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Monday, September 20, 2004

Andrew Heyward Internal E-Mail to CBS News Employees

Andrew Heyward Internal E-Mail to CBS News Employees Mon Sep 20 2004 13:25:11 ET Dear CBS News Colleagues, Many of you have expressed understandable concern about the disputed documents used in the 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY report on President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. Obviously, 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY had full confidence in the original report or it would not have aired. However, in the wake of serious and disturbing questions that came up after the broadcast, CBS News has done extensive additional reporting in an effort to confirm the documents' authenticity. That included interviews with Marian Carr Knox, secretary to the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the officer named as the author of the documents; an interview with Bill Burkett, the former Guard officer who provided the memos to 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY; and a further review of the forensic evidence on both sides of the debate. Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret. CBS News and CBS management are commissioning an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken. The names of the people conducting the review will be announced shortly, and their findings will be made public. Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting. I know all of you work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust. I hope today's public statements about the documents are an important first step in restoring YOUR confidence in the standards and systems we have in place to ensure that we live up to our obligations to our viewers, listeners, and readers -- and to one another. Thanks Andrew

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