INTERNATIONAL

Missing service records of Bush found

WASHINGTON, JULY 24. The Pentagon has said it has `found' the missing Guard records of the President, George W. Bush, adding that they are payroll records that shed no light on Mr. Bush's active service with the Alabama National Guard in 1972.

The Pentagon has said its earlier declaration that the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight". The White House has been continually peppered with questions on the President's National Guard duty.

The official response has always been that Mr. Bush transferred to the Alabama National Guard unit so that he could work on the Senate campaign of a family friend.

The White House has also said that the President has kept his service commitments and was honourably discharged in 1973. Questions on Mr. Bush's service with the Alabama National Guard unit between July and September 1972 have been raised regularly.

No conclusive proof

What the Pentagon has produced are payroll records that do not conclusively say if he served with the Alabama National Guard unit.

Earlier records of Mr. Bush's National Guard Service had gaps of service in 1972 and 1973 that have not been fully explained. The Associated Press sued the Defence Department under the Freedom of Information Act and asked a judge to order the Pentagon to turn over a copy of the pay records from a state library centre in Texas.

The Pentagon has said that previous attempts to locate the missing records had been `unsuccessful'.

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