A BuzzFlash News Analysis
Were George W. Bush's National Guard Records Scrubbed?
BUZZFLASH EXCLUSIVE: After Memorial Day, It's Time To Ask, Once Again, About Bush's National Guard Record and Why He Ran Away From Service in Vietnam -- Oh, By The Way, Guess Who is Running the Air National Guard Now?
May 28, 2002
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
Pausing to Reflect After Memorial Day: Were George W. Bush's National Guard Records Scrubbed? Bill Burkett Should Know. The Nation Deserves the Truth.
Additional BuzzFlash Note: Major General Daniel James was head of the Texas National Guard at the time of the alleged scrubbing of George W. Bush's National Guard records. He was appointed by George W. Bush to be commander of the nation's Air National Guard -- and was confirmed by the Senate last week.
A Letter to BuzzFlash.com from Bill Burkett, formerly of the Texas National Guard:
* * *
In regards to the BuzzFlash contibutor piece, "SUPREME IRONY" (http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/2002/05/24_Supreme.html)
This BuzzFlash reader gets it closer to right than anyone has since 1998 when I broke the Bush AWOL story as a whistleblower.
I hope that more information will be coming soon as a few journalists are now asking questions that should have been asked in 1998.
But now let me continue the irony one more level and this-like the 9/11 briefings to Bush - is well known fact.
When Walter Robinson of the Boston Globe broke the story about the gap in the service record, dozens of Texas National Guardsmen broke ranks and reported information to the Austin American Statesman giving more details. The information to Dick Stanley never saw the light of day. An Associated Press writer had a story until she talked with Karen Hughes and the story died.
I was outside the Adjutant general of Texas office when I overheard a call from Joe Allbaugh and Dan Bartlett that told General James to "make sure there is nothing embarrassing in the Governor's file" in preparation for his reelection run and a run for the presidency. I was present when James and Asst AG General Marty told a state services employee to do the same. I was there when the retained records person surrendered files under order of COL William Goodwin, Chief of Staff, for the scrub of the Governor's files.
Even with all of these first hand accounts, no one dared to ask questions after they talked with Bartlett, Hughes, Rove or Allbaugh. Why?
James further shielded official public files from the press and otherwise ran interference for Bush, Hughes, Bartlett and Rove during the campaign --"obstructing" the judicial and public review of this record.
Last December 1, 2001, Bush nominated James to be the Director of the Air National Guard of the United States. As Director of the Air National Guard of the US, James will be responsible for the direct control of all airspace over the Continental United States and will be the first responsible Officer for managing the network which scrambles fighters in air hijacking or hostage situations. By Standard operating Procedure (SOP) a certain number of jets are on tactical alert at all times. This means that aircraft are airborne within ten minutes of a scramble for interception. Did anyone notice that it took up to ninety minutes to scramble National Guard intercept aircraft in this hijacking situation? Unheard of - especially since they were warned.
I submitted official challenge, as did other former national guard officers, to the appointment of James. In Texas, James is still the defendant within civil courts for anti-Semitic actions, retaliation and gender discrimination. USA Today in December alleged that James falsified federal personnel and readiness documents in a scam to obtain an additional $20 million dollars per year in funding for the Guard.
When I was interviewed, it was immediately obvious by the numbers of lawyers that they had in the room and the fact that I was neither allowed legal counsel, nor a transcription of the interview, that the effort was to clear James rather than to investigate the allegations for cause.
So The Democrats of the US Senate allowed a parliamentary move by Senator Trent Lott and James' nomination was taken directly to the floor of the Senate without an Armed Services Committee hearing and approved on a voice vote. That happened just last week.
Quid Pro Quo?
Yes, there are many dots to connect. This BuzzFlash reader was more willing to connect them than anyone prior, but still ran slightly short.
* * *
Background on Bill Burkett:
1. Civilian. Born and reared in New Mexico. President of Associated Students of Eastern New Mexico University. First student member of the University board of Regents. Received Governor's Citation for Courage following role, among many, to quell student riots on Campus. Decorated as Outstanding Department of Commerce employee with Economic Development Administration. Member of Presidential commission on alternative fuels technology President, CO-owner of FMS Consulting.
2. Military. Enlisted and Officer from Officer Candidates School (OCS). Primary military specialty in junior grades as Air Defense Officer. Primary Specialty in Senior Grades as Plans Operations and Intelligence Senior Officer. Volunteered during Desert Storm and was delegated to serve as OIC among many training detachments which completed Corps level computer war games with all soldiers deploying out of Ft. Hood, Texas. Worked as State Plans Officer and was called to active duty service under General James and Governor Bush to develop a "work out strategic plan" for the Texas National Guard beginning in June 1996. At time of incidents, served as full-time plans officer and direct advisor to James.
see, from the archives:
* * *
Finally, BuzzFlash adds this excerpt from a May 21, 2002, Austin American-Statesman article:
Guard leader gets U.S. post
leader of the Texas National Guard has received U.S. Senate confirmation
to head the nation's Air National Guard, months after his nomination was
stalled by a group of former soldiers who crusaded to discredit him. Maj.
Gen. Daniel James III will begin the job as early as June 1 but first
must finish clearing out his Camp Mabry office and making sure the state
organization is in order for his successor, who hasn't been named by Gov.
James, 56, was sponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and confirmed on a voice vote.
"Danny James has had experience with the excellent Texas Guard, and he will bring that experience and leadership to the national arena," Hutchison said Monday.
James was nominated in October, touching off a wave of angry e- mails and phone calls to the Armed Services Committee from about 12 former Texas Guard members.
The former soldiers alleged that James didn't properly discipline high-ranking soldiers who were accused of sexually harassing a female soldier and using ethnic slurs.
James was named in lawsuits as well as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and formal military complaints in the late 1990s, but none of the allegations was substantiated.
However, renewed concerns about his Texas leadership led an Air Force inspector general to review James' seven-year tenure before the Senate acted on his nomination.
One of James' critics said Monday that he is concerned about the future of the Air National Guard under his leadership.
"The organization will suffer from it," said former Chief Warrant Officer Harvey Gough, a Dallas businessman who filed suit in January 2000, alleging that he was subjected to racial slurs by James' staff. The suit is pending in Travis County court.
James said he will spend the next several months restoring leadership to the Air National Guard, which has been without a commander since October, when Maj. Gen. Paul Weaver left.
"In the end, we prevailed," he said. "You have to trust the process and know that in the end, it will vindicate you."
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYIS
* * *
|DAILY BUZZ||FIFTH COLUMNIST||CARTOONS||SOUTHERN STYLE|
|MEDIA LINKS||LINK ARCHIVES||EMAIL BUZZFLASH||ABOUT|
otherwise noted, all original