Friday, July 23, 2004

The Newlywed Game 

Bush payroll records, previously thought destroyed, miraculously turn up, indicating that he never performed required duty in the National Guard:
Some of President Bush's missing Air National Guard records during the Vietnam War years, previously said to be destroyed, turned up on Friday but offered no new evidence to dispel charges by Democrats that he was absent without leave.

The Pentagon, which had announced two weeks ago that the payroll records had been accidentally destroyed, blamed a clerical error for previous failure to find them . . . .

The documents released on Friday by the Pentagon included two faded computerized payroll sheets showing Bush was not paid during the latter part of 1972 and offer no evidence to place Bush in Alabama during the latter part of 1972.

"If the Bush administration continues to search, maybe they'll find answers to the long list of unanswered questions that remain about George W. Bush's time in the Air National Guard. Bush's military records seem to show up as randomly as he did for duty," said DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera.

Bush payroll records, previously thought destroyed, miraculously turn up, indicating that he never needed to perform duty in the National Guard:
The payroll records show that he wasn't paid for the five months in 1972 when he was assigned to an Alabama guard unit, indicating that he didn't show up for duty. But the same records show that he wasn't required to attend because he had already accumulated enough credits to meet his obligation for that year.

Bryan Hubbard, spokesman for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, said the new material was located earlier this month by a technician in a military payroll center in Denver. The discovery came just days after the Pentagon announced that Bush's payroll records had been inadvertently destroyed in the mid-1990s.

Hubbard said the records show that Bush, a pilot in the Air National Guard, accumulated enough points by performing Guard duty between October 1971 and April 1972 that he was not required to perform any more service through the rest of 1972.

Bush administration officials denied Friday that the release of the new records was timed to try to neutralize that issue on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, which begins Monday in Boston.

Rather, said Hubbard, the new records suddenly turned up and they were promptly released pursuant to numerous Freedom of Information Act requests filed earlier this year by reporters.

"These records could not be located in February" when the FOIA requests were filed, Hubbard said. "But our technician located a binder with a list of numbers on how the records were stored and realized that the previous records used incorrect locator numbers." Hubbard added, "These records show the duty he was paid for."

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