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11/01/2004

More on the Kerry discharge cover-up

Kerry_enlistment_photo

On the eve of one of the most fateful elections in U. S. history, a former Secretary of the Navy step forward to suggest that the rumors of Kerry's other-than-honorable discharge are true.

WorldNetDaily reports:

William Middendorf, the Navy chief from 1974 to 1977, told WorldNetDaily today that Kerry, who began inactive reserve status in 1972, would have been issued a document three years later either for a reserve reaffiliation or a separation discharge.

An "honorable discharge" from 1978 appears on the Kerry campaign's website, but a Navy lawyer who served under Middendorf believes that document is a substitute for one that would have been issued in 1975.

However, no such document can be found among the records Kerry has made available.

"I should think it would be in his interest to open up the files, to clear up any misunderstanding," said Middendorf, who later served as ambassador to the Netherlands, Europeon Union and Organization of American States….

Middendorf said he cannot comment specifically on any action taken on Kerry, because he is barred, under the 1974 privacy act, from discussing personnel matters.

However, he enthusiastically vouches for the character of Mark Sullivan, who formed the basis for a story today in the New York Sun by Thomas Lipscomb, the first to report discrepancies in Kerry's discharge record.

Sullivan, who served in the secretary of the Navy's office in the Judge Advocate General Corps Reserve between 1975 and 1977, says the "honorable discharge" on the Kerry website appears to be a Carter administration substitute for an original action expunged from Kerry's record, Lipscomb reported.

Asked by WorldNetDaily to address Sullivan's findings, Middendorf cited the privacy act.

"I shouldn't comment other than to say I respect Mark Sullivan as one of the finest Navy officers we had."

Kerry's failure to release all his military records (a fact he recently confirmed in an interview with Tom Brokaw) now seems to have a clear motive.

This news may be too late to sway many voters at the polls, but it would seem to cripple an incipient Kerry presidency in the unlikely event that he pulls off a win tomorrow.

UPDATE: Bill Dyer of Beldarblog (and a trial lawyer of some distinction) points out that Middendorf has come as close as he dares—within the bounds of the 1974 privacy law—to saying outright that Kerry received an OTH discharge:

These are direct quotes, on the record and with attribution, from someone of spotless record who demonstrably was in a position to have personal knowledge of whether John Kerry was attempting to get an originally less than fully honorable discharge upgraded. Former Navy Secretary Middendorf just can't—because of the privacy laws that Sen. Kerry is hiding behind—simply come out and tell what he knows while Kerry continues to stonewall on signing Standard Form 180.

But this is a pretty broad hint. In fact, it couldn't get any broader without breaking the law.

Can America take a hint?

Let's hope at least some of America can, in time to make a difference for W. in a few key states tomorrow.

UPDATE:  More interesting speculation on the story at JustOneMinute, though I think the Minuteman may be giving Karl Rove more credit in this than he deserves.  Captain Ed also has thoughts including NBC's role in the Kerry records whitewash. With the election behind us, we may never unravel this tantalizing mystery.

Posted by Rodger on November 1, 2004 at 05:32 PM | Permalink

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