Bolo Boffin: Burkett Is The Forger

After he received the documents in Houston, Burkett said, he drove home, stopping on the way at a Kinko's shop in Waco to copy the six memos. In the parking lot outside, he said, he burned the ones he had been given and the envelope they were in. Ramirez was worried about leaving forensic evidence on them that might lead back to her, Burkett said, acknowledging that the story sounded fantastic. "This is going to sound like some damn sci-fi movie," he said.
My first position on this was that the documents were forgeries. I backed off of that, because I saw how well they fit in with official documents, and technology of the time could have produced those documents. But when Marian Knox gave her testimony, that was that for me. She was in the position to know, and she declared them fake.

At that point, though I didn't blog it, my suspicions were that Bill Burkett was the source for the memos. My gut was giving me 5-3 odds on it.

Since my intuition has proven right twice in this debacle, I'm going long and loud with this post: in my opinion, Burkett is the forger. He claims to have had the original documents in his hand, and he destroyed them to protect any forensic evidence from his source, Lucy Ramirez. Then he lied about the source, citing "pressure" from CBS News.

I just can't believe this story. I have great sympathy for the struggles that Burkett has been enduring, I do. But the destruction of the original documents is an inexcusable error. Burkett has only himself to blame for suspicions coming upon him now.

Kerry's Plan for Iraq

In his remarks, Kerry laid out the steps we must now take. First, the president must secure international support. Second, we must commit to a serious effort to train Iraqi security forces. Third, we must carry out a reconstruction plan that brings benefits to the Iraqi people, and fourth, we must take the necessary steps to hold elections next year.
Kerry made a very good point: one of America's true strengths in the past is our good relationship with other nations. Bush has strained these relationships and made America weaker. If the Iraq intervention had been a truly international effort, the insurgency would have been denied a potent propaganda device. America would not be shouldering the costs of this war, both money and blood.

CBS Regrets Bush Memos Story

CBS News

As I've been saying for a couple of days now, the memos are forgeries. CBS News is trying hard to recover from this, but they're going to take a big hit over this. Their recovery will be down the road.

Burkett is completely destroyed as a source. He's evidently refusing to tell CBS where he got the documents. Okay, then. He's got to expect that people will assume they came from his own hand then. It's a reasonable assumption.

This will overwhelm the whole AWOL story for a while, but real questions are still being raised by many different media outlets, questions that have never relied on these memos. The truth will out, as CBS has learned the hard way.

Why the Killian Memos are Fake But Accurate The Paper Trail

As Kevin Drum says, this is a devastating page for the authenticity of CBS's Killian memos.

However, I'm going to take issue with their four "content" points, because there are several people who verify the content of these memos.

First, the forged 19 May 72 memo claims Bush is going to work on another campaign for his dad. The Post notes:

Bush was working on the campaign for family friend, not his father.
This doesn't take the recent testimony of the widow of the family friend, who says that Bush's father asked her husband to find Bush a place on the Alabama campaign. Since Bush's father was the initiator, this is a perfectly understandable statement from Bush under the circumstances.

Bush had already worked on one campaign while being in the Guard - this is reflected in the use of the word "another". The memo conforms in content here with the actual circumstances.

Second, the 1 August 72 memo uses Bush's service number to identify him, not his Social Security number. This is a stylistic error and not a content error as the Post indicates. The service number is correct, after all.

Third, the 18 August 73 memo has Staudt pressuring Hodges about Bush. The Post notes:
Staudt retired in March 72, 17 months before memo was written.
This is something that Killian's secretary, Marian Carr Knox, confirmed. Staudt was a well respected officer in the Texas ANG. He remained a political player after his retirement, and the idea that he lost every scrap of influence in the Texas ANG after retirement is ludicrous.

Fourth, the 18 August 73 memo says that "Austin is not happy today either." The Post notes:
Aug. 18 was a Saturday. It is unlikely that ANG conducted business with "Austin" on Saturday.
"Austin" is headquarters for the entire Texas National Guard. Since drills were conducted on weekends, I find it unlikely that someone wasn't at Austin to take or make phone calls.

The Post also circles the "today" in this statement: "Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR..." If the call had come in Friday and Killian not there, he would have gotten the message the next day, on Saturday. That's how I read that statement.

All the other points I take. There are many stylistic and typographical differences between CBS's Killian memos and official Killian memos. But all the content is accurate, as Bobby Hodges, Marian Knox, and the White House's initial acceptance have confirmed. That means that someone forged this documents by copying real memos. Knox suggested that this would protect the forger from charges for leaking confidential papers. That's a very plausible scenario to me.