Tom Rupprath

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Tom Rupprath is a principal in Rupprath and Associates, a Texas-based company hired by Spaeth Communications on behalf of the anti-Kerry 527 organizations Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The Texas Department of Public Safety list Rupprath as the "Owner/Manager/Private Investigator" of Rupprath and Associates and that his license was first issued in April 1998. [1]

Rupprath's task was to interview former veterans who served with Kerry and draft statements that were then returned for their signature. According to Merrie Spaeth, Rupprath is a former FBI agent. "You need to have a third eye that looks at this, somebody who even though you hired him, people know that his integrity is unquestioned and who puts this together the way an investigator would look at it," she said.

The Dallas Morning News reported on July 12, 2004 that Rupprath said of his interviews aimed at investigating the details of the occasions for which Kerry was givem military awards "We're not making any accusations until I think we have them truly buttoned up and can be presented in as authentic and credible a manner as possible." [2]

In an interview on CNN'S Crossfire program on August 12, 2004, John O'Neill said that some of the claims made in his book against Kerry over his war record were based on interviews undertaken by Rupprath. "With respect to the crewmen on his boats, we had them interviewed by an investigator named Tom Rupprath until they refused to be interviewed anymore," he said. [3]"He managed to speak to three before they shut him down," he said.

However, several veterans complained that there was a significant difference between what they said in the initial interview and the draft statements returned to them. [4] [5]

One said that while there were only minor errors in the statements provided to him, he said nothing critical of Kerry. Another, Pat Runyon, who was a member of the crew on Kerry's boat told the Dallas Morning News that there were serious inaccuracies in the draft statement returned to him.

"I have no problems with the truth as long as they put it out the way it happened," he told Dllas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater. "But I told him I didn't want him to use it, didn't like it and felt he'd missed the whole feeling of the mission."

When asked about the concerns of the veterans, Rupprath said "I want to just state that I am making no statement." He said all inquiries should be directed to Merrie Spaeth. [6]

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