"Bush documents may be fakes"
The 32-year-old documents that were used on the TV program "60 Minutes" to show that George W. Bush refused to carry out orders while he was in the National Guard may turn out to be fakes. That is the opinion of typography experts.
Erik Tornes [by-line]
On Wednesday's edition of "60 Minutes", documents from 1972 were used to support allegations that President Bush had received help to get into the National Guard, which was considered a way to avoid the Vietnam War. The documents also assert that Bush refused to undergo the annual physical test that was necessary to maintain one's status as a pilot.
There was speculation Thursday on many websites that the documents could be fakes. The writing in the documents that "60 Minutes" says are authentic is very similar to the writing you get when you type in the same text with the font (typeface) Times New Roman in Microsoft Word.
Three typographic experts tell CNSNews that they are skeptical about the documents, among other reasons because it uses a proportional font, which was not common at the beginning of the 1970s. Furthermore, there are characteristics in the documents that one can also find in Microsoft Word [sic the style].
None of the three experts could tell directly which font was used in the documents from 1972 or 1973. None of them could conclude that the documents were falsified--or that they were genuine.
But Allan Haley at Agfa Monotype in Wilmington told CNS that "it was highly unusual for an organization, even the Air Force, to have proportional fonts".
In one of the documents, a raised font is used for the letters "th" ("111th F.I.S"). All three of the typographical experts took note of that.
"That wouldn't likely have been possible with a typewriter (...) from that time", says John Collins, vice president at Bitstream, Inc.
"It is extremely surprising to see a letter with that date (May 4, 1972) with that kind of typography. There is no doubt that it is surprising. Does that cause you to conclude that it is a fake? No. But it does make you raise your eyebrows", says Collins.
The experts allow that the documents could have been written on a type of IBM typewriter that came onto the market in the first half of the 1970s.
"They had proportional fonts. But they weren't very widespread", says Haley, who adds that he has some doubt as to whether it would have been possible to get raised letters [superscript] on that typewriter, as it was done withe letters "th".
The man who signed the documents, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, is dead. "60 Mintues" has not revealed how they came into possession of the documents, but the program says that they have been in contact with a writing expert and a document expert who believe that the documents are genuine.
[Note: it's not clear if the "writing expert" mentioned in the final paragraph is a handwriting expert or a typography expert.]
The debate rages on the Internet as to whether or not the documents used by "60 Minutes" are genuine. This is a facsimile from the website littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/