Guard files said to be faxed from copy shop
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Asked what role Burkett may have played in CBS's reporting of the report, Heyward said: "I'm not going to get into any discussion of who the sources are."
Burkett, who has accused Bush aides of ordering the destruction of some portions of the president's National Guard record because they might have been politically embarrassing, did not return telephone calls to his home. His lawyer, David Van Os, issued a statement on Burkett's behalf saying he "no longer trusts any possible outcome of speaking to the press on any issue regarding George W. Bush and does not choose to dignify recent spurious attacks upon his character with any comment."
In news interviews earlier this year, Burkett said he overheard a telephone conversation in the spring of 1997 in which top Bush aides asked the head of the Texas National Guard to sanitize Bush's files as he was running for a second term as governor of Texas. Several days later, he said, he saw dozens of pages from Bush's military file dumped in a trash can at Camp Mabry, the Guard's headquarters.
The Bush aides Burkett named as participants in the telephone conversation were Chief of Staff Joe M. Allbaugh and spokespersons Karen Hughes and Dan Bartlett. All three Bush aides and former Texas National Guard Major General Daniel James have strongly denied the allegations.
Earlier this year, Burkett gave interviews to numerous news outlets alleging corruption and malfeasance at the top of the Texas National Guard, many of which have never been substantiated. He has also been a named source for several reports by USA Today, which reported Monday that it had independently obtained copies of the disputed memos soon after the broadcast.
On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, 39 Republican House members, led by Majority Whip Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, wrote a letter to Heyward demanding that CBS retract its report. Accusing the network of becoming "part of a campaign to deceive the public and to defame the president," the lawmakers said: "CBS reporters would not accept such behavior from public officials like ourselves, and we cannot accept it from them."
Separately, Representative Christopher Cox, Republican of California, asked that a House communications subcommittee investigate what he called "the continued use of CBS News of apparently forged documents" intended to damage Bush's reputation and "influence the outcome of the 2004 presidential election." But the panel's chairman, Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, rejected the request, saying that the oversight of network news should be left to the viewing public and news media.
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