Like CBS News, USA Today has declined to name the source of its memos on the grounds of confidentiality.
Burkett, who served with the Texas National Guard in an administrative capacity before his 1998 retirement, has been involved in a bitter dispute with the Guard over medical benefits after suffering from a tropical disease following a military assignment in Panama. He has told reporters that he had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for depression after he left the Guard.
Compare: Memo obtained from Pentagon differs from disputed memo obtained by CBS.
Transcript: Washington Post staff writer Michael Dobbs, who has been following the story about Bush's Vietnam-era service, was online Monday.
_____More From The Post_____
Expert Cited by CBS Says He Didn't Authenticate Papers (The Washington Post, Sep 14, 2004)
Gaps in Service Continue to Dog Bush (The Washington Post, Sep 12, 2004)
Some Question Authenticity of Papers on Bush (The Washington Post, Sep 10, 2004)
Records Say Bush Balked at Order (The Washington Post, Sep 9, 2004)
Democrat Says He Helped Bush Into Guard to Score Points (The Washington Post, Sep 4, 2004)
Burkett has provided different accounts of exactly what Bush records he allegedly saw in the trash can at Camp Mabry. At times, he has described them as "payroll-type documents" and performance assessments. But in an Aug. 14 posting to a Web log, www.steveverdon.com, he said he saw "a two-page counseling statement" signed by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the officer named by "60 Minutes" as the author of its Bush memos.
Author James Moore, who relied on Burkett as a primary source for a book attacking Bush as having wriggled out of his Guard service, said in an interview yesterday that he did not think Burkett provided the memos to CBS. "His life is complicated enough already, and I don't know why he would make further complications for himself," Moore said.
On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, 39 Republican House members, led by Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), 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, Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), citing reports in The Post and the Dallas Morning News, 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, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), rejected the request, saying that the oversight of network news should be left to the viewing public and news media.
In a related development, White House press secretary Scott McClellan hinted that more documents regarding Bush's National Guard service may soon be released. Asked whether officials in the White House have seen unreleased documents, McClellan called that "a very real possibility." Other officials with knowledge of the situation said more documents had indeed been uncovered and would be released in the coming days.
Staff writers Howard Kurtz and Dana Milbank in Washington and Sylvia Moreno in Baird, Tex., contributed to this report.