Skip to comments.Are the CBS National Guard Documents Fake? (UPDATED: "At Least" 90% Positive They're Fake)
Posted on 09/09/2004 1:22:10 PM PDT by TastyManatees
Are the CBS National Guard Documents Fake?
(UPDATED: "At Least" 90% Positive They're Fake)
INDC Exclusive. Must Credit INDC.
Based on Powerline's suspicions of forgery over the documents put forth regarding George W. Bushs National Guard service, I decided to do some legwork and track down the opinions of forensic document examiners that may have an expertise in old typefaces.
After contacting several experts, a rather notable Forensic Document Examiner named Dr. Philip Bouffard took the time to examine a pdf of the documents and perform an initial visual analysis of their authenticity. Dr. Bouffard has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Michigan, but got involved in forensic examination of typefaces after working in graphics with NCR until 1973 and taking a two-year Certification Program in Document Examination at Georgetown University. After completing the program, he became specifically interested in typewriter classification and went to work for a prosecutors crime lab in Lake County, Ohio.
Using something called the Haas Atlas, the definitive collection of various typefaces, Mr. Bouffard (and other forensic document examiners) examined the veracity of various documents for over 30 years. Beginning in 1988, Mr. Bouffard hired a programmer to write a computer database program that catalogues the nearly 4,000 typefaces that appear in the Haas Atlas. This computer program is now a forensic standard that is sold as a companion to the Haas Atlas by American Society of Questioned Document Examiners (ASQDE).
UPDATE: The name of the program that Dr. Bouffard developed is called "The Typewriter Typestyle Classification Program" (C:\TYPE).
What did Dr. Bouffard think of the documents?
First, the necessary caveats:
The pdf document is of poor quality. It seems to have been copied and recopied several times, blurring letter characteristics.
Also, certain types of analysis can only be done on the original documents, which dont seem to be available, even to CBS.
So Dr. Bouffard is very clear that his analysis is not 100% positive. That being said
Its just possible that this might be a Times Roman font, which means that it would have been created on a computer. Its very possible that someone decided to create this document on a computer... Ive run across this situation before my gut is this could just well be a fabrication.
The reasons why?
Right off the bat, Dr. Bouffard noted what others in the blogosphere have been talking about something called proportional spacing, which means that each letter does not take up the same amount of width on the page. On old typewriters that do not have proportional spacing, the letter i would be as wide as the letter m. Except for professional typesetting, proportional spacing was only available on a very few models (an IBM model, "Composer" and perhaps one or two other models) that were not widely available in 1972-73; the vast majority of typewriters did not have proportional spacing. Because of this, Dr. Bouffards computer program immediately eliminated over 90% of the possible fonts from typewriters that could create such a document, narrowing it down to perhaps 15 fonts used by a very few models.
Next, Dr. Bouffard began entering individual characters in an attempt to match them to the remaining fonts that were available on proportional spacing typewriters of that era, focusing on numbers. Thus far, one character stood out, the number 4. In the document provided by CBS News, the number 4 does not "have a foot" and has a closed top, which is indicative of Times New Roman, a font exclusive to more modern computer word processing programs. other characters matched the old proportional spacing fonts (available on only a small few typewriters of the era), but this number did not (please note that this is only an initial analysis with numerical characters).
Dr. Bouffard ran this number and could not find a match in his entire database of over 4,000 typewriter fonts that have been maintained and collected into his computer database since 1988. Otherwise, the font is very indicative of Times New Roman, the font that is only available on computer word processing programs.
The final word?
Once again, lets not forget the qualifications: it's a bad copy of a copy and we have no original document for review, but, based on the initial analysis of the documents by an industry expert with over 30 years of experience in typesetting and forensic document examination, the documents could just well be a fabrication.
In light of this information, I think that it would be highly appropriate for CBS News and the Boston Globe to attempt to obtain a copy of the original document for more thorough vetting, and run a correction/addendum to the story.
I still have two other forensic document examiners that are examining the pdf file, and I will update if/when they get back to me. I also plan to ask Dr. Bouffard more detail about the nature of the "th" on the end of dates, though in our first conversation he indicated that some typewriters had the capability to do something in that format.
UPDATE: Dr. Bouffard called me again, and after further analysis, he says that he's pretty certain that it's a fake.
* He looked through old papers he's written, and noted that he's come up against the inconsistency of the "4" several previous times with forgeries that attempt to duplicate old proportional spaced documents with a computer word processing program.
* Regarding the small "th" after the date, Dr. Bouffard told me that it was possible to order specialty keys that would duplicate the automatic miniaturization completed by word processors after a numerical date, but it was certainly not standard, and wouldn't make a lot of sense in a military setting. "That by itself, while suspicious, is not impossible, but in conjunction with the (font irregularity of the) number four, it is really significant," he said.
* Dr. Bouffard said that signature analysis isn't that relevant because the signature could have easily been copied and pasted onto one of the photocopied forgeries from another document.
* He said that he didn't know who CBS contacted to verify the document's authenticity, but that there is really only one other man that may be more qualified to determine authentic typefaces than himself. I think that the burden of proof may be on CBS to reveal this information.
I asked him to put a percentage on the chances that this was a fake, and he said that was "hard to put a number on it." I then suggested "90%?" Again he said it's "hard to put an exact number, but I'd say it's at least that high, sure. I pretty much agree that that font is Times New Roman."
I hesitate to render verdicts, but based on an initial visual analysis by one of the country's foremost forensic document analysts that specializes in old typefaces, it looks like CBS was duped.
uh... the production rooms of networks and webmasters of news sites are still filled with computer dorks, not journalists.
Ever seen that story with a pile of documents, then one of them flies up, then a line highlights and is "pulled out" so you can read it.
You think they use the actual documents to do that? Do they make it look like "actual documents"?
Did they re-record the translators voice for the Saddam interview because they didn't like the sound of the original?
It isn't just journalists in the production room. There are creative types, producers, and production artists. Believe me it is no trouble, would only take 5 seconds, and would be done at a whim because the producer thought the original didn't look "military" enough...
Besides we cover our ass if we pitch this story as:
Are those images of the real documents? Because those documents are not period, and are forgeries...
Watch as the CSI crew investigates their own network's participation in slander, libel and outright forgery. Special guest star James Carville gets maced, billy clubbed and cuffed by Captain Brass.
Nope. You forgot about rope-a-dope. It's too early. Let the Democrats get all their morons across this bridge..... then blow it up.
Different printers may produce slightly different outputs.
At a minimum, CBS should immediately bring forward the document expert they consulted. If this is a forgery, I expect the original source of the documents will have had some flimsy pretext for demanding anonymity, but CBS's own expert is fair game.
W will ignore this amd let refutation be taken care of by folks who are not part of his campaign. He doesnt even have to tell anyone to do it. Actually I dont think we need to bother with this at all. It only has the legs we give it. Frenchie would have takenmuch less damage from the swifties if he had kept the "refutation" far from his organization.
Agreed. I was defending a couple of posters who actually knew about proportional-font typewriters and were getting slammed for raising legitimate questions. I still think there are some features of the docs that look typed. But gosh, how incompetent must CBS be, to release word-processed documents that purport to date from 1973?
I'm impressed, and I've been looking at typefaces for over fourty years. Different versions of the same typeface are always a bit different. For one thing, they have to be jiggered to display pleasntly on a computer screen. Same holds for computer printers.
One thing few people know is that real (lead) fonts are tweaked for each type size. The proportions are jiggered to hold ink and look good for each size. This is not done by TrueType, and I doubt it it's done much at all in word processing.
I have catalogs of "professional" computer fonts. Some of them cost several hundred dollars for a single typeface.
Think about it. We're talking about the Left here. They believe you should be out working like a pack animal and sending everything you make so they can let you live in a highrise, take public transportation to work, eating what they think you should eat, reading only what they think you should read, etc. Do they regard the masses with that much contemp? You bet they do.
It will have as much effect on CBS as planting firebombs on Chevy pickups to fake fires from collisions had on ABC.
JERRY B. KILLIAN
Stop posting the same thing from thread to thread.
The documents in question are NOT slick graphics from newsies animations.
That was my hesitation as well. The vile Clintonites aren't rank amateurs at fraud and smear by any means. I think your admonitions to slow down regarding this "investigation" were well intended and wise.
This message is for DNC chairman Terry the tool McCauliffe, you are going to have to eat the same shit you produced, hahahahaah LLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRR
Also, those IBM Selectrics were built like a tank, and they did not fail very often. My family's business had one that lasted for at least 10 years of regular use, without adjustment, even after it was refurb'ed and sold to us.
Dan Rather and CBS News knew the document was fake, why else would he include "our own analyst determinded the document was not a fake?" ...covering his ass before the crap hit the fan?
"it looks like CBS was duped"
No, it looks like they LIED in order to propagate a political point of view!
We once spent a whole day insisting that a plane did not hit the Pentagon here at FR...
I am just saying we keep our integrity if we pitch the story as:
Are these images of the actual documents? Cause these images are fake.
p.s. stop reading the same post over and over again... ;)
They should have used Alger Hiss' typewriter.