Questions, credible ones, swirl about the authenticity and provenance of the Lt. Col. Jerry Killian documents revealed by CBS.
There are very odd things about these papers. Yet, the case for forgery is lessened, I think, by the White House's failure to claim the documents are not real. That said, I have no faith at all in arguments that claim 'if this were a forgery they surely would have done a better job'—carelessness is rampant in the world.
Document authentication not being my forte, I'm just going to link here to anything interesting I read on the subject. I'll update this post in the next day or two if I find more interesting stuff.
- Powerline jumps all over them
- CBS stands by its documents, and a former colleague of Col. Killian's thinks they are real. Col. Killian's son, however, doubts they are real.
- Warblogging.com looks at the technical issues, the possible motivations for forgery
- The Washington Post interviews experts dubious about the documents
- At “The Blogging of the President: 2004”, Stirling Newberry summarizes the ways in which the documents look too modern and then offers and evaluates various hypotheses as to how they came to be that way. Most plausible:
Any expert worth his salt would look at the signatures we see, and the difficulties in producing the documents contemporaneously, and scratch his head. However, if there are hard originals – that is typed or hand written originals – and these are the readable typed or “fair” copies, then the problem vanishes. CBS saw the real things, can't release them (off the record), but can release documents which, while not originals, are copies which have the same content in them, prepared by Killian (his signature on them). They are on solid ground, with provenence, and the holders of the originals – whoever they are – are not bothered by nagging questions of how they got those originals. CBS protects confidentiality, and if need be, can prove that yes, these things are legitimate.
Update1: The Spectator claims that 'a retired military officer' has been peddling these documents for weeks and that the Kerry campaign may have passed them on to CBS.
Update2: First Draft, Now I'm a 'Document Expert', Too finds superscripts in old National Guard documents
Also CBS News has reiterated its full confidence in the authenticity of the documents. Dan Rather said, “The story is true” and “no retraction has been discussed, nor should it be.”