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Ex-Guardsman Made Claims

September 19, 2004|From Associated Press

A retired Texas National Guard official mentioned as a possible source for disputed documents about President Bush's service in the Guard said he passed along information to a former senator working with John F. Kerry's campaign.

In an Aug. 21 e-mail to a list of Texas Democrats, Bill Burkett said that after getting through "seven layers of bureaucratic kids" in the Democrat's campaign, he talked with former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland about information that would counter criticism of Kerry's war service. Associated Press obtained a copy of the e-mail Saturday.

Burkett, who lives near Abilene, wrote that no one at the Kerry campaign called him back.

Burkett, who retired from the National Guard in 1999, has been cited in some media reports as a possible source for the controversial CBS News "60 Minutes" story about memos allegedly written by one of Bush's former commanders.

The Burkett e-mail was distributed to a Yahoo list of Texas Democrats. The site, which had about 570 members Saturday, is not affiliated with the state party. Burkett, a Democrat, did not return several phone messages left by Associated Press.

The authenticity of the documents cited by CBS has been called into question by some experts and relatives of the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who supposedly wrote them when he supervised Bush in 1972 and 1973.

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