AT THIS POINT it comes as no surprise. John Kerry is releasing all his military records -- but then again, he isn't.
During an interview yesterday with Globe editorial writers and columnists, the former Democratic presidential nominee was asked if had signed Form SF 180, authorizing the Department of Defense to grant access to all his military records.
''I have signed it," Kerry said. Then, he added that his staff was ''still going through it" and ''very, very shortly, you will have a chance to see it."
The devil is usually in the details. With Kerry, it's also in the dodges and digressions. After the interview, Kerry's communications director, David Wade, was asked to clarify when Kerry signed SF 180 and when public access would be granted. Kerry drifted over to join the conversation, immediately raising the confusion level. He did not answer the question of when he signed the form or when the entire record will be made public.
Several e-mails later, Wade conveyed the following information: On Friday, May 20, Kerry obtained a copy of Form 180 and signed it. ''The next step is to send it to the Navy, which will happen in the next few days. The Navy will then send out the records," e-mailed Wade. Kerry first said he would sign Form 180 when pressed by Tim Russert during a Jan. 30 appearance on ''Meet the Press."
The campaign waged against him by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth arouses Kerry's greatest passion. ''What they said was untrue," he said. He considered, but decided against, filing suit against the group, which alleged that he did not deserve his Vietnam military honors.
Kerry insists ''The truth in its entirety will come out . . . the truth will come out."
Signing Form 180 is the first step. Releasing his entire military record to the public is the second.
It doesn't get any plainer than that.