I spoke to Col. Bill Campenni (USAF ret) earlier this morning. As I’ve written before, Campenni was a member of the President’s squadron and flew with him often.
Campenni told me that there are a whole slew of reasons — beyond those being debated now — to question the authenticity of the CBS papers:
1. The 4 May 1972 order and the 1 August 1972 memo both have a letterhead for the wrong organization. Correspondence and orders in those days would be issued in the name of the parent organization — the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group — rather than the squadron. The letterhead is typed. They used printed ANG letterhead;
2. Orders were issued on the standard USAF orders form. (I still have a stack of my old ones. There’s not a “memo” among them). Campenni remembers that orders weren’t issued as “memos” like the 4 May 72 document;
3. The Killian “CYA” memo of August 1973 refers to pressure by Gen. Standt. The problem with this is that Standt retired in 1972. Why would anyone be worried about pressure from him?
4. Jerry Killian, according to Campenni, never went near a typewriter. In the Air Force, in those days, notes — if anyone kept them at all — were handwritten. That raises questions about both the 19 May 72 and the 18 August 73 memos. And, lest we forget, bureaucrats — not fighter jocks — write “cya” memos.
5. Orders — like the purported 4 May 72 order to take the flight physical – wouldn’t normally have been signed by Killian. They would be signed by a senior sergeant “by order of” Killian.
If, as it appears, someone faked these papers they did a bad job of it. I can tell you that in the early to mid-1970’s when I was on active duty, the active service didn’t have anything fancier than the earliest models of the IBM Selectric typewriter, and many offices didn’t even have those. The reserves and national guard had our cast-offs, so it’s terribly unlikely they could have produced anything as fancy as these papers. (Is it just my imagination, or is Dan Rather’s nose growing longer every day?)