WASHINGTON - Senator Kerry of Massachusetts recently granted three reporters broad access to his Navy service records, according to documents obtained by The New York Sun.
The privacy waivers signed by Mr. Kerry authorized the release of "a single, one time copy of the complete military service record and medical record of John F. Kerry" to Glen Johnson of the Associated Press, Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe, and Stephen Braun of the Los Angeles Times.
The waivers, executed on a National Archives form known as Standard Form 180, also permitted release of "an undeleted report" of any discharges ever granted to Mr. Kerry. The undeleted reports would include the "character" of any discharge, the form indicates.
Last year, when Mr. Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president, some of the senator's critics speculated that a six-year gap in his service record indicated that he was disciplined or discharged less than honorably after leading antiwar protests in the 1970s. A spokesman for Mr. Kerry, David Wade, adamantly denied that the senator was ever punished by the military or discharged less than honorably.
The journalists who reviewed the records the Navy released said there was no indication of any discharge beyond the honorable one Mr. Kerry received in 1978.
One of Mr. Kerry's most steadfast critics, Houston attorney John O'Neill, said yesterday that the latest information from the Navy did not address the issue of whether Mr. Kerry's record might have been purged. "The real question was, was other material in there and was anything expunged?" Mr. O'Neill said.
The Navy provided the copies of the privacy waivers to the Sun in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Mr. Kerry first promised to make public his full Navy record more than a year ago. Mr. Kerry signed the waivers for the wire service and the Globe on May 20. The form for the Times was signed June 6.
A spokesman for Mr. Kerry rebuffed a request from the Sun for access to the service and medical files released to the other three news organizations.