It should be very interesting indeed to read about what these forms do or do not tell us regarding just how much of his record may or may not have actually seen the light of day here as those in the know digest them over the next few of days.
I will post appropriate updates here when I can find the time. I suggest you may want to pay close attention to Power Line, Little Green Footballs, Captain's Quarters, PoliPundit, Wizbang!, and Michelle Malkin for coverage as this unfolds.
So, who was right? Those who said that the issue is over, the Kerry SF-180 Clock should be retired and apologies issued, or those who smelled a rat? Stay tuned...
A quick review of what has been glommed from the SF-180's since Power Line posted them earlier this week:
John Hinderaker updated his original post with this observation:
The only apparent anomaly in the Form 180s is that they only authorize the release of Kerry's active duty records, not his reserve records. This could well be important, in that Kerry's antiwar activities occurred when he was a member of the reserves. On the other hand, some think that the language of the 180 is broad enough that the Navy may have released Kerry's reserve records, even though not specifically instructed to.
He then goes on to state that the people who would have the answers are the reporters who received the documents, and wonders if there was some sort of arrangement between the reporters and Kerry or his people about whether or not the records could be released to the public. He also says that he has attempted to contact 2 of the 3 reporters in question. (I have seen nothing further about his contacting them yet.)
Scott Johnson, also at Power Line, pointed us to this Josh Gerstein article from the New York Sun featuring this John O'Neill (Swift Vets & POWs for Truth) quote:
One of Mr. Kerry's most steadfast critics, Houston attorney John O'Neill, said yesterday that the latest information from the Navy did not address the issue of whether Mr. Kerry's record might have been purged. "The real question was, was other material in there and was anything expunged?" Mr. O'Neill said.
It also had this most unsurprising little tidbit:
A spokesman for Mr. Kerry rebuffed a request from the Sun for access to the service and medical files released to the other three news organizations.
A tip to Mr. Johnson from a Power Line reader also lead to this earlier NY Sun article which, if accurate, solves a piece of this whole puzzle that has been under scrutiny:
OFFICIAL: KERRY'S RECORDS SENT TO THE NAVY A top official at the national repository for military personnel files confirmed yesterday that the full record of the Navy service of Senator Kerry, a Democrat of Massachusetts, was sent to the Navy to prepare responses to requests from Mr. Kerry and others for his service history. "We have sent the original file to the Navy," the director of archival programs at the National Personnel Records Center, Bryan McGraw, said in an interview yesterday. The statement from the St. Louis-based center, which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration, undercuts claims by critics of the senator that he effectively withheld part of the file from news organizations.
Some critics of Mr. Kerry, who ran unsuccessfully for president last year, complained that privacy waivers he signed recently for selected news organizations were directed to the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn., which does not usually maintain detailed records on retired service members. However, Mr. McGraw said that is precisely where the original file was sent, though a copy was kept in St. Louis. "The request came from the Navy commander in Millington. The Navy has everything we have. They have had for some time," Mr. McGraw said. He said Mr. Kerry's record was sent to the Navy last year, well before the presidential election. Separately, a former Navy lawyer who raised questions about Mr. Kerry's discharge said yesterday that an unexplained delay in Mr. Kerry's separation from the service could have been the result of an administrative foul-up.
Given the above, we can now be somewhat assured that:
1) Kerry released his full Navy records to the three reporters in question.
2) All of the Senator's Navy records from the NPRC were forwarded to the Navy prior to their release.
Okay, that's two key questions down, but several rather important questions still remain unanswered:
1) Were Sen. Kerry's Reserve records included in the release?
2) Had his records been expunged in any way and at any time prior to their release?
3) Is there some reason why the three news organizations who received copies of these records cannot provide the public access to them via pdf files on their websites or by any other means?
4) Why will Sen. Kerry not provide a general release of all of his service records so that anyone can examine them and put any questions about his service to rest once and for all?
Due to the nagging questions that remain unanswered, the Kerry SF-180 Clock will, for now, remain in the right-hand margin of this blog...