'CBS verified the authenticity of the documents by talking to individuals who had seen the documents at the time they were written. These individuals were close associates of [Bush commander] Colonel Jerry Killian and confirm that the documents reflect his opinions at the time the documents were written.'
Note the phrases: "individuals who had seen the documents," "at the time they were written," and "reflect his opinions at the time the documents were written." These are evidence of the "accurate but fake" line taken by CBS and its apologists, that the documents were concocted at a later date to illustrate opinions that Killian supposedly held. CBS does not state the documents came from the author, does not give a date certain (say 1972) for the creation of the documents, and has the peculiar weasel-words about "reflecting opinions."
The attitude towards the White House reaction to the forged documents, expressed by producer Josh Howard in the New York Times today, is a proper response only to a premeditated a confidence trick. Why, if CBS did not have an ulterior motive, would executives point to the White House's acceptance of the documents as evidence of anything at all? Had the White House denounced the documents as the forgeries they are, CBS would not have accepted that statement. They admit to pre-recording an interview with a so-called "expert" to rebut such a claim. So, it would have proved nothing.
Likewise, that the White House responded to the forgeries faxed to them, proved nothing--other than that the press secretary doesn't have a licensed document examiner on staff. There is no way the President could know what a private individual had in his personal files. It is not up to the victim of a hoax to prove fraud.
Accounts of CBS's broadcast have referred to a "rush" to put the program on the air. But why the "rush"? One reason would be to put fraudulent documents on the air before the trick could be discovered. This is why CBS never really confirmed the authenticity of its own documents from an examination of the originals, since it never had any originals--as there were no originals. The documents could not be confirmed as genuine by any credible examiner, and CBS knew it, before, during and after the broadcast.
A "fake but accurate" defense fits into this scheme, as it treats the forgeries as a "reconstruction" or later documentation of a prior state of mind, so their authenticity is not relevant. And that only makes sense if they were concocted in the first place, to smear the White House. It also indicates that CBS News as a corporate entity was deeply involved, and that executives of the network approved the fraud prior to air.
The scheme might have worked, had CBS News not posted the fake documents on the internet, for no one might have checked them. That the crude forgeries didn't work, was due to the efforts of bloggers, who pointed out the fraud.
These forged memos, utilized by CBS as a "smoking gun" against President Bush, turned out to be a "smoking gun" all right--proving that CBS perpetrated deliberate fraud.