Saturday, September 11, 2004

Authenticity backed on Bush documents

Boston Globe article includes this quote, from an "expert" who formerly thought the documents had to be composed on a computer.

Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had dismissed the Bush documents in an interview with The New York Times because the letters and formatting of the Bush memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Bouffard yesterday said that he had not considered one of the machines whose type is not logged in his database: the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the Bush memos to Selectric Composer samples obtained from Interpol, the international police agency, Bouffard said his view shifted.

In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. But Bouffard yesterday provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 -- three years before the dates of the CBS memos -- the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.

As for the raised ''th" that appears in the Bush memos -- to refer, for example, to units such as the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron -- Bouffard said that custom characters on the Composer's metal typehead ball were available in the 1970s, and that the military could have ordered such custom balls from IBM.

''You can't just say that this is definitively the mark of a computer," Bouffard said.
So, the expert, Dr. Bouffard, didn't have a sample of one of IBM's typewriters in his selection. IBM was only the 500 pound gorilla of typewriter manufacturing, no need to have their machines on file if you're compiling typewriter samples.

At least when confronted with type samples that showed such a document could have been typewritten even as early as the late 1960s, on a typewriter that the US Military had receive the OK to purchase, he changed his position.

This could all be settled if Bush would just sign an authorization to release his military files, so AP wouldn't have to sue in order to get access to this part of his biography.

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