“Cleansing” the Files

“CLEANSING” THE FILES….Back in late 2001 Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard of USA Today wrote a series of articles about “ghost soldiers,” soldiers who were kept on National Guard rolls even though they were no longer attending drills or getting paid. One of their sources for the article was Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett, who had investigated this problem in the Texas National Guard several years previously.

Which is just a bit of background to show that Moniz and Drinkard have worked with Burkett before and feel comfortable that he’s a reliable source. At any rate, comfortable enough to publish his allegations that George Bush’s National Guard records were “cleansed” back in 1997:

As Texas Gov. George W. Bush prepared to run for president in the late 1990s, top-ranking Texas National Guard officers and Bush advisers discussed ways to limit the release of potentially embarrassing details from Bush’s military records, a former senior officer of the Texas Guard said Wednesday.

A second former Texas Guard official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, was told by a participant that commanders and Bush advisers were particularly worried about mentions in the records of arrests of Bush before he joined the National Guard in 1968, the second official said.

Bill Burkett, then a top adviser to the state Guard commander, said he overheard conversations in which superiors discussed “cleansing” the file of damaging information.

There’s more.