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September 05, 2006

Appendix 4 of the Thornburgh-Boccardi Report, Leaving Little Doubt Rathergate Documents Were Forged


This Weekly Standard piece quotes from Appendix 4.

Like Newcomer, Tytell came to some quick conclusions. He told the panel that even while watching the September 10 CBS Evening News broadcast at home, he'd known "within 5 seconds" that something was wrong with the documents CBS was showcasing as newly discovered memos from 1972. In fact, on September 10--the same day Newcomer sent his essay to members of the media--Tytell had contacted CBS to explain "in detail why he believed the Killian documents were likely fakes."

Eventually, the panel hired Tytell to serve as its document expert. He examined the Xeroxes carefully and came to three conclusions: (1) Previously released Texas Air National Guard documents from the early 1970s had been created on an "Olympia manual typewriter." (2) The four disputed Killian memos "were not produced on an Olympia manual typewriter." And (3) "The Killian documents were produced on a computer in Times New Roman typestyle."


And even allowing for these mounting improbabilities[of high-end typesetting machines with advanced features used, for some reason, to generate mundane intraoffice memos], the typestyle from such a modified Selectric Composer still would not have matched exactly the type in the Killian memos. The two typestyles are "very close," Tytell concluded, but there are "noticeable differences." Tytell told the panel that he did "not believe that any manual or electric typewriter of the early 1970s could have produced the typeface used in the Killian documents." As the panel sums up his findings,

the documents appear to have been produced in Times New Roman typestyle. . . . Times New Roman was only available on typesetting and other non-tabletop machines until the desktop publishing revolution in the 1980s. Therefore [Tytell] concluded that Times New Roman could not have been available on a typewriter in the early 1970s and the Killian documents must have been produced on a computer.

Which brings us back to Joseph Newcomer. After all his careful study, Peter Tytell reached exactly the same conclusion as Newcomer. And, like Newcomer, Tytell offered a forthright judgment. The panel reports, "Tytell concluded that the Killian documents were generated on a computer."

So, again, how did Thornburgh and Boccardi manage to walk away from their own expert's unambiguous verdict? The answer is hidden in footnote 16 on page 7 of Appendix 4:

Although his reasoning seems credible and persuasive, the Panel does not know for certain whether Tytell has accounted for all alternative typestyles that might have been available on typewriters during that era.

If they were concerned about gaps in Tytell's knowledge, did the panel consult other experts? No. Instead, Thornburgh and Boccardi solicited the opinion of this single expert; then, when he reached an unwanted conclusion, they turned their backs on it.

Correction: I asked Allah to help me search-- for some reason, I couldn't find it -- and of course he came up with it in three seconds.

I apologize for writing that the appendices were no longer on CBS' website. I should have known my searching skills were not up to the task.

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posted by Ace at 03:18 PM

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