By my reckoning, there are only two “witnesses” relied on by CBS News to support its forgery scam who have not already repudiated the statements attributed to them by CBS: Marcel Matley, according to our sources a virulent and obsessive Bush-hater, who has purported to authenticate only a single signature on a forged document (contrary to what he himself has described as proper practice), and Robert Strong. Mr. Strong is something of a mystery man; several candidates for the role have been suggested. It is unclear exactly what support for CBS’s story Mr. Strong actually supplies. CBS’s description of his role is vague, at best:
Robert Strong was an administrative officer for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam years. He knew Jerry Killian, the man credited with writing the documents. And paper work, like these documents, was Strong’s specialty. He is standing by his judgment that the documents are real.
“They are compatible with the way business was done at that time,” Strong said. “They are compatible with the man I remember Jerry Killian being. I don’t see anything in the documents that’s discordant with what were the times, the situation or the people involved.”
This “endorsement” of CBS’s hoax–the forged documents are “compatible with the way business was done at that time”–is so weak that Mr. Strong is, perhaps, not worth pursuing.
As it happens, though, we have not only identified the real Robert Strong, but have, through one of our readers, interviewed him.
Robert Strong is a professor of English who lives in a rural area west of Austin, Texas. One of his neighbors happens to be a Power Line reader. Last Wednesday afternoon, shortly before CBS broke the fake document story, our reader encountered Strong on the road that passes by their homes. Strong noted that the sign leading to their road had been knocked down, and asked our correspondent not to put it back up for a while because “I have things going on in my life…reporters are trying to talk to me.”
Our correspondent asked, About what? Strong answered, About Bush’s National Guard service. Strong said that in his opinion, President Bush hadn’t properly completed his service. Strong told our correspondent that “some new documents have turned up.” These new documents turned up “because of the Swift Boat Vets’ ads. Bush’s people shouldn’t have gotten involved in them. Those Swift Boat Vet ads made people mad, and as a result these new documents came up.” Strong expressed the opinion that “Bush is getting what is coming to him because of his people’s involvement in the Swift Boat Vets’ ads.”
Strong said that he had served with President Bush in the Texas Air National Guard, which was news to our correspondent, who had never heard Strong mention such National Guard service.
In a follow-up conversation, Robert Strong told our correspondent that he worked with Jerry Killian in the Air National Guard from 1968 to the early 1970