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CBS News Statement On Panel

Below is the text of the CBS News statement on the establishment of an independent panel to review "60 Minutes Wednesday's" use of memos purportedly written by President Bush's National Guard commander:

The Honorable Dick Thornburgh, former governor of Pennsylvania and United States attorney general under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and Louis D. Boccardi, retired president and chief executive officer of the Associated Press, will comprise the independent review panel that will examine the process by which a recent "60 Minutes Wednesday" report was prepared and broadcast.

The Sept. 8 broadcast reported that President George W. Bush had received favorable treatment to enter the Texas Air National Guard and had not fulfilled all of the Guard's requirements. CBS News acknowledged this week that it cannot prove the authenticity of disputed memos featured in the report and that, therefore, it was a mistake to use them.

Two days ago, CBS News and CBS announced the commissioning of an independent review to help determine what errors occurred in the preparation of the report and what actions need to be taken. The two-person review panel will commence its work this week and will have full access and complete cooperation from CBS News and CBS, as well as all of the resources necessary to complete the task. The panel will report its findings to CBS News and CBS. The findings also will be made public.

Thornburgh was elected governor of Pennsylvania in 1978 and served two successive terms in that office. He was attorney general of the United States for three years in the cabinets of Presidents Reagan and Bush (1988-1991).

All told, Thornburgh served in the Justice Department under five presidents, including as U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh (1969-75) and Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division (1975-77). Under his direction, the Department of Justice obtained a record number of convictions of savings and loan and securities officials, defense contractors and corrupt public officials. In August 2002, Thornburgh was appointed Examiner in the WorldCom bankruptcy proceedings, the largest ever filed, to report on wrongdoing and malfeasance that led to the company's downfall.

He also served as Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations (1992-93) and as a consultant to the U.N. and the World Bank on efforts to battle fraud and corruption. Thornburgh is counsel to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP, which will assist in the independent investigation.

Boccardi retired from the Associated Press in 2003 as president and chief executive officer after a 36-year career there, including the last 18 years in that position and 10 years as executive editor.

He oversaw the launching of APTN, the world's largest video news service, and the creation of The WIRE, AP's multimedia internet site. Boccardi has also taken a leading role within the news industry on critical First Amendment and freedom of the press issues, as well as challenges to credibility and readership.

In 1990, he was elected a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, the highest honor awarded by the organization to journalists, and a Distinguished Service Member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Boccardi is also the recipient of the William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit and the Overseas Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a retired member and former chairman of the Pulitzer Prize board.

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