Skip to comments.Commander's family calls for CBS apology for flawed report
Posted on 09/20/2004 6:23:10 PM PDT by MaineRepublic
FORT WORTH, Texas - (KRT) - The son of a late commander in the Texas Air National Guard said Monday that CBS owes his family an apology for airing documents - now believed to be false - that purportedly were of his father criticizing President Bush's service as a young man in the Guard.
"I'm not surprised," said Gary Killian of Houston. Earlier in the day, CBS issued a statement saying it was a "mistake, which we deeply regret," to use four memos that allegedly came from Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, a Guard commander over Bush in the early 1970s.
CBS News President Andrew Heyward said in a statement: "Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic ... ."
The network also named Bill Burkett, a rancher who lives near Baird, in West Texas, as their source for the memos.
Neither Burkett, a former commander in the Guard, nor his lawyer, David Van Os of San Antonio, returned repeated phone calls Monday. But Burkett acknowledged in an interview with CBS News anchor Dan Rather on Monday night that he misled the network about the source of the documents; he nevertheless defended the truthfulness of the information.
Gary Killian, a Houston businessman who once served in the Guard with his father, said he initially questioned the validity of parts of the memos, then later became convinced they were all fakes.
Killian said he is angry with both CBS and Burkett.
"Do I take it personally? Yes," he said, adding: "I think, first of all, CBS and Dan Rather owe my deceased father and my family an apology."
Jerry Killian died of heart failure in 1984.
The younger Killian said CBS should go further that simply calling its reporting flawed. "I don't accept that this was an innocent mistake. I think it confirms what a lot of people already think: that there is a hidden agenda among some of the media," Killian said.
Marian Carr Knox, who was Jerry Killian's secretary when Bush served under him, also said she was not surprised by CBS' retreat from its original story.
"I knew they were doctored, because they are not the memos that I typed," said Knox, now 86, of Houston.
But Knox said Jerry Killian had her type "similar" memos critical of Bush as a Guard officer, even though the commander and the future president "got along well."
"Killian liked him very much, but Bush wasn't following orders," said Knox. She said her boss only wrote critical comments about Bush so that, "in case something came up, he would have it documented."
Knox, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and Gary Killian, who favors Bush in the Nov. 2 elections, both questioned whether someone else passed the memos on to Burkett before he gave them to CBS.
Maurice Udell, a retired colonel in the Guard who was Bush's flight instructor, said he believes Burkett had an accomplice.
While calling the memos "so totally false they were ridiculous," Udell said they contained elements that could have only come from someone with first-hand knowledge of the working relationship between Bush, Jerry Killian and retired Guard Col. Walter Staudt.
Staudt was mentioned in one of the memos as "pushing to sugar coat" Bush's sub-par performance.
The initial source for the memos, Udell said, could not have been Burkett. "I was there when Bush was going through the training. Bill Burkett was not there," he said.
Once a lieutenant colonel in the Guard, Burkett unsuccessfully sued the service in 2000, claiming he received delayed treatment for a disease he contracted while serving in Panama.
Residents in Baird, pop. 1,623, said they knew little about the man at the center of the controversy.
Jon Hardwick, who serves as Baird mayor and chairman of the Callahan County Democratic Party, said Burkett was not active in local politics, even though the GOP on Monday asserted that Burkett was a Democratic operative working for presidential candidate John Kerry.
© 2004, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Visit the Star-Telegram on the World Wide Web at http://www.star-telegram.com.
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
The owe Buckhead one too...
SUE THEM AND THEN GO GET THE KINKO'S RECORDS. That is probably the only way we will ever learn who Burkett was sending and receiving documents from. And wouldn't it be great theater to watch the Dems try to interfere with this - and they would.
If CBS were the National Enquirer, there would be ONE BIG LAWSUIT over this. And the NE would pay. hmmm.
Me too. And I hope they get a nice bonus.
If he's as whacko as they say he is, who the hell would want to know him?
But who could have masterminded something of this magnitude?
National Enquirer does a better job of documenting their stories tahn CBS
They owe Harkins an apology also!!! (Not gonna happen.)
These things have been brought out here on FR.
It is a small point, but important, that Burkett was NOT a member of TANG. He was in the Army National Guard. That is one reason that the language was incorrect in the forged documents. Also, it puts him at a remove from any actual knowledge of George Bush's service.
I disagree. "Hidden?" C'mon!
"The younger Killian said CBS should go further that simply calling its reporting flawed. "I don't accept that this was an innocent mistake. I think it confirms what a lot of people already think: that there is a hidden agenda among some of the media," Killian said."
How could he possibly say that the agenda is "hidden"? I would say it is about as hidden as the sun at high noon on a perfectly clear day.
CBS has not groveled enough....to those they have lied to and lied about and used ....Shame on you CBS! and Shame on you Dan Rather you commie lover!
Hey, Colonel Udell -- What would Burkett, an Army National Guard member, be doing there in the first place?
You are both absolutely right. It should happen on-air. Might even tune in to CBS for that one!
And how about an apology to the Commander-in-Chief?
"It is a small point, but important, that Burkett was NOT a member of TANG. He was in the Army National Guard. That is one reason that the language was incorrect in the forged documents. Also, it puts him at a remove from any actual knowledge of George Bush's service."
Not sure if anyone has pointed this out, but Burkett's Texas Army National Guard affiliation should have tipped the MSM or someone that his charge that Bush's personnel records were sanitized was bunk.
I believe Texas Army National Guard personnel records (for separated/discharged/retired members) are "retained records" at Camp Mabry. Texas Air National Guard personnel records are maintained either at the unit of assignment or at the Air Reserve Center at Denver. There would have been no point to sanitizing a copy of records officially maintained elsewhere. The great State of Texas does not have that kind of reach.
Harkins? Did you mean Hodges?
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