Sen. John Kerry’s release of Navy records to his hometown Boston Globe newspaper is not the full disclosure sought by critics of his Vietnam war record, says John O’Neill, spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
The group of more than 260 veterans who served in Kerry’s swiftboat division asked the senator during his presidential campaign last year to sign a Standard Form 180 that would permit anyone to examine his full and unredacted military records at the Navy Department and the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, O’Neill said.
Instead, Kerry allowed Globe reporter Michael Kranish to obtain documents only from the Navy Department, which previously indicated its records were not complete.
“This is hardly what we called for,” O’Neill said.
Jerome Corsi, co-author with O’Neill of the best-seller “Unfit for Command,” told WorldNetDaily he believes Kerry did not sign the SF 180, because the form does not have an exception clause.
“It’s a blanket release of documents to the American public,” Corsi said. “This is not a Standard Form 180 procedure. I think he just called up the Navy and told them to send documents to the Boston Globe. I want to see the form posted on his website.”
Kerry’s records became a campaign issue as the senator emphasized his war record while Swift Boat Veterans for Truth waged a media campaign to counter many of his claims of heroism.
In an article Monday, Kranish wrote, “The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry’s military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions.”
Some Kerry supporters suggested the file’s transcript of his grades at Yale, revealing grades inferior to President Bush’s at the same school, were the reason.
But critic B.G. Burkett, a Vietnam vet and author of the book “Stolen Valor, said Kerry’s authorized release Monday is a “continued cover up of his true military service” because it doesn’t allow anyone to retrieve the full documentation.
“I have no doubt that he will claim that any additional effort to receive his full record is nothing more than partisan harassment,” Burkett said. “I believe John Kerry is still perpetrating a cover-up.”
During the campaign, the Kerry camp largely avoided responding to specific charges, and mainstream media repeated the assertion that the claims against the senator had been debunked, without providing evidence. Those who offered evidence contended the military’s records supported Kerry’s version of events, often without mentioning the swiftboat vets’ assertion that it was Kerry himself who wrote the “official record” in many instances, in after-action reports.
As WorldNetDaily reported, William Middendorf, former secretary of the Navy, urged Kerry to open up his personnel files to resolve the question of whether the Democratic presidential nominee received a less-than-honorable discharge from the Navy.
O’Neill said if Kerry did execute a complete release of all records, his status between 1970 and 1978, when he received a discharge, could be resolved. Many critics believe Kerry previously received a less-than-honorable discharge because of his anti-war activities while a member of the Reserves, including unsanctioned meetings with North Vietnamese communist leaders in 1970 and 1971.
O’Neill also wants to know:
Steve Jones — a principal of Lyon Research and a respected researcher who specializes in culling data at the National Archives, the Library of Congress and various military and museum repositories across the country — told the American Spectator that Kerry’s full file could contain a number of other documents not released Monday, including papers that verify his status in the Reserves up to 1978.
“It doesn’t make sense that he is going through the Navy,” Jones said. “Applying through the Navy gives this scenario the appearance of a personnel shuffle. Kerry said he applied to the Navy and the Boston Globe said they received his record from the Navy and that makes no sense when the relevant records are at the National Personnel Record Center, a part of the National Archives.”
Jones added that by going through the Navy, “Kerry makes it appear that he is using the Navy to screen his file; he added a layer of bureaucracy when all he needed to do was sign an authorization allowing a third party to look at his record at the NPRC.”
Jones explained to the Spectator that the Navy, which created the documents to begin with, is legally obligated to protect the privacy of the veteran.”
If any negative material was removed from Kerry’s file, the Navy most likely could only include the final version of a document.
That means if there are any less-than-honorable discharge orders, they might appear only in his file at the NPRC in St. Louis.
A former Kerry staffer told the Spectator that Republicans and Kerry opponents need to get a life.
“The man lost. He’s now had to admit that he was [a worse] student than Bush and yet you keep hounding the man. Nothing will ever satisfy you people … .”