Take a look at the memos (PDF format) here, here, here, and here (main site here), and make your own conclusions. I've been working with computers since 1984 (yes, since I was two years old, no joke), and those look like nothing I've seen printed before c.1995 (compare with this unrelated memo from 1972). Because of the proportional space issue, they are obviously not the product of a typewriter. They look exactly like what you'd expect from a modern desktop computer using MS Word and printing to a Canon, Ricoh or any other modern printer.
UPDATE: a reader to Power Line points out the elevated 'th' in this memo. Can anyone prove this was possible to do in 1972 for an internal memo?
MORE UPDATES: Check out the FReeper factcheck, going on here. You'll find typewriter experts (which I am not) weighing in there.
I'm starting to agree with one of the comments below:
I think something very clever is going on here. I think there are 2 real documents and 2 forgeries. The real documents are the memo ordering GWB to take a physical and the memo revoking his flight status. These are the two docs released by the White House; but they are old news, it has been known for 4 years that GWB missed a physical and lost his flight status.
When I made the statement that "[t]hey look exactly like what you'd expect from a modern desktop computer using MS Word and printing to a Canon, Ricoh or any other modern printer," I had one of the last two in front of me -- I believe the third memo. Looking a little harder at the first two, I can accept the possibility that they were made by a high-quality typewriter, though I still doubt it; but that third one -- if it's not a laserjet-printed document, I'll eat my ink cartridge.
And does anyone have solid evidence that these memos are in fact those released from the White House, as some other commenters have asserted? The CNN report makes a distinction between the documents released by the White House and those that CBS had, which were "personal files from one of Bush's Texas commanders saying Bush discussed with him how to avoid drills during 1972."
LGF, which I should read more often, compares his own version of MS Word with the document here.
THE UPDATES KEEP COMING IN: INDC Journal brings in a Forensic Document Examiner to perform an initial visual analysis. Story here.
EVEN MORE: Kevin Drum, who I'm guessing is a liberal-leaning blogger, reports here that the White House released the memos immediately after receiving them from CBS -- meaning that CBS is the source rather than the WH.
CNSNews has picked up the story here. We'll see if any larger news organizations take the ball and run with it.
Mypetjawa is skeptical.
NEWS SLOWING DOWN: INDC's examiner claims 90% probability of a forgery. Other than that, not much is happening. I get the feeling that everyone is taking a deep breath, crossing their fingers, waiting to see if a major news organization touches the story. INDC's comments section is calling on everyone to get ahold of their local CBS stations, let them know that they'll be taking the fall for the network if they don't start looking into this themselves. And Ron Coleman (of Instapundit sidebar-ad fame) instant messaged me to say:
Hi, Josh. As I have said to a number of bloggers, forget the typeface. The memo is simply not written the way U.S. Army personnel would express themselves in that era. "CYA" in a memo? The use of conjunctions in writing was frowned on in schools during the 1940's and '50's, when these officers were educated. It's just too casual -- "not happy today"?
I touched on that earlier ('I mean, one of them is "SUBJECT:CYA"!'), but didn't really go into detail on that. I've been coming at it from a document analysis point-of-view, because that's the part that sticks out to me. But I have read many others pointing out some of the lingual inconsistencies, both with respect to the casual tone and with respect to typical martial memorandums. The CYA is just the most glaring example. Others include references to 'Bush' without mention of his rank in the second report, usage of the term 'physical examination' rather than the industry standard 'medicals', and reference to 'Ftr Intrcp Grp' rather than the standard abbreviation 'FIG'. I don't have first-hand knowledge of this, so feel free to confirm or correct if you have documentation or some other evidence.
TO THE NEXT LEVEL: The Washington Times picks it up here. Actually, they picked it up off of UPI!
SATIRE ALREADY?: The forgery story is also gaining traction in humor circles.
FURTHER ROUNDUP: Sorry about the lack of updates; I went out to eat. Now I'm back for a little bit, and I'll post what I find.
First, WorldNetDaily has the story here, which mentions LGF, INDC, Drudge Report, Kerry Spot, Power Line, and both the CBS 60 Minutes page and the CNS News story.
Luis at UglyPuppy has a detailed analysis of the visual problems here. Lots of pictures, lots of detail on all of the accusations so far related to the look of the memos.
Powerline has more comprehensive updates, including analysis of the signature, more questions about the availability of proportional type, kerning, and a possible anachronism. BTW: if you're reading this, Dafydd ab Hugh, Balance of Power is a great novel!
Hugh Hewitt touches on the story here, and I hear he had a forensic expert on his show today to talk about the possible forgery.
ABC gets in on it with a story, by an AP writer according to the byline, that Killian's son questions whether his father wrote the memo. It also confirms the CBS-to-White House path.
Weekly Standard has also picked up the story. "[A]ccording to several forensic document experts contacted by THE WEEKLY STANDARD say the Killian memos appear to be forgeries."
And there are reports that the Fox News Channel has picked up the story, although I can't find it on their website yet.
That's it for now. I'll let you know more when I find it.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Scrappleface unleashes more humor. Command Post has a roundup. The Talent Show strikes back, but is way behind the news curve.
FINAL UPDATE (probably): Here's what we've all been waiting for: the WaPo picks it up here, and will carry it as front-page news.
After doubts about the documents began circulating on the Internet yesterday morning, The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor. An examination of the documents by The Post shows that they are formatted differently from other Texas Air National Guard documents whose authenticity is not questioned.
Other news hits: The Star Ledger and the Gleaner both carry an AP report. And look at the spin:
Still, the documents marked the second time in days the White House had to backtrack from assertions that all of Bush's records had been released. They also raised the specter that Bush sought favors from higher-ups and that the commander of the Texas Air National Guard wanted to "sugar coat" Bush's record after he was suspended from flying.
This is immediately after admitting that experts believe this is a forgery. If it's a forgery, how can this mark either a forced White House backtrack or the implication that Bush sought favors?
I don't see any other media hits yet.
Mypetjawa is convinced.
Power Line has started new posts on the subject here and following. This one is the most important: Drudge is claiming here that CBS is beginning an internal investigation, and that if need be, Dan Rather will personally correct the record on-air.
If that happens . . . I'm in shock. I know that others (well, a couple at least; let me retain my vanity :P) have pointed to me as one of the pushers of this story. Honestly, I just got lucky by catching the Power Line story at just the right time, and then offering my own uneducated opinion and hanging on for the ride. But to think that a loose group of individuals across the country could conceivably force the biggest name in news to offer an on-air correction . . . If Rather does this, if he apologizes or even just reads a correction note on-air at the end of a newscast, this will be a watershed moment in the blogosphere, in the Internet, and in news. There's no going back.