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Bush's National Guard Files 'Thrown Out'
The Sydney Morning Herald
February 12
, 2004

While he was governor of Texas, George Bush's aides disposed of Mr Bush's National Guard files while searching for information that could embarrass the governor in future elections, a retired lieutenant-colonel in the Texas National Guard told a member of the Texas Senate.

The revelation came as the Administration released a copy of a dental evaluation carried out on Mr Bush while he was in the National Guard in Alabama. The Administration aimed to rebut suggestions that the President never showed up for duty there.

The retired Texas National Guard officer, Bill Burkett, said in a letter that Dan Bartlett, now White House communications director, and General 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".

Mr Bartlett denied on Wednesday that any records were altered. General James, since named head of the Air National Guard by Mr Bush, also denied Mr Burkett's account.

But Mr Bartlett admitted speaking to National Guard officials about the files as Mr Bush was preparing to seek re-election as governor of Texas.

Questions about Mr Bush's National Guard service have arisen in every campaign he has run since his 1994 race for governor. His 2004 re-election campaign is no different, with Democrats pointing to apparent gaps in his service record with the National Guard.

This week the White House released 18 months of payroll records that it says demonstrate Mr Bush fully completed his service. White House spokesman Scott McClellan provided a copy of the dental examination done on January 6, 1973 proving that Mr Bush served in Alabama.

Mr McClellan lashed out at the Democrats for their attacks. "What you are seeing is gutter politics," Mr McClellan said.

"There are some who are not interested in their facts. They are simply trolling for trash."

Mr Burkett said in mid-1997, in Camp Mabry military museum, he saw the head of the museum, General John Scribner, going through Mr Bush's records.

Mr Burkett said he saw a rubbish bin with discarded papers bearing Mr Bush's name.

"It never happened as far as I know," General Scribner said. "Why would I be going into records?"

The New York Times, Associated Press

Copyright © 2004 The Sydney Morning Herald.

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