Bushs file: Discarded in a trash can

By Mark Follman
February 12, 2004 12:33PM (UTC)
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While quite a few pages still appear to be missing from the 1972 chapter of President Bushs National Guard duty in Texas and Alabama, at least a few of them may have been accounted for on Wednesday -- though not exactly in support of the administrations case that Bush fulfilled his service obligations. The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that some of Bushs Guard files may have been intentionally dumped ahead of his presidential run in 2000:

Retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett said Tuesday that in 1997, then-Gov. Bushs chief of staff, Joe Albaugh, told the National Guard chief to get the Bush file and make certain theres not anything there that will embarrass the governor.


Col. Burkett said that a few days later at Camp Mabry in Austin, he saw Mr. Bushs file and documents from it discarded in a trash can. He said he recognized the documents as retirement point summaries and pay forms.

According to the Morning News, the White House flatly denied any destruction of records in Mr. Bushs personnel file, and Albaugh, who is now a Washington lobbyist, called Col. Burketts claims hogwash.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported late Wednesday that the White House, after furnishing some of Bushs Guard records earlier in the week, released a new document Wednesday night showing that Bush was at a military base in Alabama during the last year of his National Guard service. At least for one day, that is. According to the Post, Bush's staff provided copies of a one-page record of a dental exam, complete with drawings of the president's teeth, that showed he was at Dannelly Air National Guard base in Montgomery, Ala., on Jan. 6, 1973. Still, White House aides are now backing away, the Post says, from Bushs assertion on NBCs Meet the Press last Sunday that hed agree to open up his entire military file if asked to do so.

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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