‘The Horse that Won’t Die': The CBS Memo Scandal

I'd rather be thinking about other things, but the CBS memo scandal won't die. Or was it a scandal?

Consider Paul Lukasiak's latest, WAS THE 'KILLIAN MEMO SCANDAL' A SET UP. Lukasiak argues,

Newly released documents from George W. Bush’s personnel files lead new weight to the theory that the White House engineered the recent scandal regarding CBS’s use of the “Killian memos”. Acting under a court order, on Friday, September 24, the Department of Defense released 10 new pages of documents, including an official Texas Air National Guard memo which conclusively refutes the technological questions that were raised about the “Killian memos.”

And it can now be shown that these “new documents” were deliberately withheld by the White House when it released “absolutely everything” on February 13, 2004.

The document in question is a memo written to “First Lieutenant George W. Bush” notifying him of his promotion to First Lieutenant. The memo is dated Febrary 19, 1971, more than a year before the date on the first of the Killian memos. And, like the Killian memos, this document uses a “proportionately spaced font”, and has all the characteristics of a document produced on a modern day computer using “Microsoft Word”.

When the White House released “all the documents” in February, they were arranged in three groups; “Personnel File from Texas ANG”, Personnel File from NPRC in 2000”, and Personnel File from NPRC in 2004”1. (“ANG” is “Air National Guard”, “NPRC” is the National Personnel Records Center”, which holds the “master files” of all former military personnel.)

The proportionately spaced “promotion memo” in question was among those documents released under FOIA to at least two researchers in 2000, including a reporter from a major media organization, and Marty Heldt, an independent researcher from Iowa. In other words, this memo was provided to the White House as part of the “Personnel File from NPRC in 2000”, but was withheld by the White House when it released “all the documents” in February.

The Department of Defense, under orders from the Bush administration, fought a lawsuit filed by the Associated Press in July to have the original microfiche records examined to determine if documents were withheld by the White House. And even though the DoD released Bush’s flight records on September 10th, just when the “Killian memo” controversy was gaining steam, and released 200 additional pages of records on September 17th, it did not release the “proportionately spaced” memo at either point.

It was not until the date on which a Federal court order required all documents to be released, September 24th, that the Department of Defense finally released the “proportionately spaced” document, even though this document was in the “2000 NRPC files.” And it was not until the next week that the document was made available to the general public on the DoD website…

I don't know what to make of all this. It feels a bit like beating a dead horse, but as the author of the meticulously researched AWOL project, Lukasiak has earned our attention even if he has something outlandish to say. (Thus, 'the horse that won't die'.) I just wish there were some way to dump this in the inbox of the people CBS has appointed to head its self-investigation.

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13 Responses to ‘The Horse that Won’t Die': The CBS Memo Scandal

  1. Mark Harris says:

    The moment I heard about this, and watched it on the show, I said to my wife that this was a trap and that Kerry’s campaign best stay far away from this. It was a gut feeling and then when I had learned that the White House had asked CBS to hold off for a bit, I knew it. No doubt. This was a campaign to neutralize Dan Rather and was done as a payback for his action towards Bush’s father.
    I would recommend two books to read so as to appreciate the full flavor of the Bush family.
    “Fortunate Son” and ” American Dynasty”. These people feel as if they are above us all and that they somehow are deserving to be “rulers” in this country.
    We need to reestablish our Republic and reaffirm the freedoms which our Founding Fathers had instituted as protections against the very thing which is happening now.

  2. first, thanx michael!

    outlandish, huh?

    There are a few key facts.

    1) In February, the White House was adamant in insisting that every non-medical record had been released.
    2) The White House recieved all the documents released under FOIA in 2000, and reviewed them before releasing them
    3) Two people received copies of the document in question under FOIA in 2000.
    4) The White House has fought all attempts to examine the microfiched records.
    5) The document in question was not released by the White House, but by the DoD who had appointed a General to find all releaseable records, and was acting under a court order.

    I SUSPECT that the reason these documents came out on the last day of the Court Order was that the General spent most of his time looking for “new documents”, and didn’t bother comparing what should have been released in February with what was actually released until the end of the process (he was required to submit a report under the court order, detailing his search for records, and probably realized that if he did not compare the two groups of records, the AP would have grounds to ask for a contempt citation.)

    given what we know, I don’t think that its “outlandish” to ask why the White House withheld these documents. Maybe there is a “perfectly good explanation”….

    and the fact is that the media has no intention of covering substantive issues in this election. If they had been doing their job the GOP wouldn’t even have nominated Bush for re-election. AWOL was a story that the media was willing to cover BEFORE the Killian memo fiasco….and when ever the facts are examined, they make Bush look like crap. So I’ll keep beating this horse

  3. Brett Bellmore says:

    How amusing. I suppose the flip side of the left’s “accurate, though not authentic” meme, is that this might have been a trap, but it’s a trap which could never have caught Rather if he weren’t willing to toss his professional standards aside in an attempt to smear the President.

  4. The only story here is why documents continue to be released long after all documents were supposedly released. This is a (relatively) important issue and should be the focus of investigation. Continuing to argue on behalf of the “Killian memos” is merely to waste time and discourage investigation of the real issues.

    It is clear from a cursory examination that this new proportionately-spaced memo does not “conclusively” refute the technological questions regarding the “Killian memos.” If anything, the new document demonstrates the distinctions between proportionately spaced typewritten documents and computer-generated typewritten documents. Being generous, at best, the new document raises doubts concerning the arguments that the documents are forgeries.

    The reliance on the shoddy scholarship of Dr. Hailey of Utah State is also misplaced.
    See, http://wizbangblog.com/archives/003865.php

    Making overstated arguments that this new document “conclusively” refutes the technological questions about the “Killian Memos” will only harm Lukisiak’s credibility.

  5. Brett Bellmore says:

    Neither Bush NOR Kerry have been very good about releasing all their documents when they claim to have been releasing all of them. This really is a race to see who’s worse, to exceed any I’ve previously seen.

  6. Dr. Hailey’s scholarship is excellent….certainly far superior to that of the jerk who blogs on Wizbang. Hailey posted a draft, never intended for wide circulation, and idiots who have no clue about the methodologies employed by Hailey (methodologies that would be obvious to his intended audience) criticized him without understanding the nature of his work, and that it was a draft that was not intended for popular consumption.

    And Hailey does prove that the document was typed. His conclusion regarding the nature of the font used is contingent upon its being a typewritten document.

    oh, and btw, your credibilty, Mr. Miller, is not enhanced by your inability to copy the letters of my last name properly.

  7. Call the typo police. And while you’re at it, turn yourself in for improper capitalization.

    Sheesh.

    Dr. Hailey’s “draft” may not have been intended for wide circulation, but posting it on the internet and failing to point out clearly that it is a draft is probably not a terribly bright idea. I note that many of the websites that enthusiastically linked to the document didn’t point out its “draft” nature.

    As for Dr. Hailey’s conclusion, people can read the link above to Wizbang’s posts and decide for themselves.

  8. Eli Rabett says:

    Try Orcinius for a more complete set of links http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/ The comments are useful also

  9. Mojo says:

    Yes, this is a dead horse. Even if it turns out to be a huge conspiracy by one side or the other, it will be impossible to determine the full story before the election. Maybe if the media hadn’t given Bush a pass on this issue back during his two runs for Governor and his first run for President, they’d have been able to get the “last” of the documents before the last month of Bush’s last campaign, but they didn’t. Just stick with the basic facts that Bush went into the Guard to avoid the draft, did just enough to get by, stayed just until the threat of the draft was over, and was proud of his service.

  10. Now, that I think is a fair summation. This whole Viet Nam thing never should have been such a central subject of the campaign, on either side. I mean, he’s not getting my vote, (Badnarik is.) but Kerry’s got to have done SOMETHING notable in his life besides going to Viet Nam. Maybe he’s got a Senate record he could run on?

    I just checked his record over at http://www.vote-smart.org I take that back, maybe he was smart to run on being a Viet Nam vet…

  11. > Just stick with the basic facts that Bush went into the Guard to avoid the draft, did just enough to get by, stayed just until the threat of the draft was over, and was proud of his service.

    the point is that Bush did not do “just enough to get by”. He didn’t even come close. Bush was required to show up for training with his unit one weekend per month. He went a full year without doing so—and based on the statements by the commanders and personnel officers in both Texas and Alabama, he didn’t show up for the training he was paid for. (Here’s a clue…when Bobby Hodges says he doesn’t know if Bush showed up in Alabama, it means Bush didn’t show up. Hodges was responsible for Bush’s training—and was REQUIRED to “indorse” Bush’s annual training reports. So if Hodges doesn’t know if Bush showed up, it can mean only one thing—Bush didn’t show up, and Hodges is saying he “doesn’t know” because you can’t prove a negative.)

    And Bush maintained his F102 Air Force Specialty Code the entire time he was in the Air National Guard. That means he was REQUIRED to maintain the qualifications for that “job code”—- or at least get himself reassigned to a different “job code” with fewer specific requirements. The requirements for an F102 pilot included not just remaining on flight status, but also FLYING on a regular basis.

  12. Observer says:

    Brett: Look up Kerry’s role in exposing the BCCI scandal, and the lesser but important role he played in exposing Iran-Contra. [Note the fact that he helped expose Iran-Contra makes him a Bush family enemy for eternity.]

    As has been pointed out numerous times, but which you and others continue to ignore, Kerry’s highlighting of Vietnam was necessary as a pre-emptive move. Rove had long planned to attack Kerry’s Vietnam record using John O’Neill’s lies. See Financial Times, 12/9/03 [unnamed WH insider]: “When we get done with Kerry people won’t know which side of the war he fought on.” The Swift Boat liars were flown to Dallas for indoctrination in April, after Kerry won the nomination. The book was written in haste immediately thereafter. The ads were planned well before the Democratic convention.

    By highlighting his Vietnam record in advance and making that the first thing most Americans heard, Kerry was able to counter the attacks.

  13. Mojo says:

    Paul; I’m not trying to denigrate what you’ve found out or claim that there isn’t much more wrong with his military record than he’s admitted. (I was a C-130 crewmember in the Air Force for a decade so I was interested enough to go through your stuff pretty thoroughly and it’s good work.) I’m just saying that, even if you accept Bush’s version of things, he still comes out looking bad.

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