The Associated Press asked a federal judge Friday to order the Pentagon to quickly turn over a full copy of President Bush’s military service record.
The White House has released partial documentation of Bush’s military service in the Texas Air National Guard but has not complied with the news service’s Freedom of Information Act request for any record archived at a state library records center in Texas, the AP said in a court filing.
Records released so far do not put to rest questions over whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard service for a period during the Vietnam War, the AP argued in papers filed in federal court in New York.
Those records came from federal records clearinghouses. Texas law requires separate record keeping for state National Guard service, and those records should exist on microfilm in Austin, the AP said.
“A significant, ongoing controversy exists over the president’s military service during the Vietnam War, specifically whether he performed his required service between May and October 1972,” lawyers for the AP wrote.
There also are allegations that potentially embarrassing material was removed from Bush’s military file in 1997, when he was running for re-election as Texas governor, the AP said.
“The public has an intense and legitimate interest in knowing the facts concerning the president’s military service. Reviewing the microfilm copy of the personnel file at the Texas Records center could well answer the questions that have been raised,” the lawyers wrote.
The news service asked U.S. District Judge Harold Baer to hear arguments in the case and to direct the Pentagon to comply with the FOIA request within three days.
AP first sought the Texas records in March, and sued the Pentagon in April over the allegedly slow response.
The Pentagon said in June that military payroll records that could more fully document Bush’s whereabouts during his service in the Texas Air National Guard were inadvertently destroyed. And microfilm containing the pertinent National Guard payroll records was damaged and could not be salvaged, according to the Defense Department.