Richard Fraser M.D.
On September 8, 2004 60 Minutes aired a report on President Bush's Air National Guard service, based on notes from the personal records of the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian. These consisted of multiple memos regarding Bush's failure to attend a physical and meet other standard requirements. Lieutenant Killian had died in 1984 and CBS relied on the opinion of handwriting analysts and document experts who believed the material was authentic.

"Documents obtained by the CBS News program "60 Minutes" shed new light on one of the most controversial episodes in Bush's military service, when he abruptly stopped flying and moved from Texas to Alabama to work on a political campaign."

" The documents include a memo from Bush's squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, ordering Bush "to be suspended from flight status for failure to perform" to U.S. Air Force and National Guard standards and failure to take his annual physical "as ordered."

"The documents alleged that President Bush failed to carry out a direct order from his superior in the Texas Air National Guard in May 1972 to undertake a medical examination that was necessary for him to remain a qualified pilot."

"A spokeswoman for "60 Minutes," Kelli Edwards, declined to say exactly how the new documents were obtained other than that CBS News understood they had been taken from Killian's "personal office file." In addition to the order to Bush to report for a physical, the documents include various memos from Killian describing his conversations with Bush and other National Guard officers about Bush's attempts to secure a transfer to Alabama. Killian died in 1984."

"Phone call from Bush," Killian recorded in a "memo to file" dated May 19, 1972. "Discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November."

According to "60 Minutes," Killian's personal files show that he ordered Bush "suspended from flight status" on Aug. 1, 1972. National Guard documents already released by the White House and the Pentagon show that Bush was suspended from flight status on that day for "failure to accomplish annual medical examination" but do not mention his alleged failure to comply with National Guard and Air Force standards.

In another "memo to file," dated Aug. 18, 1973, Killian complained that he was under pressure from his superior, Col. Walter B. "Buck" Staudt, to "sugar coat" Bush's officer evaluations. "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job," he wrote in a memo titled "CYA." "I will not rate."

Staudt has insisted that he was not influenced by Bush's status as the son of George H.W. Bush (R), a Texas congressman in 1968 and later head of the CIA. He has also rejected the assertion by former Texas lieutenant governor Ben Barnes (D) that Barnes intervened with the head of the Texas Air National Guard to secure a position for Bush there at the request of a Bush family friend. Barnes, who has raised money for Democrat John F. Kerry's presidential campaign, repeated the assertion last night on "60 Minutes."

Lieutenant Killian had died in 1984 and CBS relied on the opinion of handwriting analysts and document experts who believed the material was authentic.

The following day I was contacted by an attorney in Baltimore representing the FOX network asking my opinion. Minutes later a conference call was set up between myself, two other network attorneys and two executives of the FOX network. After reviewing my credentials in detail they asked if I be willing to give my opinion on national television in a few hours, in front of 50 million viewers nationwide!

A variety of issues pointed to the documents being forgeries and produced using a modern computer/word processor:

Most importantly the examiners did not look at the original documents, a cardinal rule in document examination. Computer enhancement, laser printing or typewriting, and any alteration of the document can be easily detected by microscopic and macroscopic evaluations.

The memos were typed in a proportionally spaced font, Times New Roman. In 1972 people in the military did use typewriters for producing such memos however these typewriters used mono-spaced fonts. The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction high-end word processing systems from Xerox and Wang, and later laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, one required typesetting equipment to produce such a spacing which was not widely available and not used for personal memos to be filed away in a personal folder. Even the Wang and other systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used mono-spaced fonts.

The documents were likely run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old. This would result in lines running along the sides of the Xerox copy, giving them an aged appearance.

The "Memo To File" of August 18, 1973 also used specialized typesetting characters not used on typewriters. These include the superscript "th" in 187th, and consistent use of a right single quotation mark instead of a typewriter's generic apostrophe. These are the sort of mistakes that are seen with the use of "smart correction" in programs like Microsoft Word. A typesetters would have to do this manually until the advent of word processors with "autocorrect"

Variable type was used only for special printing jobs, like official pamphlets. The Varitype machine was incredibly difficult to set up and use. It was also extremely hard to correct mistakes on the machine. Most small letters used two spaces. Capital letters generally used three spaces. I think letters like "i" may have used one space. This type of machine was piloted by an expert, and it would never be used for a routine memo. A Lt. Colonel would not have access to a Varitype machine, let alone the knowledge to use it.

US Military paper at the time was not 8 1/2 x 11. It was 8 x 10 1/2.

"147 th Ftr.Intrcp Gp." appears in the August 1, 1972 document. The military liked to bunch these words together. In the August 18, 1973 memo to file the document actually does have the tiny "th" in "187th" and there is simply no way this could have occurred in 1973. There are no keys on any typewriter in common use in 1973 which could produce a tiny "th."

Although IBM Selectric typewriter with proportional type balls were widely available in the public the Selectric was available only in mono type. At that time anyone who wanted proportional type used either the IBM Executive typewriter or IBM Composer. The Composer was an expensive and complicated piece of equipment which would normally be found only in printing and communications departments.

In the Air Force Memos were not used for orders, as the one ordering 1LT Bush to take a physical. This would have done as a letter, of which a copy should have been sent to the CBPO (Consolidated Base Personnel Office) to be filed in 1LT Bush's military record. Memos did not get filed in personnel records.

In the Air Force in 1971 computers were used only for updating records data. The Air Force was the first branch of the military to use a mainframe (Burroughs B-3500) computer for updating military records. Punch cards were used up until then. There were no Word Processors used until the late 1970's or early 1980's. Typewriters were still used extensively until the mid-1980s.

As far as an Officer Effectiveness Report (OER) on Bush, unless he was under a supervisor for X number of days during a reporting period, no report could be written. Under special circumstances, a report could be written with only 60 days of supervision. The period may cover an extended period.

The type in the document is KERNED. Kerning is the typsetter's art of spacing various letters in such a manner that they are 'grouped' for better readability. Word processors do this automatically. No typewriter can physically do this. The letter 'O' is curved on the outside. A letter such as 'T' has indented space under its cross bar. On a typewriter if one types an 'O' next to a 'T' then both letters remain separated by their physical space. When you type the same letters on a computer next to each other they are automatically 'kerned' or 'grouped' so that their individual spaces actually overlap, e. g., TO. As one can readily see the curvature of the 'O' nestles neatly under the cross bar of the 'T'. Two good kerning examples in the alleged memo are the word 'my' in the second line where 'm' and 'y' are neatly kerned and also the word 'not' in the fourth line where the 'o' and 't' overlap empty space. A typewriter doesn't 'know' what particular letter is next to another and can't make those types of aesthetic adjustments.

The kerning and proportional spacing in each of the lines of type track exactly with 12 point Times Roman font on a six inch margin (left justified). In other words, the sentences break just as they would on a computer and not as they would on a typewriter. Since the type on the memo is both proportionally spaced and kerned the lines of type break at certain instances (i.e., the last word in each line of the first paragraph are - 1. running, 2. regarding, 3. rating, 4. is, 5. either). If the memo was created on a typewriter the line breaks would be at different words (e. g., the word 'running' is at the absolute outside edge of the sentence and would probably not be on the first line).

The sentences have a wide variance in their amount of kerning and proportional spacing. Notice how the first line of the first paragraph seems squished together and little hard to read but the last line of the first paragraph has wider more open spacing. Even the characters themselves are squished in the first line (as a computer does automatically) and more spread out on the last line where there is more room. There's no way a typewriter could 'set' the type in this memo and even a good typesetter using a Linotype machine of the era would have to spend hours getting this effect.

CBS verified the authenticity of the documents by talking to individuals who stated they had seen the documents at the time they were written. These individuals were close associates of Colonel Jerry Killian and also confirmed that the documents reflected his opinions at the time the documents were written.

CBS later changed their story to say that the documents were not authentic, but that the opinions they express were authentic, based on the hearsay reports of anonymous persons alleged to be close associates of Col. Killian, who recall his views of thirty-two years ago! This is what passes for "authentication" in the mainstream media! FYI: Handwriting analysis and the art of forgery detection have many names, including document examination, questioned document examination, questioned writing analysis, handwriting evaluation, questioned handwriting examination, questioned signature verification, forgery evaluation, forgery analysis. A handwriting examiner is also referred to as a document examiner, handwriting expert, handwriting specialist, handprinting examiner, handprinting expert or a specialist in forgery detection. Questioned document examination and forgery detection differ from graphology also called behavior profiling in that a questioned document examiner is concerned about authenticating the writing through comparison with know samples, as compared to evaluating the psychological and personality traits of the author.