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Kerry Spot [ jim geraghty reporting ]
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YES, I'VE SEEN DRUDGE.
Drudge reports that the Washington Post is set to report tomorrow that "Documents allegedly written by deceased officer that raised questions about Bush's service with Texas National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Texas... "
Now, get a load of this:
The New York Times, February 12, 2004 Move to Screen Bush File in 90's Is Reported
by Ralph Blumenthal
HOUSTON ? A retired lieutenant colonel in the Texas National Guard complained to a member of the Texas Senate in 1998 that aides to Gov. George W. Bush improperly screened Mr. Bush's National Guard files in a search for information that could embarrass the governor in future elections.
The retired officer, Bill Burkett, said in the letter to Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, a Democrat from Austin, that Dan Bartlett, then a senior aide to Governor Bush and now White House communications director, and Gen. Daniel James, then the head of the Texas National Guard, reviewed the file to "make sure nothing will embarrass the governor during his re-election campaign."
A copy of the letter was provided to The New York Times by a lawyer for Mr. Burkett to support statements he makes in a book to be published this month, which Mr. Burkett repeated in interviews this week, that Mr. Bush's aides ordered Guard officials to remove damaging information from Mr. Bush's military personnel files.
Mr. Bartlett denied on Wednesday that any records were altered. General James, since named head of the Air National Guard by President Bush, also denied Mr. Burkett's account. But Mr. Bartlett and another former official in Mr. Bush's administration in Texas, Joe Allbaugh, acknowledged speaking to National Guard officials about the files as Mr. Bush was preparing to seek re-election as governor.
Mr. Burkett's letter to Senator Barrientos was part of a running battle that he waged with the National Guard after retiring in January 1998. In it, Mr. Burkett complained of "severe retaliation" from General James for what he said was reporting "illegal acts" within the National Guard. He also complained about the government's failure to pay for his medical care after suffering from a tropical disease after a military assignment to Panama in 1997. Before finally winning medical benefits in July 1998, he said, he suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for depression.
A spokesman for Senator Barrientos, Ray Perez, said on Wednesday that "Mr. Burkett did correspond with this office." Senator Barrientos said he was trying to find the six-year-old records of contacts with Mr. Burkett. Another Texas legislator contacted at the time by Mr. Burkett, Representative Bob Hunter, Republican of Abilene, said Mr. Burkett had appeared before his committee overseeing military affairs and had complained of mishandling of his medical claims but did not mention Mr. Bush's files. He called Mr. Burkett "disgruntled."
In telephone interviews this week from his home near Abilene, Mr. Burkett, 55, a systems analyst with 27 years in the National Guard including service as deputy commandant of the New Mexico Military Academy, said he happened to be in General James' office at Camp Mabry in Austin in mid-1997 and overheard Mr. Allbaugh on a speakerphone telling General James that Mr. Bartlett and Karen P. Hughes, another aide to Governor Bush, would be coming to the Guard offices to review Mr. Bush's military files.
Ms. Hughes, who left the White House in 2002, did not return a call.
Mr. James said though a spokesman that "that discussion never happened" and that he would "never condone falsification of any record." Mr. Allbaugh called the account "pure hogwash," but said he talked to General James about making Mr. Bush's records available to reporters.
"We spoke about a lot of things," Mr. Allbaugh said. "I'm sure we had a conversation with General James where all the records were kept because it was an issue in 1994 and 1998 and would be in 2000. We wanted to make sure we could refer people of your profession where to go."
Mr. Burkett further said that about 10 days later he and another officer walked into the Camp Mabry military museum and saw the head of the museum, Gen. John Scribner, going through Mr. Bush's personnel records. Mr. Burkett said he saw a trash basket with discarded papers bearing Mr. Bush's name. Mr. Burkett said the papers appeared to be "retirement point certificates, pay documents, that sort of thing."
General Scribner dismissed the account. "It never happened as far as I know," he said. "Why would I be going into records?"
Mr. Burkett is quoted at length in a book to come out by the end of the month, "Bush's War for Re-election" by James Moore, a former Texas television reporter and co-author of "Bush's Brain."
And, we know James "Jim" Moore was the man who appeared in Rather's report Friday night, contending without evidence that the memos are real.
Is it 100 percent certain that CBS's source was Burkett? Nope.
Getting close, though.
[Posted 09/15 10:32 PM]
Guess where Bill Burkett lives? Near Abilene.
Thanks to Salon.com's article 2/14/04
WANT ANOTHER REASON TO SUSPECT BURKETT?
Marion Carr Knox, the secretary to Col. Jerry Killian, President Bush's National Guard commander, this evening, during her interview with Dan Rather:
"And there are words in there that belong in the Army, not to the Air Guard. We never used those terms."
From the Veterans for Peace web site:
Lt. Col. Bill Burkett completed 28 years of decorated service and was medically retired from the US Army National Guard in 1998.
UPDATE: I must have the best readers in the world. Kerry Spot reader Roger points out another unusual similarity.
One phrase that struck me on reading the CYA memo that "Killian" wrote referred to him "having trouble running interference and doing my job". "Run interference" struck me as an unusual turn of phrase. So, I google "run interference" and "Burkett" and get two hits: He's used "run interference" in an interview with Kevin Drum (where someone ran interference for him), and described another officer as running interference for Bush, Rove, Albaugh etc. It seems to be a verbal tic with him and it's interesting that it shows up in a memo that "Killian" wrote.
This isn't proof, but it is odd that this particular phrase would show up like this. By the way, note that Rather and Mapes say they spent five years working on this story, and the blogosphere is picking this apart like piranha on a cow within a matter of hours.
How can I yell any louder to make this connection...
Pictures of Burkett's Attorney with...Not kidding, Carville, Clinton, Dean, etc. The link is established....
NYT names Burkett as well...