September 29, 2004

FoxNews Ain't Afraid to Say the Obvious: Rathergate Forgeries Were Likely Criminal
— Ace

It's about time:

Much has been written about CBS' concession that it can no longer vouch for the authenticity of the documents that served as the foundation of its Bush National Guard story. But another story is developing, one that could possibly lead someone not just to public humiliation, but to a jail cell.


In Texas, the state in which Burkett concedes the false National Guard memos originated, it is a felony to make or present two or more documents with knowledge of their falsity and with intent that they be taken as a genuine governmental record. Under the U.S. Code, use of an interstate telephone wire, such as the one used to transmit an image of the forged documents from Texas to CBS headquarters, triggers federal jurisdiction.


Burkett now insists that he presented the documents to CBS with the proviso that CBS verify them, but there is plenty of evidence that this conversation never took place, and that Burkett in fact presented them as genuine National Guard (search) documents. Indeed, CBS has insisted that prior to broadcast, it was satisfied after speaking with Burkett — whom they dubbed an "unimpeachable source" — that the two memos were real.

It defies logic that Burkett would first lie to CBS about the documents' source in an effort to foil verification (as he now suddenly says he did), and then tell CBS that the documents required verification. But if this is in fact the case, Burkett not only frustrated CBS' verification efforts, but necessarily closed his eyes to what otherwise would have been obvious to him: that the documents were fakes. That alone would probably be enough to satisfy a jury that Burkett knew the documents were fake when he presented them to CBS, which would result in a criminal conviction in a Texas court.

CBS has cause for concern, too. The documents were not just forged; they were obviously forged to the generation over age 40, which has used both a typewriter and a computer to write; CBS did not have to be misled about the source of the documents to be tipped that the documents were not real. While Burkett might have been willfully blind to things that would indicate that the memos were fake, there is mounting evidence that even CBS' experts told producers of 60 Minutes II that they could not verify that the documents were real. The story was aired – or in the terms of the Texas forgery statute, "presented" — in spite of this.

Brit Hume reported tonight that a gaggle of Congressional Republicans wrote a letter to the Texas Attorney General, suggesting that he open and investigation to determine if state or federal laws were violated. The AG says he's referred the matter to, ahem, the Texas Rangers.

Sounds like there's justice a-comin'.

Ace of Spades Justice.

Posted by: Ace at 04:42 PM | Comments (18)
Post contains 499 words, total size 3 kb.

1 What about the guy Allah says CBS is bringing in to prove the documents were typewritten?

He concludes that he would say they are authentic.

Posted by: Roundguy at September 29, 2004 05:32 PM (5lZtB)

2 Ace,

This is a lame comment.

I read yesterday a summary of the relevant state and federal codes possibly violated in relation to the forgeries.


If I can get it together, I will get it for you.

Posted by: MeTooThen at September 29, 2004 05:48 PM (JotNw)

3 Roundguy: Not. Gonna. Happen. They are proven forgeries and the whole story has unwound. What's Burkett gonna say now about his mysterious source? There are too many threads that have come off this story for them to put it back together again. Besides, that guy is full of it and they've already taken him apart in the comments section.

Ace: Does this mean we can expect to see Mr. Chuck Norris making an appearance here in the near term? Possibly with some Invasion U.S.A. tie-ins? I certainly hope so.

Posted by: Kerry Is Unelectable at September 29, 2004 05:48 PM (GMmCu)

4 It cracks me up that it says "two or more" under the number of documents. So it's OK to just forge 1 government doc in TX? Have to remember that next time I'm forging documents down there...

Posted by: Mark at September 29, 2004 05:48 PM (d38jD)

5 This very strange man says he proves they had to be produced by a typewriter by reproducing them on a computer.

Posted by: David at September 29, 2004 05:50 PM (Q3958)

6 Roundguy, the guy's an English prof.
He also worms his way around most all of the key points with a lot of handwaving and "but _this_ part looks ok" comments.

The 'overlay' approach has a LOT of embedded information in it that just isn't going to line up with a sane conclusion "Gosh, I guess those were real." It's far beyond the immediate visual. Individual characters can be messed up - the paper was wadded into a ball and then flattened.

But the length of whole lines, or substantial parts of lines, shouldn't line up with MS Times New Roman. Period. The 'scaling' can be figured out by measuring one line, then setting zoom on the copier appropriately. But then the overlay shows 1) each word is the same length, 2) each collection of words is the same length, and 3) even full lines are the same length. Using a full line magnifies the teensy differences between even different versions of the same 'font'.

This guy is yet another person trying to prove that "It is unlikely this was done on a computer" rather than the real freaking point of proving it could, and was, done on a typewriter. While also ignoring that it was _forged_ using a computer, with the addition of crumpling, flattening, skewing, adding dots, perhaps adding whiteout, and futzing around with a photocopier. Still steamed apparently, sorry for the waste of bits

Posted by: Al at September 29, 2004 06:05 PM (bXUgf)

7 Oh god, the DUmmies are going to be going nuts.

Posted by: Joe R. the Unabrewer at September 29, 2004 06:15 PM (5anNT)

8 Ace--

I'm assuming you're talking about "Chuck Norris" Texas Rangers, and not "Alfonso" Soriano Texas Rangers.

Because if it's the latter, the media will flip out:

1. Stupid Texas, they referred a criminal case to a baseball team.

2. They referred a criminal case to GEORGE W. BUSH'S FORMER baseball team.



Posted by: Dave from Garfield Ridge at September 29, 2004 06:34 PM (mrpxK)

9 It is beyond inane to attempt any further argument that the documents were produced by any equipment that existed in 1973 outside of professional typesetting operations. If you were looking to pass off recently created documents as being several decades old, there are only two reasons you'd not simply buy an old typewriter for $25 to do the job. You either had a specific belief the supposed creator of the document would have used such unlikely equipment or you're just too naively ignorant of the era to understand how transparent your forgery would be to anybody even marginally knowledgeable about the subject of typesetting.

Never attribute to malice where stupidity would suffice. The more we examine the history of such stories the more such incidents are likely to be revealed. The internet hive-mind is changing all the rules and the old self-appointed watchmen are finding themselves watched, and retroactively at that.

Posted by: Eric Pobirs at September 29, 2004 08:26 PM (Yn/eX)

10 Wow, this guy is an utter bozo. He shoots himself down irrevocably on his very first point:

"1. The specific font used is from a typewriter family in common use since 1905 and a typewriter capable of producing the spacing has been available since 1944."

I think the Times of London would be very surprised to here this since the earliest version of Times Roman was commisioned by them in the early 1930's. Likewise, the proportional spacing available from such typewriters was quite crude compared to what is used in the doucuments and produced by default in modern word processors outputting to modern printers.

Posted by: Eric Pobirs at September 29, 2004 08:34 PM (Yn/eX)

11 The guy goes on to claim it isn't a variant of Times Roman but something much older and supposedly common. So common that his is the first claim I've seen anywhere that this was the case. It certainly wasn't for any of the typewriters I used in my youth.

Posted by: Eric Pobirs at September 29, 2004 08:44 PM (Yn/eX)

12 Hey, I hear these Texas Ranger guys are real push-overs. The Texas AG might as well have turned this over to a Division of heavily-armed proctologists. Texas Justice, baby. It's why I don't go there anymore.

Everybody repeat after me, "You will wear the Mask until you love it!"

Posted by: Dear Johns at September 29, 2004 09:53 PM (3trtr)

13 I'm surprised no one has brought this up yet. I've been thinking all along, isn't forging government documents, like, you know, a crime?? Or at least something worthy of a fine?

Also, the press is usually immune to charges of slander, since they are simply "doing their job" of informing the public, who "has a right to know" about newsworthy stories. I agree with this. But what about a case where there is obvious negligence in the reportage.

Can a news segment legally be deemed slanderous if the fact-checking process supporting that segment is found to be grossly inadequate?

And, by the way, retracting the story doesn't get them out of it. Accusing someone of, say, rape, and then retracting it is still damaging to the accused's reputation.

Posted by: Longshanks at September 30, 2004 04:08 AM (aZdyw)

14 I was wrong when I previously said that the major media wasn't going to lambast Dan because they were all sympathetic to his 'cause.'

But being wrong has never stopped me from shooting my mouth off before, so-

I don't think this will go anywhere as a criminal case. Like, what ever happened to Sandy Berger?

Posted by: lauraw at September 30, 2004 04:50 AM (W96L6)

15 Dear Johns:

Texas Justice isn't that bad. Sure, it's the only state that has electric bleachers instead of an electric chair, but recidivism is pretty low!

Heavily armed proctologists...heh. With fat fingers.

Posted by: Brett at September 30, 2004 06:46 AM (d53nZ)

16 Whoever did it is screwed now. The Rangers don't jack around and don't take prisoners. Those boys go for the throat.

Posted by: Dick at September 30, 2004 08:53 AM (hu9UN)

17 Ok, so who do we pester, "ace-alanche", to make sure we get "head-on-a-pike" Ace-O-Spades justice? 'Cause unless it be a squealin this wheel aint gettin no oil. Or in this case Rather Lard.

Posted by: Iblis at September 30, 2004 09:46 AM (9221z)

18 Hello folks nice blog youre running

Posted by: lolita at January 19, 2005 03:38 PM (yM4u5)

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