another staunch W supporter's website

    I don't believe anything here denotes a smoking gun of forgery, but there is enough to make me wonder.

    BTW:  Before a rabid few of you accuse me of leaving the reservation, please allow all the evidence to be examined without prejudice.  Discovery that the Killian memos were forged would put Dan Rather on the warpath, which also could be a good thing.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ / -LONO- ® \ | Disjecta Membra | | Belligerati R.C. | \ San Francisco / \

    by lono on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 03:58:25 PM PDT

    •  Dan on the warpath (none)
      If they are forgeries, which they probably aren't, Dan might reveal his source.
    •  I've seen the site (4.00)
      and he gets credit for trying to be objective about things, as opposed to simply saying "is too!"

      The first problem is that he said the fonts don't match, and there wasn't a 'th'.  Unfortunately, as we've discovered, you could get the IBM machines with a wide variety of typefaces and custom glyphs.  So merely testing one typeball doesn't do it; we'd need to know all the typeball variations available, and then identify if one of them (hopefully, one proven to be in use by the military) matched.  It's a needle-in-a-haystack problem, and while I hope some reporter gets lucky, it's mainly a question of people across America going through their old junk to see if they have one of these with an appropriate typeball.  Apparently, military versions of the Selectrics, Executives, and Composers were widely available in the 70's in military surplus sales, so there should be some still out there somewhere.

      His second argument is the one that the brigades are latching onto; that the centering on the header is "too perfect" to be done by a mere secretary.  There are several problems with this:

      • As his own graphic shows, they don't quite line up, even if you account for the fact that he didn't do a very good job of matching the relative pitch of the two documents.  Again, there are font differences.  Most specifically, the '1's in '111th' don't match very closely at all.

      •  Again, he's relying on the fact that the two similar fonts have the same proportional spacing.  But that isn't particularly unusual, and doesn't prove a whole lot.  The proportional spacing is part of the typeface; similar typefaces will have similar, or certainly even identical, proportional spacing.  And here, the proportional spacing is indeed different; examine the capital "I", in "Interceptor", compared to the rest of the line.

      • He is relying on the supposition that the centering is "too perfect to be done on a typewriter".  But is it?  Certainly, any of us old enough to have used typewriters were familiar with the count-and-backspace technique of centering lines, which if you had half-space, as these machines did, got you very accurately centered with no math at all.  And, as mentioned before, the two samples do not match up perfectly; if they did, you wouldn't see any difference at all.  But you can see differences; note that even though the '7' in the second line is aligned perfectly, the placement of the P.O. relative to the 7 is quite a bit off in the red version compared to the black version.  The other lines seem to line up better, indicating that it's not just a problem of skew.

      • Ironically, he's using the fact that the two headers on different documents are absolutely identical to prove they were both created by computer.  I'm more inclined to think the two headers were identical because they were on the same letterhead.

      If that is the case, and it almost certainly is, there's no assurance they were even typed on the same machine; the job could have, and probably would have, been outsourced.  In which case, all claims about the "accuracy" of centering goes out the window, since a professional company would certainly be able to center, and do so perfectly.
      •  some winger re-interviewed Bouffard after Globe (none)

        his intro:
        September 11, 2004
        HOT UPDATE: Dr. Bouffard Speaks About Boston Globe!

        I just interviewed Dr. Bouffard again, and he's angry that the Globe has misrepresented him. He's been getting hate mail and nasty phone calls since last night's story was posted, and he wants me to correct the record. He did not change his mind, and he and his colleagues are becoming more certain that these documents are forgeries.

        Though if you read the quotes it doesn't say that either.  Bouffard is still investigating.  But farther down is a post that is really interesting.

        I can personally attest that it is impossible to know whether the CBS memos are fraudulent because so many changes occur when one copies memos from their original condition

        Since I can't currently afford my own computer, I generally have to type my documents on an old typewriter I still have from my college days. Because I want my documents to appear to have been written in Microsoft Word, I take them to my local Kinkos. After 1 or 2 copies, the apostrophes became curled and the superscripts start to slowly rise relative to the rest of the text. After 3 or 4 copies, the type becomes proportional and the line breaks start to correspond with modern computer programs. If I'm not yet out of change, I continue copying the document until I defy you to distinguish it from a Microsoft Word document.

        Posted by: Thoughtful critic at September 11, 2004 11:53 AM

        This is exactly what happens. We are seeing many generations past the originals.  

        But I think we should keep saying that these documents are redundant.  They only reenforce stuff we already know about George Bush. That despite orders he decided against military rules and orders to refuse to take his mandatory flight physical. Rules did not apply to him. He thought his family and political influence kept him from doing what others in his circumstances would have to do -- show up.  He was no where to be seen at drills from May Oct. 72.  He was honorably discharged due to politial influence.

    •  About the centering... (none)
      .. this guy says:

      Two of the memos, May 4 and August 1, 1972, feature a three-line centered head. Each of those lines of type had to be centered by measuring it carefully, doing some math, then advancing the carrier to just the right point on the page.The margin for error would be pretty wide because type can be off by a few points in either direction and still look pretty well centered. It wouldn't be objectionable unless you went looking for it. So it wasn't necessary for Lt. Col. Killian -- or his typist -- to be millimeter-precise.

      And yet ... he was.

      Here he is being suspicious that the two centered headings are exactly the same in memos produced three months apart.

      Yet .. has anyone considered that the headings may have been pre-printed on the page -- that they might have been using basically some letterhead paper?

      When I worked as a clerk-typist for the Navy in the 70s, that's exactly what we had -- for letters and memos there was a pre-printed letterhead.  After all, you don't want to be typing in the same thing over and over and over again. Obviously, if all memos are coming out of the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, it makes sense to have pages that have that printed on them.

  •  Case closed. Really. (none)
    I think The Case Of The Forgery That Wasn't was closed when the White House started distributing the documents without questioning them.

    All other questions are theoretical.

  •  Wingnuts accidentally put to rest MS Word theory (none)
    Posted a diary on this, but it will probably be better read here:

    The cretins at Little Green Footballs thought they were proving forgery but actually are helping to disprove it. One of them made an animated .gif and has it displayed very small (of course) here. Most of the LGF crowd was amazed by this supposed "proof" of forgery, but one of them accurately points out that this makes it quite obvious that in fact these are two different versions of the same font.

    See for yourself. Open Windows Media Player, then go to File and Open URL and enter this address:

    Now you can see it nice and big -- go to View and Full Screen.

    The serifs are the DEAD GIVEAWAY that this is not the same Times New Roman font that is in MS Word. For example, look at how the bottom of the small 'i' changes. A serif appears on the bottom left in the older version of the font used in the CBS memos. In fact serifs are popping up all over. Look at the capital 'H' letters. Look at the bottom of the small 'm' letters (as Viktor mentions in my diary).

    As LGF poster itellu3times helpfully points out: "It's clearly two different versions of the same font, the serifs on the older one are thicker and squarer, the loops are smaller, all the strokes are thicker and more consistent, the cross on the lower-case t's are in a different place, alignment to base is different, but the simplest to see are still the top of the J in the word SUBJECT and all sorts of features on the F in the word File at the top of the memo. There is no way these are distortions, they are different font designs, different implementations of Times New Roman (or imitations thereof), and apparently designed for different technologies, one for hitting ribbons, the other for laser printers and ink-jets."

    Thanks, guys :)

    •  Nice. (none)
      I recommended it.  I've also been arguing gently with the people at shapeofdays, over the same points.

      Suffice it to say that what they consider "identical" is... surprising.  They did get a Composer with a number of typeheads, and haven't been able to duplicate the memos using them, but I have certain skepticisms about their Composer expert's attempt.

  •  Let's look at IBM Composer font specimens (none)
  •  Vertical Placement of Superscript "th" (none)
    In attempting to reproduce the CYA memo in Word Times Roman, the vertical placement of the superscript "th" is different.  In the actual memo the superscript "t" is crossed above 187, while in Word the "t" is crossed below the 187 (same thing with the round part of the "h"). This is especially obvious if you blow up both to 200% the original size.

    I apologize if this point has already been made; I haven't read all the comments.

  •  Holy Crap (none)
    Please see my new diary, here, for what could be a huge "development", as Drudge would say.

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