Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Selective Enforcement

Remember when Linda Tripp -- she who conned Monica Lewinsky into starting an affair with Bill Clinton just so Tripp could tape Lewinsky talking about it without Monica's knowledge? Well, when her former stepmother revealed that Tripp had been arrested for shoplifting when Tripp was nineteen, Tripp decided to sue the Pentagon for (get this) violating her privacy, and the Pentagon decided to just fling a ton of money at her to make her go away, to the thundering applause of right-wing goons everywhere. What few among the news media mention -- and certainly none of the right-wing idiots who were trying to make her into the new Joan of Arc -- is that by lying to the Federal government about her arrest record in the first place (an arrest record that the Federal government didn't know existed until Jane Mayer told them about it), she should have by rights lost not just her security clearance, but her job and her pension, immediately and with no chance to appeal. Period. Meanwhile, Sandy Berger -- the man who stopped the Millenium Plot, and who tried in vain to get Condi Rice to pay as much attention to the Al-Qaeda threat as he did -- has been made into a pariah by our press for making copies of his own documents and using them to help refresh his memory for the 9/11 hearings. This despite the fact since even the prosecutor agreed that Berger was using the information on the copies for an allowed purpose as designated in USC 18, Sec. 2339B, paragraph (f), there's some question as to whether Berger should have been prosecuted at all. Even the right-wing editorial staffers of the Wall Street Journal have gone on record in Berger's defense, partly as an attempt to slap down the sillier right-wing conspiracy loons frothing at the mouth on this topic (though of course they couldn't resist a few partisan digs anyway):

After a long investigation, however, Justice says the picture that emerged is of a man who knowingly and recklessly violated the law in handling classified documents, but who was not trying to hide any evidence. Prosecutors believe Mr. Berger genuinely wanted to prepare for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission but felt he was somehow above having to spend numerous hours in the Archives as the rules required, and that he didn't exactly know how to return the documents once he'd taken them out...We called Justice Department Public Integrity chief prosecutor Noel Hillman, who assured us that Mr. Berger did not deny any documents to history. 'There is no evidence that he intended to destroy originals,' said Mr. Hillman. 'There is no evidence that he did destroy originals. We have objectively and affirmatively confirmed that the contents of all the five documents at issue exist today and were made available to the 9/11 Commission.'
The Bush Junta's penchant for classifying the most innocuous kinds of documents, even while cheerfully, and for political reasons, leaking other information that should have stayed under wraps, is well known. As Henry Waxman noted at the time, the American people have been subjected to a double standard on classified information: "In addition to vastly overclassifying government documents, the Bush administration aggressively attacks leaks of classified information it finds embarrassing, even when those leaks disclose illegal activity. At the same time, the administration ignores leaks from within the White House and even encourages them for political gain."

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