The Pentagon reported that payroll records which could more fully chronicle President Bush's military service, including his whereabouts while on the Texas Air National Guard, were inadvertently destroyed.

The Defense Department reported that microfilm containing the records was damaged beyond repair in response to a federal lawsuit filed by the Associated Press over Bush's military records.

In February, released records suggested Bush shirked his duty some of the time between 1968 and 1973. Bush was a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, but never went to Vietnam.

Sen. John Kerry is a decorated veteran of the same war.