Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Record Time

On Sunday, Mr. Bush said he would release all his military records – just like he claims he did in 2000. But if he did release those records, why is the WaPo running this story?

The Defense Department has requested that President Bush’s payroll records from his service in the National Guard be sent to Washington from a DOD archive in Colorado, to ascertain whether they can be released to news organizations and public interest groups that have formally requested them in recent days, according to DOD officials.

Two things: if Bush really released all his records in 2000, why is the DOD requesting his payroll records from the archives? Wouldn’t they already have them? Even if they were put back in storage after the election in 2000, wouldn’t someone have had the sense to make copies of them? Second, the operative part of that graf is “to ascertain whether they can be released to news organizations and public interest groups that have formally requested them in recent days.” Aye, there’s the rub: the records will have to be vetted to see if there’s anything “classified” in the records. But it seems like they’ve already been “vetted.”

According to military experts familiar with National Guard records, there are two documents that could indicate whether Bush reported for drills during that year. One is an annual summary of his points, the quantitative measure of his service. The summary includes each date he reported for a drill and how many points he received toward his annual requirement.

His official personnel record, obtained by The Post in 2000, does not include a summary of service for the time in Alabama. There is a sheet, where the name has been torn off, that includes dates for that period, but there is no way to confirm it refers to Bush because his Social Security number has been redacted. Also, no one who served in Bush’s Alabama unit at that time has come forward, despite years of publicity on the subject. The brigadier general Bush was to report to in Alabama has said he has no recollection of Bush’s doing so.

Once again they’re proving that the cover-up is worse than the crime, and this story – finally – is going to resonate.