University Lab On CBS Memos: "Authentic"

Yes, it's a distraction from real issues, but there's been an awful lot of crying/triumphant hooting from those poor, marginalized wingnuts who first
Yes, it's a distraction from real issues, but there's been an awful lot of crying/triumphant hooting from those poor, marginalized wingnuts who first questioned the CBS memos, so... an independent lab from Utah State University has weighed in on the authenticity of the CBS Bush memos and concludes that "All indicators imply they are authentic." This is a lengthy report; read what you will.
Scroll down for the Conclusion and websites. This appears to be legitimate.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
There are a number of reasons for identifying the physical source for the recently released memos indicating that President George Bush failed to meet his obligation to the Air National Guard and disobeyed both written and spoken orders to take a flight physical.

A careful forensic examination of even the worst copies may provide some evidence of the documents’ authenticity or disprove their authenticity. For example, if the evidence demonstrates that the documents were originally digitally produced, it would disprove their authenticity.

On the other hand, if evidence indicates they were typewritten, it lends support to the credibility of CBS in general and to Dan Rather and his producers in particular. If evidence demonstrates that the memos were typewritten using a font usually available in the military, but less common among civilians, at least on this evidence they were right to air the memos.

Given the current extent of political animosity, the voice of indisputable evidence can be useful. In short, there is justification for a qualified, independent lab to examine the documents and make the results publicly available.

Qualifications of the Lab

Interactive Media Research Laboratory is a small university lab that does scholarly studies and writes about issues involving the impact of technology on communications. Among other things, it is investigates archival and authentication problems. As the principal investigator and lab director I have researched and written on these topics since 1991, with more than 50 peer reviewed publications.

In addition, I served in the U.S. military (Army) from 1963 to 1972. For five of those seven years I was an Army illustrator responsible for short run publications including memos such as those in question. Ultimately, I have a total of almost 35 years experience examining document production, including analyzing and spec’ing type. I have an archive that includes military documents produced between 1963 and 1984 and have access to a repository of military documents here at the university. Finally, I have extensive experience using computers to manage and manipulate images, including type.
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CONCLUSIONS
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Since current odds hold that the Bush memos are faked, the question of their authenticity turns to whether CBS should have known they were inauthentic – if, in fact, they are. In fact, there seems to be nothingg in the memos that indicates they are faked. All evidence points toward a mechanical production process and away from a digital process.

Furthermore, the mechanical process seems to be consistent with typewriters used in the military at the time in question.

If I had been one of the experts advising CBS, I would have advised them that there is nothing physical in the memos implying they are not authentic. All indicators imply they are authentic. I would have told them that from my point of view, the memos are worthy of presenting to the public."

David E. Hailey, Jr., Ph.D. (CURRICULUM VITAE: http://imrl.usu.edu/Hailey/content/topic01.html)
Associate Professor and Director
Interactive Media Research Laboratory

The Lab's website

About John Amato

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