Questions are being raised about the authenticity of newly discovered documents relating to George W. Bush's service in the National Guard during the Vietnam War.
Marjorie Connell — widow of the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the reported author of memos suggesting that Bush did not meet the standards for the Texas Air National Guard — questioned whether the documents were real.
"The wording in these documents is very suspect to me," she told ABC News Radio in an exclusive phone interview from her Texas home. She added that she "just can't believe these are his words."
First reported by CBS' 60 Minutes, the memos allegedly were found in Killian's personal files. But his family members say they doubt he ever made such documents, let alone kept them.
Connell said Killian did not type, and though he did take notes, they were usually on scraps of paper. "He was a person who did not take copious notes," she said. "He carried everything in his mind."
Killian's son, Gary Killian, who served in the Guard with his father, also told ABC News Radio that he doubts his father wrote the documents. "It was not the nature of my father to keep private files like this, nor would it have been in his own interest to do so," he said.
"We don't know where the documents come from," he said, adding, "They didn't come from any family member."
Connell said her late husband would be "turning over in his grave to know that a document such as this would be used against a fellow Guardsman," and she is "sick" and "angry" that his name is "being battled back and forth on television."
Her late husband was a fan of the young Bush, said Connell, who remarried after her husband died in 1984. "I know for a fact that this young man … was an excellent aviator, an excellent person to be in the Guard, and he was very happy to have him become a member of the 111th."
Experts Question Veracity
Questions are also being raised about the memos by document experts, who say they appear to have been written on a computer, not a typewriter.
The memos are dated 1972 and 1973, when computers with word-processing software were not available.
More than half a dozen document experts contacted by ABC News said they had doubts about the memos' authenticity.
"These documents do not appear to have been the result of technology that was available in 1972 and 1973," said Bill Flynn, one of country's top authorities on document authentication. "The cumulative evidence that's available … indicates that these documents were produced on a computer, not a typewriter:"
Among the points Flynn and other experts noted:
The memos were written using a proportional typeface, where letters take up variable space according to their size, rather than fixed-pitch typeface used on typewriters, where each letter is allotted the same space. Proportional typefaces are available only on computers or on very high-end typewriters that were unlikely to be used by the National Guard.
The memos include superscript, i.e., the "th" in "187th" appears above the line in a smaller font. Superscript was not available on typewriters.
The memos included "curly" apostrophes rather than straight apostrophes found on typewriters.
The font used in the memos is Times Roman, which was in use for printing but not in typewriters. The Haas Atlas — the bible of fonts — does not list Times Roman as an available font for typewriters.
The vertical spacing used in the memos, measured at 13 points, was not available in typewriters, and only became possible with the advent of computers.
CBS News stands by its report. "The documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," it said in a statement. "Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is under way at CBS News nor is one planned. We have complete confidence in our reporting and will continue to pursue the story."
The White House is declining to comment on the veracity of the documents. Many Democrats are worried that if they are found to be forgeries, it will be a setback for Sen. John Kerry's campaign to defeat Bush in November.