The Killian Memos

THE KILLIAN MEMOS….Over at the Washington Post, Mary Mapes just finished up a Q&A with readers. Mapes was the producer of the 60 Minutes segment last year that aired those National Guard documents everyone thinks were forged, but Mapes still isn’t buying the forgery rap:

Tempe, Ariz.: In the months since your termination at CBS, have you continued to follow up on the credibility of the 60 Minutes II Texas National Guard story, and if so, have you found concrete evidence either supporting or negating the claims made by your source, Bill Burkett?

Mary Mapes: I have followed up on the story and actually have obtained a new cache of duments from the Texas Air National Guard archives in Austin Texas. Some of these newly discovered documents contain proportional spacing, right hand signature blocks, odd abbreviations and other elements that were used to criticize the memos Bill Burkett gave me. I also talked with a person who worked with the Texas Guard and recounted a file scrubbing incident in 1997 that aligns with what Bill Burkett recounted to me. Some of the new docs also reference long waiting lists to get into the Guard in 1968-72. They are in the process of being made available on the website for my book truthandduty.com.

….St. Petersburg, Fla.: Do you believe the documents on which the 60 Minutes report was based are forgeries?

Mary Mapes: I do not.

Sadly, I blew it. I intended to ask Mapes a few questions, but forgot all about the session until it was nearly over. Some journalist I am. I did manage to submit one question just before the Q&A ended, though. It was about the provenance of the memos, which were supposedly written in 1972 by Jerry Killian, George Bush’s superior officer in the Texas Air Guard:

Killian’s secretary, Marian Carr Knox, says that the typewriters in Killian’s office in 1972 were an Olympia and a Selectric. Neither had proportional fonts and neither was capable of creating the documents you aired on 60 Minutes.

Given that, where do you think the documents were created? Do you really think it’s plausible that all of them were typed somewhere other than Killian’s office? Knox said categorically that she typed all of Killian’s memos.

I was too late to get an answer, though. Bummer. If I’d gotten there in time, I would have had a few other questions too.

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