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September 16, 2004
Burkett: I 'Reassembled' Bush Guard Files

Bill Burkett, the man suspected to be the source of the forged Killian memos, wrote a scathing editorial piece for Online Journal as an open letter to George Bush, explicitly calling him a "liar" several times. More to the point of the recent controversy, Burkett made a startling assertion in the body of this op-ed piece:

George W. Bush, you may be the president [sic]. But I know that you lied.

I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you". I know that you not only lied to the American people in 1994, but have lied consistently since then. Mr. Bush, not every serviceman except you is incompetent. When you failed to show up as ordered for duty, they simply recorded the truth. And the truth was, they didn't think you were especially important enough to jeopardize their own careers to cover for your absence by fraudulently counting you as present in any piece of documentation when you clearly were not present.

Now Mr. Bush, we have finally confirmed the truth concerning your failure to complete your minimum satisfactory drill participation in 1972 and 1973.

Burkett said on August 25th of this year that he had "reassembled" Bush's TANG file and specifically called out the years 1972 and 1973 - the same years that the Killian forgeries were purportedly written. As Bandit notes in his discovery of this hateful rant, he repeatedly talks about "orders" and being "ordered" to attend specific drills or tasks, which again the forged memos also reflected.

So we have Burkett writing this rant on August 25 -- and within two weeks, the memos are faxed to CBS from a Kinko's 21 miles away from Burkett's home. It appears very clear that Burkett "reassembled" the memos and passed them off to CBS as genuine, and that CBS simply took his word for it despite Burkett's history as a Bush-hater and his discredited testimony regarding document-shredding at the TANG offices in Texas.

Now that we have an admission, if not a confession, from Burkett, will CBS finally come clean about its sourcing?

UPDATE: For more -- lots more -- on Burkett, start with PrestoPundit and work outwards.

UPDATE and BUMP: J_Crater makes a good point in the comments. During Marian Knox's interview with the CBS show 60 Minutes II, she asserts that the memos contained "words in there that belong to the Army, not the Air Guard. We never used those terms."

Of course, Bill Burkett was a Lt. Colonel in the Army ... not the Air Force. Could this be another reason why the memos sounded so incorrect to our Air Force sources -- and why CBS left that quote out of the online version of Knox's appearance? Are they still trying to keep people from pinpointing Bill Burkett as their main source for this story, with all the excess baggage he brings?

UPDATE AGAIN: Sylvia Moreno attempts to rehabilitate Burkett in tomorrow's Washington Post. I've helpfully included Burkett's words in italics to illustrate Moreno's futile effort:

For half a dozen years, Bill Burkett has lived a pretty uneventful life in this tiny West Texas town. He and his wife are regulars at the Whistle Stop Cafe, ordering bacon cheeseburgers with jalapenos and fries or the pork chop special on Mondays. He "visits," as people like to say in these parts, with other ranchers over coffee at the Callahan County Farmer's Co-Op. And like other polite locals, he drops in on the local elected officials to introduce himself.

He is, by most accounts, a nice man who, in an overwhelmingly Republican-voting area, might be seen as somewhat eccentric for his Democratic bias.

This past February, I was again questioned nationally concerning what I had seen and heard in May and June of 1997 regarding the cleansing of the personal military records of one 1st Lt. George W. Bush. These were specific events that I reported immediately and in a later letter to several state legislators in Texas, including state Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, in June 1998, in which I submitted my firsthand eyewitness account. I was then questioned under oath by five or six Department of Defense lawyers during the first week of January 2002 and I also submitted a sworn affidavit, again repeating the same facts in my civil case of whistleblower retaliation and retribution against me by Col. William Goodwin, Col. Jackie Taliaferro and Col. Archie Meador. Also last February, I did swear, when asked by Chris Mathews on MSNBCs Hardball, the response of the White House and Bush has always been that the 'system' of commanders, clerks and record keepers were remiss.

[Factcheck.org, a non-partisan watchdog group that monitors political claims, completely debunks everything Burkett has ever said, under oath or not, about the file-cleansing he supposedly witnessed. Burkett has no credibility, even if he does eat at the Whistle Stop Cafe.]

"He's very bright; he's not a hayseed," said Royse Kerr, chairman of the Taylor County Democratic Club, which last spring invited Burkett to speak to the members about the "state of politics in America."

And your command profile, Mr. Bush, is that the grunts are like beetles and snails to you. You talk a good line, but they are always at fault for your problems. It was that way when you flew at the 111th. ... Your command profile, sir, is that you are a liar. ... This is all bad enough, but to continuously lie to the American people for years is outrageous. One can easily see how this "slick Willie" act of falsity could potentially carry over into policy, such as weapons of mass destruction, an attack on Iraq, the price of a prescription drug program, your close insider working relationship with Ken Lay at Enron, or Vice President [sic] Cheney's personal relationships and dealings with Halliburton.

Haigler said Burkett had received several death threats since his name surfaced as a possible source for "60 Minutes." "There's just a lot of crazies out here, but Bill Burkett is not one of them. And if the issue is whether Bill Burkett concocted a bunch of records, that makes me want to throw up," Haigler said.

I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you".

How did he "reassemble" files he claimed were destroyed in Texas, while they actually were in Colorado? Haigler and Burkett want us to believe that Burkett saw the files being destroyed in Texas when they were in Colorado in 1997, but that somehow they survived this destruction that occurred before Burkett's eyes and magically reconstructed themselves into Burkett's hands last month.

Perhaps he pulled them out of John Kerry's magic hat.

Can you believe that CBS based their entire story on the lunatic ravings of Bill Burkett? Unfortunately, having seen how they work, I can.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 16, 2004 10:15 PM

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» Bill Burkett Confesses from The Politburo Diktat
On Aug. 25, Bill "Trashcan" Burkett, on the Left wing site Online Journal boasted that "we have now reassembled your files." (link to pdf) George W. Bush, you may be the president [sic]. But I know that you lied. I know from your files that we have now... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 6:35 PM

» Reassembling the Authentic File from NDegrees.net
Big-time pajama cap tip to Captain Ed for once again moving the story along. Turns out that, in a rambling August op-ed piece that he wrote for the left-wing website onlinejournal.com, Bill Burkett claimed to have "reassembled" Bush's TANG file.... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 7:03 PM

» Bill Burkett and Kinko's "secret signatures" from BeldarBlog
One of my readers, who advises that he's a former Kinko's "computer services" employee, reminds me that in addition to offering document faxing and self-service photocopying, Kinko's offers self-service computers and its employees will assist customers... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 8:09 PM

» Foreshadowing from Irreconcilable Musings
Captain Ed hits a home run with this post: Burkett: I 'Reassembled' Bush Guard Files. One thing I don't get: Why would CBS portray the memos as original when Burkett is on the record saying he "reassembled" them? Did they [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 9:01 PM

» Burkett admits to forgeries? from ianmassey.com
By now, most people have heard about Bill Burkett, the National Guard guy who hates the President, and who lives 21 miles from the Kinko's in Abilene, Texas where the forged documents were faxed to CBS. What I hadn't heard... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 9:54 PM

» Made Up In Texas from Right On Red
Burkett in his own words. (via Drudge; this may have been blogged elsewhere, I’m not sure. I need a couple more pairs of eyes to keep up with all this). [UPDATE WITHIN UPDATE, 9/16/4: Captain’s Quarters has offers some thoughts on this Bu... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 10:44 PM

» Burkett Provides the Smoking Gun... from It'z News to Me
...and further evidence of intentional CBS fraud is exposed... Let's start with the indispensible Captain from which we learn that Burkett wrote in an August 25th online op-ed that he knows Bush lied because of "files that we have now reassembled" [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 11:08 PM

» Did Bill Burkett Already Spill the Beans? from Watcher of Weasels
Captain Ed notes an op-ed written by Bill Burkett less than a month ago...  if this thing had been published today, some of it would practically read like a confession to the forgeries: “I know from your files that we... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2004 11:19 PM

» What's This? from baldilocks
Look what Captain Ed found: George W. Bush, you may be the president [sic]. But I know that you lied. I know from your files that we have now reassembled, [--ed. Bold mine.] the fact that you did not fulfill [Read More]

Tracked on September 17, 2004 12:09 AM

» No Hearings? from Dean's World

Casey Tompkins argues that congressional hearings on Rathergate are a bad idea.

Perhaps he's right. Even though I initially thought that...

[Read More]

Tracked on September 17, 2004 4:49 AM

» Drumroll, please from protein wisdom
...from bacon cheeseburgers with your wife at the Whistle Stop Cafe, to 'reassembling' dubious military records, to forging documents on wordprocessing software and faxing them off to a major network news organization -- who then eage... [Read More]

Tracked on September 17, 2004 10:24 AM

» Don't Take 'Reassembled' as a Confession, Look a Few Words Further from Assume the Position
Captain Ed links to Burkett's rant and says, "It appears very clear that Burkett 'reassembled' the memos and passed them off to CBS as genuine" But if you've actually look... [Read More]

Tracked on September 17, 2004 2:36 PM



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