NEW YORK – Dan Rather (search) assured his CBS News colleagues that he had read the independent report on his network's ill-fated story about President George W. Bush's military service, "and I shall keep its lessons well in mind."
Rather, in an e-mail sent to CBS News (search) employees, expressed sadness for the three executives and producer who lost their jobs over last September's story, which he narrated.
The e-mail was quickly posted on the Internet's Drudge Report, and a Rather spokeswoman confirmed its contents. Rather has not otherwise commented on the 224-page report that was released Monday.
"I have been here through good times, and not so good times," Rather wrote. "I have seen us overcome adversity before. I am convinced we can do so again. That must be our focus and priority. And we can fulfill that objective by getting back to business and doing our jobs better than ever."
Rather was back behind the anchor desk at the "CBS Evening News" on Tuesday, where he did not address the report.
"We should take seriously the admonition of the report's authors to do our job well and carefully, but also their parallel admonition not to be afraid to cover important and controversial issues," he said.
Rather wrote that it would be a shame if the report obscured all the strong work that the "four good people" who lost their jobs had done over the years.
The veteran anchorman did not address any of the report's other contents or what it said about him.
The independent panel said CBS had rushed a story on the air questioning Bush's National Guard service in the 1970s and then blindly defended it when holes became apparent. Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh (search) and Louis D. Boccardi, retired chief executive officer of The Associated Press, spent more than three months examining the story and its aftermath.
Rather was portrayed as "pushed to the limit" with other stories at the time of the Sept. 8 report. He relied on a trusted producer, and didn't check the story for accuracy or, apparently, even see it before he introduced it on "60 Minutes Wednesday," the panel said.
Boccardi and Thornburgh also said they were troubled that Rather told the panel he did not think an apology was appropriate, but did it because he was a "team player." Rather also told them he still believes the content of the documents is true.
The two independent examiners said they found no evidence to prove CBS and Rather, a frequent target of conservatives, were politically biased.
"He's had a distinguished television news career, he's one of the largest figures in this industry and this event doesn't erase the other things that he has accomplished," Boccardi said Tuesday on CBS' "The Early Show."
Rather previously announced that he would retire as "CBS Evening News" anchor in March.