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Thursday, September 16, 2004


BILL BURKETT USED TO LIVE IN ABILENE, TEXAS: KINKO'S FROM THAT TOWN NOW AT CENTER OF CBS DOCUMENTS STORY 

Bill Burkett gave an interview in which he said he used to live in Abilene, Tex.

Today, the Washington Post is reporting that the controversial CBS documents about President Bush's National Guard records were faxed from a Kinko's copy store in Abilene, Texas.

The Galvin Opinion located an interview in which Bill Burkett, increasingly thought of as Dan Rather's source for the documents, said that he once lived in Abilene, Texas.

In addition, the Washington Post reports that Burkett now lives in a town near Abilene.
"There is only one Kinko's in Abilene, and it is 21 miles from the Baird, Tex., home of retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, who has been named by several news outlets as a possible source for the documents."


Last February, Burkett gave an interview to a blogger, Kevin Drum, on his CalPundit blog. The following are excerpts from the interview.

I stuck my head inside the door, saw that no one was there, and I was embarrassed. I stepped back and I waited for a second and I overheard this conversation. And it was a short conversation that I overheard, I only heard a line or two of it, and I stepped out into the hallway because I was uncomfortable at this point.
[...]
I was ashamed, my mother and dad didn't raise me that way to eavesdrop on people's conversations. I was troubled.

I don't guess I really realized the extent of being troubled except that that evening at dinner Chief Warrant Officer [George] Conn and I – I lived in Abilene and he lived in Dallas or Cedar Hill – we both went down during the workweek and stayed in officer's quarters there, so as he called it we were geographical bachelors.
[...]
Instead I looked down into the trashcan... And on top of that pile of paper, approximately five-eighths of an inch thick, and Jim wanted me to estimate the number of pages and I said probably between 20 and 40 pages of documents that were clearly originals and photocopies. And it wasn't any big deal, I looked at it, it was a glance situation, and it made no sense to me at all except at the top of that top page was Bush, George W., 1LT.

And I look back at it now and I know I was troubled that those documents were in the trashcan. I did ruffle through the top six to eight pages.

Those documents were performance, what I term performance documents, which would include retirement points, [unintelligible] type documents, which would be a record of drill performance or nonperformance, and there was at least one pay document copy within the top six to eight pages of that stack that was in the trash….
[...]
Harvey's a guardsman, I was registered as a Democrat but totally nonpolitical, had made sure that it stayed out of my consulting practice because the first thing you do when you get that into a consulting practice is you cut your own throat.


The New York times has an article about Bill Burkett. Here is a timeline pieced together from that article

1996: Burkett "worked on Defense Department projects for Boeing and, because the Texas Guard could not pay his civilian rate of $154 an hour, was commissioned a lieutenant colonel to revamp the Guard in 1996."

"He clashed with General James, who, he later said, was the official whom he overheard and saw directing the censoring of the files at the behest of the governor's top advisers. The Guard gave him an assignment in Panama, where he contracted a tropical disease."

1998: "In letters to state legislators and a later suit, he said he collapsed at the Abilene airport in 1998 and was "willfully and maliciously" denied military medical care by Guard officials, worsening his condition. Before finally obtaining medical benefits in July 1998, he had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for depression, he told The Times."

2002: "An appeals court dismissed his suit in August 2002 because commanders enjoy broad legal immunity from their troops."


Here is the full interview from the CalPundit blog: Calpundit: An Interview With Bill Burkett, February 2004.

Washington Post: CBS Guard Documents Traced to Tex. Kinko's

NYTimes: Ex-Guardsman Is Said to Be a CBS Source

Update: Here are other bloggers talking about Calpundit's interview with Bill Burkett, Blogs of War, In the Bullpen, Ace of Spades, and Politburo Diktat.




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