The Boston Globe and The Los Angeles Times initially refused to confirm or deny that they had a copy, or had even seen a copy, of the Standard Form 180 (SF-180) by which Sen. John Kerry’s “complete” military records were released over the past several days. This threw serious doubt on whether either newspaper took sufficient reasonable care in evaluating the chain of transmission by which they received the Kerry documents.
In response to my story in the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday, the Managing Editor of the Boston Globe, Mary Jane Wilkinson, has now told Sun-Times editors that the Globe does indeed have a copy of Kerry’s Standard Form 180 used in delivering the documents to the Globe. That is reassuring, but it remains to be seen whether the Globe will release copies of the SF-180 in their possession, and that is important.
According to MarkSullivan, a former Navy JAG officer who worked directly for the Secretary of the Navy, the SF-180 can release anything and everything and nothing much at all, depending on how it is executed. So it is incumbent upon anyone relying on statements, much less making them, concerning the production of documents to
examine its wording carefully. One must evaluate it the same way an attorney would examine a request for discovery document in a legal case to see if it is artfully worded in a way not easily apparent to a non-specialist that excludes vital material.