Former Democratic Presidential candidate John F. Kerry who previously promised to sign form SF 180 releasing his military records, is finally going to make good on that promise, more than 7 months after the election that could have been affected by that information.
However, the signing of the form does not mean that the public will get access to those records if Kerry releases the information to himself, and anything released publicly after that could be filtered by Kerry’s people.
2. Restrictions on release of information. Release of information is subject to restrictions imposed by the military services consistent with Department of Defense regulations and the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974. The service member (either past or present) or the member’s legal guardian has access to almost any information contained in that member’s own record. Others requesting information from military personnel/health records must have the release authorization in Section III of the SF 180 signed by the member or legal guardian, but if the appropriate signature cannot be obtained, only limited types of information can be provided. If the former member is deceased, surviving next of kin may, under certain circumstances, be entitled to greater access to a deceased veteran’s records than a member of the public. The next of kin may be any of the following: unremarried surviving spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother. Employers and others needing proof of military service are expected to accept the information shown on documents issued by the military service departments at the time a service member is separated.
So it all comes down to whom Kerry designates as the recipient of the information. If Kerry wants to clear his name, he should release the information to a third party.