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Monday, January 10, 2005

CBS Report Won't Say Documents Were Fake

My first scan of the report comes upon this passage in the executive summary:

"The Panel was not able to reach a definitive conclusion as to the authenticity of the Killian documents."

This is puzzling because the passage that follows begins what thus far appears to me to be a rather damning indictment:

"However, Mapes made oral and written presentations to the Panel during its investigation in an effort to demonstrate that the content of the Killian documents was in fact authentic. These presentations were done primarily by comparing the Killian documents with official Bush records to show how well she believed that the Killian documents “meshed” with the official Bush records.
"The Panel finds that the meshing analysis submitted by Mapes does not withstand scrutiny for two reasons. First, in many instances, the content of the Killian documents does not mesh well substantively with the official Bush records. Second, the Killian documents vary in significant ways from the standard format and jargon of documents issued by the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group in the early 1970s.

"Thus, the Panel believes that there remain substantial questions regarding the authenticity of the Killian documents. The Panel believes that careful reporting prior to airing the Segment should have identified these questions and, at a minimum, should have delayed the broadcast so that more reporting could be conducted."

That last observation that the broadcast at a minimum should have been delayed is a careful way of saying the principals involved in the preparation of the segment were simply irresponsible. It's a 234 page report (not counting appendices), so much more analysis is needed.