THE PROWLER reports that CBS got the dubious documents from the Kerry campaign:
More than six weeks ago, an opposition research staffer for the Democratic National Committee received documents purportedly written by President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard squadron commander, the late Col. Jerry Killian. . . .
A CBS producer, who initially tipped off The Prowler about the 60 Minutes story, says that despite seeking professional assurances that the documents were legitimate, there was uncertainty even among the group of producers and researchers working on the story.
"The problem was we had one set of documents from Bush's file that had Killian calling Bush 'an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot.' And someone who Killian said 'performed in an outstanding manner.' Then you have these new documents and the tone and content are so different."
The CBS producer said that some alarms bells went off last week when the signatures and initials of Killian on the documents in hand did not match up with other documents available on the public record, but producers chose to move ahead with the story. "This was too hot not to push. If there were doubts, those people didn't show it," says the producer, who works on a rival CBS News program.
Now people are wondering if the whole thing was a Karl Rove setup. Could be, I guess, if Karl Rove is really an invincibly brilliant genius, in which case Kerry might as well just give up now.
Or it could be a case of self-defeating Bush hatred syndrome. They went ahead even though they noticed the signatures didn't match and the tone was different? But Power Line reports that Chris Lehane is blaming the Bush campaign. He would, wouldn't he?
UPDATE: Cached version of the Prowler item here, since a Drudge link is shutting them down.