Thursday, January 13, 2005

Roger Simon is still frustrated that Independent Review Panel did not state that the documents used by CBS in the "For The Record" are forgeries. I agree but there's more reason to be frustrated.

Leaving aside the idea that the 'accuser', CBS in this instance, has the burden of proving their assertion, that the assertion made was that Bush did or didn't do certain things and the only 'immutable' proof were documents that, in and of themselves, haven't come with a mile of actually being proof, you would have thought the Panel's standard in this regard would not be to state they cannot "conclude with absolute certainty whether the Killian documents are authentic or forgeries." (pg. 14) Applying the absolute certainty standard for any documents used in CBS's investigative report would require originals not copies. Even so, to be used as proof of the assertion CBS wished to make, the "absolute certainty" standard would require Killian to be alive and provide an affidavit as to the truth and accuracy of the documents. Absolute certainty cannot be attained because there is a chance Killian might be lying on the affidavit.

If the person who created these documents had really wanted to provide CBS with documents much closer to authentic by an absolute certainty standard, me thinks it would have been better make the text by cutting and pasting letters from 30 year old Time magazines than using Microsoft Word and a printer, even if he/she still littered it with terminology TANG members were unaccustomed to using.

Personally, I think it was foolish to include a statement regarding the documents to this degree. This standard has no connection to the purpose of the review investigation by The Panel. No organization would use this standard in assessing the adequacy of the preparation of an investigative report such as the preparation of "For The Record." For those on the outside (as it should have been inside), it has never been a question of being absolutely certain, but reasonably certain, maybe "beyond a reasonable doubt" certain. It may be thought that by using the absolutely certain standard, they don't have to answer for not meeting anything a little less certain, like reasonably certain (or at least achieving the level of "as good as turd droppings" certain.)

But to my mind, adding it now places CBS in awkward position of answering the charge, "Why were you satisfied with being reasonably, why did you not wait until you were absolutely certain?" (Jeez, now I feel like a White House reporter asking a question, or even a politician sitting on any one of their prestigious investigative committees.)

ANyway, if an absolute certainty standard has to exist for things like this, how absolutely certain are we that this Review Panel is "Independent"? Just kidding. I don't use the absolute certainty standard, I use the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. I'll wait to see if Thornburgh and Boccardi are willing to hold a press conference to discuss their "Independent" Review Panel report and answer questions and I'll continue to be frustrated until that happens. (I doubt it will happen. Almost absolutely certain, that is.)


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