But let us clarify the panel's statement. This is what they actually said (taken from page 134)
The Panel reaches no definitive conclusion as to whether the Killian documents are authentic. Given that the Killian documents are copies and not originals, that the author is deceased, that the Panel has not found any individual who knew about them when they were created, and that there is no clear chain of custody, it may never be possible for anyone to authenticate or discredit the documents. However, based on a comparison to the official Bush records and the other data referred to in this Chapter, the Panel finds many reasons to question the documents authenticity.
As I deciphered in an earlier post, the panel said we cannot say for certain these documents are not authentic but we do question their authenticity. Quit extrapulating Dan. Mind you the doublespeak of the panel doesn't help much either.
With respect to the failure of the panel to find evidence of political bias, I beg to differ. Anyone who has read that report will recall an entire section called WHETHER THERE WAS A POLITICAL AGENDA DRIVING THE SEPTEMBER 8 SEGMENT beginning on page 211. This section brought up all sorts of evidence which the panel ultimately decided to ignore. As I summarized in an earlier post, we have...a) the existence of documents which the Panel can neither authenticate nor discredit although they question their authenticity, b) the inability to confirm the source of said documents and c) despite the presence of very real and credible evidence pointing to the political biases of the journalists in question the Panel overlooks said evidence and blames the events on something else entirely simply because Rather and Mapes said so.
The report is a whitewash and Rather's defence of it is shameful - even more shameful than his original trangression. I could have a measure of respect for him if he would simply be a man and admit the truth.
Incidentally, for anyone who is interested, here is a site that disects the fakes piece by piece.
[cross-posted to Rite Turn Only]