Friday, December 22, 2006


Sandy Berger Non-Scandal, Part Deux

(Also posted at MyDD and DailyKos.) So instead of, you know, talking about the Bush Junta's ramping up its saber-rattling (or rather, missile-rattling) at Iran, the GOP/Media Complex is talking about Sandy Berger. Whoop dee doo. Remember the last time they got all het up about Berger and -- gasp! -- classified documents! Turns out they weren't originals, but copies. (And the docs shouldn't have been classified in the first place.) And the same looks to be true this time out. A commmenter over at Yglesias' shop outlines the situation better than I could:

The $100 million question(s) that never really get answered by these Sandy Berger news reports:

1. Was he working with original documents or copies?

  1. Did the Archives keep copies of all of the documents (the answer to that appears to be yes, given that no documents are missing.)
  2. Should Berger have known the answer to questions (1) and (2). Seems that some good reporting could at least answer these questions based on Archives policies.
  3. Finally, assuming that (copies of) the documents were safe in the archive (and Berger knew it), why would he destroy any of them?
Contrary to the Wingers: If Berger was not trying to destroy anything, it seems most likely that there was something in those docs that he wanted to leak. Presumably something beneficial to himself or to the Clinton administration. I'd love to know what it was.

Posted by: M.G. on December 21, 2006 10:15 AM

The only things I'll add are these: a) Berger, then and now, is being attacked largely for making copies of the documents he himself generated during his time as Clinton's National Security chief, the position which Condoleeza Rice took over when Bush started his squatting in the White House in 2001. These are documents that would not be classified if Al Gore was in the White House. b) The Bush Junta and its attendant media sycophants have never forgiven Berger for being right about Al-Qaeda. (Just as they've never forgiven James Lee Witt for doing such great job running FEMA under Clinton.) In January of 2001, he and Richard Clarke both tried to warn Condi Rice and other incoming Bush officials that they would need to spend more time on Al-Qaeda than on anything else. They were ignored, and 9/11 happened.

UPDATE: Remember the New Year's Day 2000 Bombing of Los Angeles? Oh, that's right, it was stopped before it could happen. By Sandy Berger. But Bush classified those documents, so nobody would know about Berger's role in stopping the Millennium Plot -- so Berger was forced to make copies and smuggle them out. So yes, that's more than enough reason not to fall for a revival of GOP talking points on this.

UPDATE 2: Updating to note that Sandy Berger was exonerated of the very charges the right wingers love to cite:

Officials looking into the removal of classified documents from the National Archives by former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel Berger say no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Several prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, have voiced suspicion that when Mr. Berger was preparing materials for the 9/11 Commission on the Clinton administration's antiterror actions, he may have removed documents that were potentially damaging to the former president's record.
Oh, yeah, Tom DeLay. Such a trustworthy guy -- so much so that he stabbed his own Texas Republicans in the back by refusing to step down and allow them to run somebody else in his stead in 2006 until AFTER he'd pulled in over a million bucks -- which promptly went to replenish his legal fund once he resigned.

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