Bush Withholds Key Records About National Guard
In February, President Bush told a national television audience that he would “absolutely”1 authorize the release of all records pertaining to his military service after questions had arisen about whether he fulfilled his duty. Days later, the White House claimed it released everything, with Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt telling Fox News the documents were “black and white proof that the president served in the National Guard.2 ” But, as Associated Press now reports, the White House has only released “partial documentation” and has refused to comply with the news service’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the rest of the public record.3
As AP notes, “records released so far do not put to rest questions over whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard service for a period during the Vietnam War.”4 Just last week, the Pentagon claimed that key records still not made public about where Bush was were “inadvertently destroyed.”5 While the White House did acknowledge the missing records in February, AP reports that the President still has not authorized the release of copies of destroyed records that are legally required to exist at the Texas state archives.6 That is why the news agency has had to file a FOIA request.
In its legal brief demanding the President release the documents he promised to release, AP wrote, “A significant, ongoing controversy exists over the president’s military service during the Vietnam War, specifically whether he performed his required service between May and October 1972…The public has an intense and legitimate interest in knowing the facts concerning the president’s military service. Reviewing the microfilm copy of the personnel file at the Texas Records center could well answer the questions that have been raised.” AP said full disclosure would give the public the whole story and also answer questions about “allegations that potentially embarrassing material was removed from Bush’s military file in 1997.”7
- “Transcript for Feb. 8th Guest: President George W. Bush,” MSNBC News, 2/13/04.
- “White House Releases Bush Military Pay Records
,” Fox News , 2/10/04.
- “AP Continues Push for Bush Military Records,” Editor & Publisher, 7/16/04.
- “Pentagon Says Bush Records Of Service Were Destroyed,” The New York Times, 7/09/04.
- “AP Sues for Bush Guard Records,” Editor & Publisher, 6/22/04.
- “AP Asks Judge to Order Quick Release of Bush Military Records,” First Amendment Center, 6/23/01.