Bill Burkett

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Bill Burkett was the CBS source in the Killian documents affair of 2004. He is retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Texas Army National Guard.

He claimed that in 1997, while outside the governor's office in Austin, he overheard a conversation about "wanting to bury George W. Bush's Vietnam service record". This has been disputed.[1]

Burkett had received publicity in 2000, after making and then retracting a claim that he had been transferred to Panama for refusing "to falsify personnel records of Governor Bush",[2] and in February 2004, when he claimed to have knowledge of "scrubbing" of Bush's TexANG records.[3][4] According to the review panel, investigations by major news outlets at the time, including CBS, "revealed inconsistencies... which led to questions regarding his credibility and whether his claims could be proven".[5]

Burkett's claims about the origins of the documents have since changed several times. He admitted to lying to CBS about the origin of the memos when he said he got them from fellow guardsman George Conn,[6] then claiming that he received the Killian documents from a woman calling herself "Lucy Ramirez" who has never been identified. The documents, purported to have been typed in the early 1970s, may have been produced many years later with a computer using Microsoft Word on default settings.[7] Burkett said he burned the originals after faxing copies of the documents to CBS.[8]

When asked about Burkett's role in the controversy, David Van Os, Burkett's lawyer, responded with the hypothesis that someone may have reconstructed documents that they believed existed in 1972 or 1973.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CBS Guard Documents Traced to Tex. Kinko's" by Michael Dobbs, Washington Post, September 16, 2004.
  2. ^ Thornburgh-Boccardi report, p. 53.
  3. ^ Bill Burkett (2003-03-19). "What do you say?". Online Journal. Archived from the original on 10 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-20.
  4. ^ Michael Rezendesz (2004-02-13). "Doubts raised about Bush's accuser". Boston Globe online. Retrieved 2005-12-20.
  5. ^ Thornburgh-Boccardi report, p. 51.
  6. ^ CBS Evening News, September 20, 2004
  7. ^ "CBS Says It Can't Vouch for Bush Documents" The New York Times September 20, 2004
  8. ^ "CBS backs off Guard story", USA Today, September 21, 2004
  9. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph; Rutenberg, Jim (2004-09-12). "THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: MILITARY SERVICE; An Ex-Officer Now Believes Guard Memo Isn't Genuine". The New York Times.