CBS Defends '60 Minutes' Report and Documents

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

(1st Add: Includes comments from CBS News anchor and "60 Minutes" correspondent Dan Rather.)

( - CBS News is standing by its "60 Minutes" report and defending the authenticity of documents, which cast a negative light on President George W. Bush's National Guard service. first was the first news organization to report details of the problems with the documents.

"For the record, CBS News stands by the thoroughness and accuracy of the 60 MINUTES report this Wednesday on President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard," the network said in a statement on its website Friday.

"This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Kerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking," the network said.

"In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," it added.

"Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned. We have complete confidence in our reporting and will continue to pursue the story," the network concluded.

This contradicts an earlier report by the Drudge Report, which quoted a top CBS source as saying, "The reputation and integrity of the entire news division is at stake. If we are in error, it will be corrected."

The source also described anchor Dan Rather as being "shell-shocked" by the "increasing likelihood that the documents in question were fraudulent."

Meantime, Rather, a CBS News anchor and "60 Minutes" correspondent, also defended the authenticity of the documents on Friday.

According to a CNN transcript obtained by the Drudge report, Rather said, "I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be - there's no - what you're saying apology?"

Rather added that issuing an apology or retraction was "not even discussed, nor should it be."

He said, "I want to make clear to you?that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier."

Three independent typography experts told they were suspicious of the documents from 1972 and 1973 because they were typed using a proportional font, not common at that time, and they used a superscript font feature found in today's Microsoft Word program.

Read CBS News Statement
Read transcript of Rather's reaction

See Earlier Story:
More Problems Surface With '60 Minutes' Documents (Sept. 10, 2004)

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