July 22, 2004

The Berger Follies: The NYT Has No Shame

Rarely have I seen a major newspaper play a story in such brazenly partisan fashion.

It truly beggars belief.

Check out today's lead NYT story on the unfolding Sandy Berger scandal by Eric Lichtblau and Dave Sanger.

Boy, is it a whopper...

Let's take a closer look, graf by graf, because it is well worth the time.

Here's the lede:

The White House said Wednesday that senior officials in its counsel's office were told by the Justice Department months ago that a criminal investigation was under way to determine if Samuel R. Berger, the national security adviser under President Bill Clinton, removed classified documents about Al Qaeda from the National Archives.

Talk about a disingenuous lede!

You see, the main story here isn't mostly about whether/why Berger surrepetitiously stole away with classified documents from 9/11 committee chambers.

No, it's about whether the Justice Department should have clued in the White House regarding the investigation.

The White House declined to say who beyond the counsel's office knew about the investigation, but some administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they believed that several top aides to Mr. Bush were informed of the investigation. President Bush himself declined to answer a question Wednesday about whether he had been told, saying: "I'm not going to comment on this matter. This is a serious matter, and it will be fully investigated by the Justice Department."

Bush, not Berger, is not answering Qs right now!

I mean, you couldn't make this stuff up folks.

Howell Raines himself would blush.

Next:

The disclosure of the investigation forced Mr. Berger to step down as an informal, unpaid adviser to Senator John Kerry's campaign on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the campaign accused the White House of deliberately leaking news of the investigation and said that Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in strategies to divert attention from the Sept. 11 report to be issued Thursday.

"Informal." "Unpaid."

Certainly not one of three finalists for the job of chief diplomat in a prospective Kerry administration!

Just some random campaign flak...

Sandy, er, who???

And, of course, evil Dick Cheney might be trying to divert attention away from the 9/11 inquiry--the NYT helpfully showcases as well.

It wouldn't fit the W. 43rd St. narrative, of course, if Cheney didn't have some hand in the Washington scandal du jour (energy, Halliburton, 'Kenny Boy,' Iraq intel, and so on)...

More:

"The timing of this leak suggests that the White House is more concerned about protecting its political hide than hearing what the commission has to say about strengthening our security," a statement issued by Mr. Kerry's campaign said.

Scott McClellan, the president's press secretary, denied Wednesday that the White House had anything to do with the leak, or was seeking a diversion from the report.

Your baffled NYT readers might be excused, at this juncture, for thinking George Bush himself was stuffing docs down his socks and trousers....

The report is expected to criticize the Bush administration's handling of intelligence about terrorism, but it will also contain significant criticisms of the Clinton administration and the National Security Council that Mr. Berger ran, in the pursuit of Osama bin Laden.

Gee, ya think?

More:

The chief mystery surrounding the mishandling of the documents is the motive. Republican leaders and the Bush-Cheney campaign have suggested that Mr. Berger sought to pass classified information to Mr. Kerry. Ken Mehlman, the president's campaign manager, called on the Kerry campaign to provide "clear assurance to the American people that the Kerry campaign did not benefit from classified documents that were removed from the National Archives by one of their advisers, Sandy Berger, now subject to a criminal investigation."

But that's just a red herring.

The White House hasn't been going heavy on the theme that Berger did this to help Kerry.

Here's Scott McClellan yesterday:

Q The other partisan charges being leveled is that Berger, as an informal advisor to Senator Kerry, may have been using documents that would ultimately inform Senator Kerry's thinking on developing policy. That view has been expressed by the reelection campaign. Does the White House share that concern?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sure that all those matters will be looked into by the people overseeing the investigation.

Q As part of the investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sure that they will look into all those issues that would be related to this investigation.

Q You just don't want to have a piece of this story, do you?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think it's -- Bill, you've asked me about other criminal investigations, and I've always said that, because it's an ongoing investigation, it's best that we let the investigation proceed, and that those questions be directed to the Department of Justice. I understand your desire for information, but this is a serious -- this is serious matter.

This is hardly mega-cheerleading that Berger did this on Kerry's behalf, no?

It's simply the standard, when someone is self-destructing, step aside and let the meltdown occur as the "investigations proceed(s)"...

But by making it look like the Republicans are going all helter-skelter on that front (Berger did it for Kerry!), the NYT adeptly defines the scandal up--allowing this next:

But Mr. Kerry himself, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, would probably have access to any such documents, and the clearances to read them. On Wednesday evening, Mr. Berger's spokesman, Joe Lockhart, said: "Mr. Berger never passed any classified information to the Kerry campaign. Any suggestion to the contrary cannot be supported by any facts."

At the Kerry campaign, officials say they were taken by surprise by the accusation. It appears that Mr. Berger did not disclose the investigation to Mr. Kerry's aides. Mr. Lockhart said that was because "we were dealing in good faith with the Department of Justice on this matter for many months, and part of our agreement was that this was not to be discussed beyond Sandy's legal team."

"Taken by surprise"!

Is it just me, or are you more "surprised" that a former NSC Advisor stands accused, at least by some, of stuffing hugely sensitive documents down his socks?

That, at least, is what's got me all curious over here in London.

But the Times relentlessly churns on regarding, not what Berger did or didn't do, but the ginned up "who in the White House knew?!?" meme:

On Tuesday, after the information about Mr. Berger emerged, Mr. McClellan referred questions to the Justice Department and said, "What we know is what has been reported in the news media." That seemed to suggest no early knowledge of the investigation inside the White House.

On Wednesday, however, Mr. McClellan corrected himself, saying that the office of Alberto Gonzalez Jr., the White House counsel, had been informed about the case.

"The counsel's office is the one that is coordinating with the Sept. 11 commission the production of documents," Mr. McClellan said. "And since this relates to some documents, the counsel's office was contacted as part of that investigation."

Mr. McClellan did not specifically cite the Justice Department as the source of the information, but administration officials said it was the department that had informed the White House of the investigation.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Ominous, huh?

Ashcroft is stone-walling again....

Finally, towards the end of the article, we come to this:

The department is investigating whether Mr. Berger broke federal law on the handling of classified material by removing from a secure government reading room a handful of documents related to an after-action report on the 1999 millennium plots, as well as notes he took during his review.

In preparing for testimony before the Sept. 11 commission, Mr. Berger viewed thousands of pages of intelligence documents. He said he removed the documents by mistake, but Republicans accused him of stashing the material in his clothes on purpose. They have offered theories about what that purpose may have been, like an effort to withhold information that reflected badly on the Clinton administration.

Note the vivid language re: "stashing the material in his clothes on purpose."

That's, er, not a judicious portrayal of what Berger stands accused of by many.

There's the treatment of his notes, for instance, rather than the documents themselves.

Or he might have stashed them in his clothes, er, not on purpose (that credulity-straining careless thang).

What's my point?

That the NYT wants to make the Republican accusations look as dramatic as possible--so, in case Berger was merely careless, the GOP looks bad for all that slanderous talk about Berger doing it on "on purpose", "stashing" the docs, etc. etc.

The larger point?

The big issue in all of this, what did Berger do or not do, is just worth this slight, passing mention.

And this in the lead (at least on the web) NYT article on the matter today.

Moving on, we swiftly return to the Bushies role in all this, and end the article, thus:

Traditionally, law enforcement officials have sought to maintain a firewall of sorts between criminal investigators and political appointees on politically sensitive cases.

Several legal analysts said it would not be unusual or necessarily improper for the political appointees at the Justice Department to have let the White House know of the investigation's existence. But they emphasized that such communications should be closely held at the White House, should not involve criminal investigators and should not be allowed to influence the outcome.

"There may be a legitimate explanation here because the White House counsel had responsibility for handling these documents," said Beth Nolan, White House counsel under President Clinton.

"But the better path might have been not to provide the information to the White House at all,'' she said, "because of this exact situation - if you have information that was shared and was then leaked, it creates a whole set of political problems."

Talk about diverting attention away from the main show.

Breathtaking, really.

But, of course, not suprising is it?

Compare all this with the Washington Post's handling of the story.

The contrasts are, shall we say, vivid.

It's like they are covering two different scandals--which, in a way, they are--one real, one fictive.

Posted by Gregory at July 22, 2004 10:50 AM
Comments

NYTIMES = al Jazeera of the American Left.

Posted by: dan at July 22, 2004 01:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Beautiful dissection of the NYTimes. The only changes since Howell Raines's departure are for the worse.

Posted by: Stephen Rittenberg at July 22, 2004 01:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It is just amazing how eerily vindictive these right-wing nut jobs are. Is this an important story? Ha!

When I see y'll demand an investigation of the Ken-Lay-George-Bush Axis, I will regard such desperate attempts at mudslinging via pundit-posturing with a degree of seriousness. The NYT got it RIGHT. This tells us more about your desperation and paranoia than about Mr Kerry.

The wheels are beginning to shake loose. Soon they'll be flying off the Bush machine. Ha Ha Ha!!!!!

Posted by: oldradus at July 22, 2004 01:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Seems to me that Bush did comment on the situation; "This is a serious matter"...

The press already got a comment from the former President; "We laughed about it"

It's pretty clear which one takes our security seriously.

Posted by: Leland at July 22, 2004 02:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

oldradus is singing the same song the Left has been singing since 2001. Mein Got, Enron?!? Are you kidding?

Posted by: addison at July 22, 2004 02:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Stay on Target".
You're all over this one, Red 5

And let me say it again:

Imagine the 'lede' if the NSA in question was Dr. Rice.

Posted by: Tommy G at July 22, 2004 02:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The Ken-Lay-George-Bush Axis"

I think I've still got one of their albums in my collection. Geddy Lee was their original singer before joining Rush; I'm of the camp that believes that Bush's vocals, while rougher than Lee's, gave the band their unique sound.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at July 22, 2004 02:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Republicans accused him of stashing the material in his clothes on purpose.

His own goddam attorney, Lanny Breuer, admitted that he did so knowingly (in other words with a culpable criminal mental state) with respect to some documents, inadvertantly with respect to others.

Why can't these slimy Clinton strap hangers just go away? There's no Ken Starr without Lanny Davis; there's no Anne Coulter without Chris Lehane. He committed national security crimes, not to mention federal felony theft, by his own lawyer's admission. The spin doctoring from the Clinton hit squad is reminiscent of the cheating husband caught by his wife in flagrante in the marital bed with the 16 year-old neighbor girl. ŅNo, IÕm not cheating, dear. Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?Ó

Posted by: Al Maviva at July 22, 2004 02:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Their Live at Budokan LP was *incredible.* Man, that takes me back.

Posted by: Bruce W. at July 22, 2004 02:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why does it always have to be "Rebublicans" vs individual Democrats with the NY Times? It cannot just be "one, Denny Hastert" or "one, Tom Davis", they insist on it being "Republicans".

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 22, 2004 02:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,

NPR's spinning yesterday (Wednesday) on "Morning Edition" was even more shameless. Nothing about the substance of the FBI accusation; no context (such as that provided the blogosphere Tuesday and Wednesday by dozens of NSA archive employees); no desire to play it straight.

Instead, the NPR piece immediately segwayed to clips of outraged Republicans on Capitol Hill, and then a Kerry spokesman's rejoinder.

The brief piece closed with the NPR host asking the NPR correspondent to sum up, which he did with more than a hint of sneering irony by saying "the Kerry people contend this is REALLY just a tempest in a teapot."

No direct quote, no attempt to put this absurd spin in any kind of context. A former Natl Secy Adviser stuffs crucial, classified documents in his socks, then loses them, describes this as "inadvertent", and is investigated by the FBI acting on tips from NSA archives employees.

But this is all just a "tempest in a teapot" stirred up by those Republican wackos on Capitol Hill.

Shame on NPR. Shame on the NY Times.

Posted by: thibaud at July 22, 2004 02:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tommy G, if it were Rice under investigation, imagine Dan Rather like a Romanian female gymnast...doing cartwheels on the White House lawn.

Posted by: Jason O. at July 22, 2004 03:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Give me a break... so most of the comments here are pretty much ad hominem attacks (of sorts) against the NY Times. Is anything they said wrong?

Then Greg puts up the WaPo article but fails to make the "bias" note that Susan Schmidt wrote the article.

Seems as relevant to me to point that out as it is to point out some perceived bias on the part of the Times. I mean, as long as we're going to attack the writers/publishers of both articles.

The WaPo piece is nearly entirely unattributed in terms of the critical accusations that Greg is pointing out. The Times piece is almost entirely attributed to people on the record. It's easier to read the Times piece and see who's saying what and put that through the appropriate critical thinking filters.

I'm not defending the Times, per se (i'm not a fan), just that I'm tired of stupid paragraph parsing blog posts like this one. It's grossly misleading and a waste of time. FWIW, the Times covers most of the information Greg considers "missing" in another article just yesterday: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/21/politics/campaign/21berger.html

Posted by: yeah, whatever at July 22, 2004 03:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

OK, let's nail down a few facts here.

Some leakers in the DOJ and some un-named "gummint officials" were the orginal sources for this story, the week of the 9/11 report.

There's some cutesy language about putting classified materials in clothes, pants, and socks (!).

Then, Congressional Republicans start darkly speculating about Berger's evil motives, based on nothing. Oh my God! What did the evil John bin Laden Kerry want with this information! (that he easily could get in other ways, such as asking Rand Beers)

Later we learn that the WH has in fact known about this, despite Scotty's earlier denial.

Nope, no politics here.

Moving on.

Posted by: praktike at July 22, 2004 03:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

ATTENTION! TODAY'S DEMOCRAT/KERRY CAMPAIGN TALKING POINTS:

Sheesh - EVERYONE knows its the Republicans and Bush's FAULT!

Its a FACT that if they hadn't pressed for Clinton's impeachment, well then, Clinton surely would have accepted one of Sudan's three offers to turn bin Laden over...

And if the Republicans and Bush hadn't STOLE THE ELECTION in 2000, why then, its a FACT that the seamless transfer of Administrations from Clinton to Gore would have surely stopped bin Laden and al Qaeda from flying those planes into those buildings...

And if the Republicans and Bush and Cheney weren't so busy cutting SECRET ENERGY DEALS WITH ENRON, its a FACT they would have been able to stop bin Laden and al Queda from flying those planes into those buildings...

And its a FACT that if they had stopped bin Laden and al Queda from flying those planes into those buildings, we never would have had to have a 9/11 Commission to start with, which is the ONLY REASON Berger was compelled to sanitize the Clinton Administration Millenium Terrorst Attack After Action Report DraftsÉ

EVERYONE knows its a FACT that the VAST RIGHT WING CONSIPIRACY and the REPUBLICAN ATTACK MACHINE was going to STEAL those SECRET DOCUMENTS to impugn the innocent Clinton Administration...

So they could STEAL THE PRESIDENCY once more...

Posted by: Tim at July 22, 2004 03:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

NPR's spin gets even worse considering their story on the 9/11 Report this morning. Yesterday, Bush was deflecting attention by leaking the Berger story. Today, he's trying not to draw attention by not publicly commenting on a report that he hadn't yet received, and which apparently criticizes "instutiional failure" rather than either Clinton or Bush. News Flash: President visits the bathroom; obviously trying to deflect attention from the 9/11 report through unnecessary urination.

Posted by: Fred at July 22, 2004 03:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A few thoughts on the Berger incident:

1. These were copies of documents, not originals. The originals were safely ensconced in the archives the entire time. This does not make what he did legal or appropriate, it justs discredits the theory that he was trying to cover up Clinton-era lapses (this is reinforced by the fact that the documents pertain to the millenium terror threat response which was actually quite successful including a thwarted attack).

2. His own goddam attorney, Lanny Breuer, admitted that he did so knowingly (in other words with a culpable criminal mental state) with respect to some documents, inadvertantly with respect to others.

This is not true. His lawyer did not admit that he did so knowingly, in fact insisting that it was entirely inadvertant. Here is Breur on CNN's Wolf Blitzer:

"So he has a table. He's working openly. There are Archives people there and there are thousands of documents. And in the course of his review it was clear to everyone he had a leather portfolio. He brought it in openly. The Archives people knew it. And anyone who has works with Sandy knows he always has that leather portfolio and there were lots of business papers that have nothing at all to do with this commission.

And perhaps, Wolf, there was too much informality by Sandy and maybe too much informality by the Archives people. But at some point when he leaves, the memorandum got caught with his business papers and he walked out. It was inadvertent. He admitted the mistake..."

Again, this does not make it legal or appropriate, nor is his lawyers argument to be taken as fact, but it is erroneous to suggest his lawyer made admissions on his behalf when the opposite is true.

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 22, 2004 03:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

C'mon guys, 'The KenLay-George Bush Axis' was great in their day, but what have they released lately that was any good? That new dance re-mix? C'mon!

Now if you want a really hot new band, try 'The Joe Wilson Implosion'. They're doing some great riffs!

(Thank you, I'll be here all week...)

But kidding aside, this NYT article really creeps me out. Because if you really stretch your brain (reeeeallly), you can look at the Times previous as though they just have a really skewed outlook on the world, and that's the explanation. Totally unprofessional, but the explanation.

But THIS article reads as if a committee of reporters and editors spent six hours bending themselves into pretzels just to DESPARATELY find the tiniest possible peg to make this about the White House, and not about Berger. It's like when the pathalogical liar gets really creepy when all of a sudden his lies become totally preposterous and unfeasable, and all the rest of us have to suddenly deal with the fact that he is not "just a liar", but is in fact living in a bizarro world of his own creation.

Very distrubing... this.

(Case in point.... Oldradus up there sees the Berger story as evidence that "the wheels are flying off the Bush machine". Oooooookaaaaaayyyyy..... [backing away slowly] )

Posted by: Andrew X at July 22, 2004 03:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lockhart states in the Times piece that they, Kerry campaign, had been working with the Justice Department for months of this manner and not to go beyond Sandy's lawyer. If the campaign knew, the question is, why didn't Kerry know? This is one dense bunch of individuals.

Posted by: Jim Allan at July 22, 2004 03:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Joe Wilson Implosion"...
Hat-tip Instapundit. Credit where due, of course.

Posted by: Andrew X at July 22, 2004 03:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wasn't "Unnecessary Urination" the second album from the Ken-Lay-George-Bush Axis?

Posted by: el jefe at July 22, 2004 03:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mr. McClellan referred questions to the Justice Department and said, "What we know is what has been reported in the news media." That seemed to suggest no early knowledge of the investigation inside the White House.

On Wednesday, however, Mr. McClellan corrected himself, saying that the office of Alberto Gonzalez Jr., the White House counsel, had been informed about the case.

If the White House knew, why didn't the President? Jim Allan, does that count as dense?

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 22, 2004 03:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

FYI, the NY Times "story" was on the front page, below the fold.

My thoughts - OF COURSE the WH counsel was told about this, and of course certain WH aides were let in on it - the President might very well be asked by the 9/11 Commission about irregularities in document handling. The staff is not doing their job if they leave him sitting there with an even blanker look than usual.

And Condi Rice was testifying as well. I would think at a minimum Rice and Card would have to have been told about this.

Posted by: Tom Maguire at July 22, 2004 03:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

OK, let's nail down a few facts here.

Some leakers in the DOJ and some un-named "gummint officials" were the orginal sources for this story, the week of the 9/11 report.

----Huh?
It is a "fact" that the leaks came from the DOJ.
Where has this been concluded?

Further, what is the "help" to the R's for the leak to come out now? A "distraction" from a report critical of the past 2 Administrations, oh, ok, makes sense now.

(this is reinforced by the fact that the documents pertain to the millenium terror threat response which was actually quite successful including a thwarted attack).

HUH? A border patrol agent notices a guy looking nervous and sweating profusely, finds explosives in his trunk, and that makes this plan's response "successful"?
Why did Richard Clarke then trash this plan????

Posted by: acebb at July 22, 2004 03:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gregory:

This NYT Berger article ranks right up there with the Dick Cheney resignation gossip page one article last week. The Times is on a roll here....

Posted by: Capt America at July 22, 2004 04:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm still waiting for someone to clarify how you "inadvertantly" discard documents you (supposedly) didn't know you had ???

Also, I also am not so sure these were copies, per today's Washington Post article:
the end of the day, Archives employees determined that that draft and all four or five other versions of the millennium memo had disappeared from the files, this source said.


Further, previous news accounts said Berger "believed" he was looking at copies.
I haven't heard from anyone but Berger et. al. that these were copies.

Posted by: acebb at July 22, 2004 04:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"These were copies of documents, not originals"

You assert a negative here that has by no means been proven. In fact it 'looks like right now' the original and only copies of several drafts of a particular meme, with hand-written notes by the players involved, are gone forever down the 'memory hole', as you guys like to call it.

From the WaPo: "At the end of the day, Archives employees determined that that draft and all four or five other versions of the millennium memo had disappeared from the files, this source said."


This is either true or false, calling the writer 'Steno-Sue' will not change that.

I suggest you be thankful that your goalpost moving equipment is all in excellent working order.

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 04:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One other thing for you conspiricy theorists, stipulat, for the sake of argument, that their is an important memo missing, that somebody new that the 911 commision never saw it, and new the report was coming out, would that person be justified in leaking it?

Also, this will not hurt Kerry beyond opportunity cost, but it may be the last nail in Hillary's coffin.

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 04:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Like a Viet-Nam era Budhist monk, I flame myself for the typos in my previous post. (read it phonetically)

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 04:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Very good story. I add some more comments on the theme today (July 22) at:

http://www.rasmusen.org/x/archives/c/

The NYTimes-WPost contrast is striking.

You missed one small but telling sign of NYTimes decline, though-- the grammar mistake and verbosity in a major story with two authors. Not "like", but "such as" is proper English.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen at July 22, 2004 04:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just want to elaborate on what acebb said. The original sources were "officials and lawyers" which Tony Blankley describes as everyone in Washington over the age of 24.

Additionally, Mark Levin points out over in this "Corner" post that Lanny Davis has previously bragged about leaking to John Solomon before.
http://tinyurl.com/4u4j7
http://tinyurl.com/5boxo

"Davis called the reporter he deemed most fair, the AP's John Solomon, with documents suggesting that Clinton had made fund-raising calls from the White House residence. The leak occurred on July 3, 1997, so the story would get lost on the Fourth of July holiday."

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 22, 2004 05:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Maybe it's just me, but I fail to see any problem with the Berger story being "leaked". To liberals, this word used to be about bravery and the courage of whistleblowers to face the power of corporate conglomerates. Yet now, when one of their own is under investigation for something serious (and make no mistake about how serious stealing classified documents is) the liberal left turns the term "leaked" into something evil and dispicable used only for political gain. Berger had the power himself to "leak" the incident, to let the American people know about his inpropriety, so we shouldn't fault the inevitability of such a story being leaked - it's news, it's important, and it's something that should be investigated by the government and the American people.

Bush was right not to comment, and if he had made any other statement, the liberal left would be tearing at him because of that. They aren't questions that Bush needs to answer - he wasn't the one caught stuffing classified reports down his pants.

Posted by: Michael at July 22, 2004 05:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I'm still waiting for someone to clarify how you "inadvertantly" discard documents you (supposedly) didn't know you had ???"

Its easy. If these papers were mistakenly swept up with others and placed in his briefcase, then got mixed up with a batch that he was planning on discarding, and then he threw them out. I'm not saying that's what happened, but there are possibilities.

Its kind of like when Scott McLellan denied that Karl Rove and/or Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame. How can he know this unless he knows who actually did? It is always possible, unless he spent every waking hour around the two men.

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 22, 2004 05:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Procedural question: Why in the heck is there a phone in the secure room?

Other books I've read about access to secure rooms implies that a phone is a more likely security threat than a jockstrap and knee highs.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 22, 2004 05:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree that the WaPo report seems to lay to rest the meme that what Berger took were only copies and thus somehow the offense is less criminal.

It now appears that what Berger took were original draft copies, with unique notes written on them and such.

What was so important that Berger would risk his entire career and reputation? It must have been something huge...

Posted by: Another Thought at July 22, 2004 05:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interestingly, The Hon. Sandy is using the same playbook used by defendants in shoplifting cases. Too bad that these miscreants don't have the NYT to take up their cause. It's a Law for The Lion, it seems.

Imagine what the NYT Editorial Board would say if some guy who'd taken a copy of the NYT from the newsstand w/o paying for it got off because a jury believed him when he said that it was inadvertent?
As the ad would have it to those watching: Don't try to duplicate Sandy's feat; it was done by a professional with professional operating procedures.

TomCom

Posted by: TomCom at July 22, 2004 05:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I agree that the WaPo report seems to lay to rest the meme that what Berger took were only copies and thus somehow the offense is less criminal."

I'd say let's hold off on this one. It may in fact be the case, but it is far from laid to rest. The one quote from the article:

"At the end of the day, Archives employees determined that that draft and all four or five other versions of the millennium memo had disappeared from the files, this source said."

Is from an unnamed government official who is "familiar with the investigation." I suggest a bit of patience until we learn what the named government officials actually in charge of the investigation say.

It is easy to make a claim as an anonymous govt. official, and much mischief is achieved under this cloak (from both sides of the aisle).

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 22, 2004 05:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Akin to Dan Rather's piece of work delivered with a straight face a coupla nights ago, according to RatherBiased (I am constitutionally unable to watch Rather, myself):

"Sandy Berger, who was National Security Adviser under President Clinton stepped aside today as an adviser to Senator John Kerry. CBS's John Roberts reports this was triggered by a carefully orchestrated leak about Berger, and the timing of it appears to be no coincidence."

http://ratherbiased.com/news/content/view/145/

Posted by: Sissy Willis at July 22, 2004 05:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As the lefty Bergerites have so deftly demonstrated above, "It's all about socks!" and so it must be. Why? Because while there are people dumb enough to believe that one can accidentally remove classified information from a secure room (um, these are designed to prevent any such thing, when the protocols are followed... in GOOD faith, that is) there is NO ONE of voting age dumb enough to believe that anyone could accidentally CRAM SHEETS OF PAPER IN YOUR SOCKS! By "no one" I of course mean a statistically irrelevent number... a few thousand maybe. These types post insipid comments all out of proportion to their number.

Posted by: megapotamus at July 22, 2004 05:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Surely you people do not believe the inadvertent comment. They laid a trap and then watched him put documents in suspicious places. Then the FBI probably followed him around to make sure he was not handing these documents to enemy agents.

Now when it is about time to be prosecuted someone leaked it to the Press. If it were the Republicans, they would have waited till Oct when Sandy had been seen more around Kerry. No reason to do it now.

Posted by: James Stephenson at July 22, 2004 05:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

James Stephenson: Eric Martin is asking that people hold off judgement while sources remain anonymous. I agree on that premise on the criminal side, but I disagree with it on the political side.

I'm more upset with the apparent lax policies of securing a 'secure room' in the National Archives. A briefcase, a phone; what are these items doing in a secure room. Considering the immense importance surrouding the review of these documents I had assumed that the facilities were guared by armed marshalls with orders to "put down" potential threats.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 22, 2004 06:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think very few people believe the inadvertent thing. He probably took things home to work on them. Or there were some personally embarrasing notes in there.

But I don't see how it implicates Kerry or the 9/11 report in any way, which is what the GOP is trying to do.

Posted by: praktike at July 22, 2004 06:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think that you libs better think about refining your arguments to appeal to the non-Kool-Aid drinking voters you will need to beat Bush. Or better yet, concede the point that Clinton was a scum-bag and moveon.org. There is still no credible connection to Kerry, and I say this as a card carrying dittohead, so keep what's left of your credibility and dignity.

I have been having a bit of fun with you guys, but is looks more like you are trying to convince yourselves that there is 'no there there', than undecided voters.

At least I will give credit where credit is due, I have not yet heard the phrase "This dog won't hunt", but "Its all about the sox" is very funny. What is it about history repeating itself, first as tragedy, then as farce?

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 06:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric: Are you telling us that you will find this story more believable if John Ashcroft tells you it is so?

How 'bout if Berger's own lawyers admit it? From today's Wash Post:

"Berger, his attorney Lanny Breuer said, checked his office and realized for the first time that he had walked out -- unintentionally, he says -- with important papers relating to the Clinton administration's efforts to combat terrorism.

Berger alerted Archives employees that evening to what he had found. The classified documents were sensitive enough that employees arrived on a Sunday morning to pick them up.

Several days later, after he had retained Breuer as counsel, Berger volunteered that he had also taken 40 to 50 pages of notes during three visits to the Archives beginning in July, the lawyer said. Berger turned the notes over to the Archives. He has acknowledged through attorneys that he knowingly did not show these papers to Archives officials for review before leaving -- a violation of Archives rules, but not one that he perceived as a serious security lapse. "

Posted by: Al Maviva at July 22, 2004 06:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The timing, for dems, would have been better months ago. For repubs, weeks from now.
For the Clintons, right now.

The "copies" appear to have been unique in that they were worked on by various individuals who made notes ON them, presumably concerning information not sufficiently dealt with in the base document.
That makes them not "copies" for purposes of reassuring ourselves that all of the info is completely in the archives now.
If this notes-on-copies thing is true, unique information is no longer going to be available.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at July 22, 2004 06:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"But I don't see how it implicates Kerry or the 9/11 report in any way"

It does not implicate Kerry, but it does raise the possibility that the 911 commission was not given all of the information available. They may say that there was nothing missing, but how could they know that if somebody spirited the documents away?

If this was Bush's guard record we were talking about, I can't imaging the hue and cry from TPM.

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 06:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Justice Department should have informed the White House CounselÕs office ASAP because the matter had to do with documents belonging to the Office of the Presidency, the Executive Branch. The context that the NYT ?journalists? failed to convey is that Berger was the Executive BranchÕs and Bill ClintonÕs agent in reviewing the former administrationÕs holdings for documents that met the 9/11 CommissionÕs criteria.

HereÕs what happened. Berger was on a mission for the executive branch Š the 9/11 commission wanted papers that may have qualified for executive privilege. The commission contacted either Bill Clinton or his attorney, Bruce Lindsey, who delegated Berger to review the former administrationÕs holdings for documents that met the commissionÕs criteria.

ThatÕs why when National Archives employees noticed irregularities in BergerÕs handling of the documents, they notified Lindsey, as ClintonÕs lawyer and representative to the NA. The NAÕs inspector general was probably involved immediately.) When NA IG determined that documents were missing, it notified the Justice Department. Justice should have immediately notified the counsel for the current administration because any crime that may have been committed might be against the office of the president. Justice would properly conduct the investigation, but the executive branch has an interested based on the constitutional separation of powers.

Posted by: The Kid at July 22, 2004 06:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You guys really should read the law regarding what happened with Plame, too. You sound ridiculous on that point.

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 06:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Its easy. If these papers were mistakenly swept up with others and placed in his briefcase, then got mixed up with a batch that he was planning on discarding, and then he threw them out. I'm not saying that's what happened, but there are possibilities.

Posted by: acebb at July 22, 2004 06:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Very nice fisking, first rate.

Posted by: DBL at July 22, 2004 06:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

per the Kerry comments above, very interesting:

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Berger's spokesman, Joe Lockhart, said: "Mr. Berger never passed any classified information to the Kerry campaign. Any suggestion to the contrary cannot be supported by any facts."

----note the very specific language.
But, it also could be true.
Kerry said he "didn't have a clue" about this.

Posted by: acebb at July 22, 2004 06:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As for the leaker, the case for Lanny Davis is strong Š he described the "pre-emptive" leak, why he did it, and how he liked to do it with John Solomon in his book. See this (http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/04_07_18_corner-archive.asp#036149 )

The timing works for Democrats in general too. Berger had to study up for the 9/11 Commission hearings and then switched his attention to Kerry and the Democrat Platform Committee that met for the past few weeks in Miami. Last week Berger snookered far-far lefties and Dennis Kucinich in the fight over the Democrat party platform (see this http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2004-07-15/kulchur.html ), although his contributions to that effort (see http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/07/14/1410234 ) were not fully reported in the national media (see this http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20040710/ap_on_el_pr/democratic_platform ).

Next week the Democrat convention starts (and OBL gets caught - http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040719&s=aaj071904 ) and whatever comes of the investigation, BergerÕs goose is honked, so it wouldnÕt do to have him around KerryÕs neck, would it? This week works out rather well, doesnÕt it?

Posted by: The Kid at July 22, 2004 06:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wow - I read the WaPo each morning with clenched fists. My head would explode if I had to read that Goebbels-style propaganda!

Posted by: Darwin Finch at July 22, 2004 06:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"If these papers were mistakenly swept up with others and placed in his briefcase, then got mixed up with a batch that he was planning on discarding, and then he threw them out. I'm not saying that's what happened, but there are possibilities"

All briefcases, purses, etc... are thoroughly searched upon entering and exiting such facilities.

"I'm more upset with the apparent lax policies of securing a 'secure room' in the National Archives. A briefcase, a phone; what are these items doing in a secure room."

These are not just any phones, but fully encrypted secure lines. They're about the size of a small ice chest.

Posted by: justthefacts at July 22, 2004 06:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My favorite part of the story is when they call Berger an "informal, unpaid adviser." Since getting into legal hot water, Berger's been demoted by the Times.

Reporter Sanger gave Berger significantly higher standing in the Kerry campaign back on June 15, in a story on the unveiling of the official White House portraits of the Clintons. Among those in attendance were "two of Mr. Kerry's top foreign policy advisers: the former defense secretary William Perry and the former national security adviser Samuel R. Berger." And back on April 21, Sanger and reporter Thom Shanker cowrote a story on Pentagon troop plans that labeled Sandy Berger "a key adviser" to Kerry.

How did Berger go from one of Kerry's "top foreign policy advisers" to an "informal, unpaid" one in just one month? Hmm....

Posted by: Clay Waters at July 22, 2004 07:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I read the WaPo each morning with clenched fists. My head would explode if I had to read that Goebbels-style propaganda"

Obviously not if you read TPM.

No really, this is the post that convinced me to vote for Kerry againt the evil FoxNews WaPo Rush Limbaugh cabal.

Although you can't blame the NYT for trying to protect their circulation with readers like this.

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 07:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And wasn't Stephen Glass just a 'stringer' anyway?

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 07:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This just isn't going to be a very interesting story outside the Beltway and a few dittoheads until we actually hear some of these accusers (even one accuser) go on the record. Not even the Justice Department (much less the FBI) sees this investigation as being a big deal, and the fact that the NY Times (and almost every other media outlet) focused its reporting today on the leak aspect of this case shouldn't be surprising, since there has been nothing else substantively to report. And the leak itself is newsworthy, because of the ongoing Plame criminal investigation; it is a sign of a pattern of conduct by the White House concerning classified intel.

Posted by: Steve Smith at July 22, 2004 07:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"And the leak itself is newsworthy, because of the ongoing Plame criminal investigation; it is a sign of a pattern of conduct by the White House concerning classified intel. "

- yeah, uh, I guess you really "got to the bottom" of that one.
Again, your proof this leak came from the White House is?
Your proof that the Plame name came from the White House is?

-the only "classified intel" here is what Sandy Berger stole. There is no statue, policy, or any other reason for this NOT to be in the press. Your supposition or inference is absurd.
Finally, "nothing else substantively to report"
you're joking, right?
How about, asking Berger what documents he was looking at specifically?
How about - where he thinks he "accidentally" discarded them?
how about asking him why he kept going back to the Millenium After Action Document.

The leak is meaningless.

Posted by: acebb at July 22, 2004 07:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I just want to know, because I am keeping a permalink to this thread. "Is this where the goal post is?"

"shouldn't be surprising, since there has been nothing else substantively to report. And the leak itself is newsworthy, because of the ongoing Plame criminal investigation"

Or this?
"These were copies of documents, not originals. "

Or even this?

"There's some cutesy language about putting classified materials in clothes, pants, and socks (!)."

Is the goal post now that the Sox thing is a smear job by the right-wing WaPo?

I want to know, because I just want to have the coming goal-post move thoroughly documented.

Posted by: Moptop at July 22, 2004 07:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A preemptive leaker puts out damaging information at the time that he knows it will cause the least damage, and the earlier the better. Later, when the significance and criticality of the bad news begins to emerge, the leakerÕs side can simply say that itÕs old news and has been covered already. This is how the Clinton administration rode what would have been really tough waves Š they tackled them way out at sea, long before they crashed on the beach.

Here is how Lanny Davis wrote about the Clinton re-election fundraising scandal in his book:
"The trumping argument used by McCurry and me for doing these document dumps was directly out of the rules: that the hot documents were going to be leaked anyway, or worse, they would not be leaked, but would be released for the first time during nationally televised Senate and House campaign-finance hearings. Better that we put the story out ourselves, with plenty of opportunity to answer questions and to characterize the documents favorably, or at least accurately." ( http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/04_07_18_corner-archive.asp#036212 )

HereÕs how the leaker works. First, he always tells the truth, but itÕs not for attribution and the leaker is to be in no way identified or characterized. He contacts a journalist and provides the complete rundown, virtually everything he knows, even faxes documents for the reporterÕs use. He also provides names and contact information for the reporter to use in sourcing his story. The reporterÕs talents and instincts can take it from there. He can call an official at Justice and ask, ŅI have a report about the investigation of Joe Blow for accepting illegal campaign contributions for Halibiurton; it lists the $100K given on February 10th, the $250K given on July 19th, and the $150K given on September 3rd. Is $500K the total from this source?Ó And on and on. The reporter has the story, but now needs to verify it and provide a description of the sources who do so.

This is really clever and really stinky Š the journalists get a great reputation for breaking news and having good sources, but never divulge the dirty details. Often the leakerÕs side then starts a cry about the leak, knowing full well who really did the leaking. The reporter will remain mute because heÕs got a source that helps him keep his job.

Posted by: The Kid at July 22, 2004 07:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Again, your proof this leak came from the White House is? Your proof that the Plame name came from the White House is?"

While not proof, Novak himself said that's who tipped him off. He said "senior administration officials" told him. Novak could be lying to help the Dems, but really how likely is that?

As for my position, allow me to clarify, and in some cases repeat:

I am not saying (again) that I believe Berger's "inadvertant" story, I was just positing a hypo that I said was unlikely. So to feign laughter at it because its implausible is kind of....pointless.

As for the nature of the documents: copies, originals, copies with notes - I have an open mind and am merely waiting for the dust to settle until I jump to conclusions.

As evidence of the risk of jumping to conclusions, I stated something that I had read (that they were copies) before all the facts were clear, and that was a mistake. This statement may be incorrect or factual, but that remains to be seen.

And to answer your question, I'd rather hear it from Ashcroft than an unnamed source.

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 22, 2004 08:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That's a cute theory, Kid, but if you read the article in question, it's riddled with references to officials familiar with the investigation and so forth.

Posted by: praktike at July 22, 2004 08:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

praktike Š

Your criticism was answered - this link to a post above explains how the ŅofficialsÕ get quoted.
http://www.belgraviadispatch.com/archives/001490.html#663

Posted by: The Kid at July 22, 2004 09:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric:
I understand your point re: the copies. What I don't understand is why I've heard a lot of D's say they were. Its very inconclusive to say either way, per the news accounts.

There are "Senior Administration Officials" in every department/agency. That doesn't mean White House, not at all.

Posted by: acebb at July 22, 2004 09:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

David Sanger, the "reporter" who wrote that NY Times story, had an article in the NY Times just yesterday that started like this...

"Sandy Berger, the national security adviser to former President Bill Clinton, resigned Tuesday as a SENIOR ADVISOR TO JOHN KERRY'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN after the disclosure that he had improperly removed classified materials on terrorism from a secure government reading room last year.Ó

Posted by: dave at July 22, 2004 09:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

-per all the "leak" comments. I'm still waiting, even if this did come from the White House, for someone to explain how its "suspicious timing" or even wrong.
Given what the report says.

Further, per the report:
From the footnotes on p. 482:

46. NSC email, Clarke to Kerrick,ŅTimeline,ÓAug. 19, 1998; Samuel Berger interview (Jan. 14, 2004). We did not find documentation on the after-action review mentioned by Berger


-Gee, go figure.

Posted by: acebb at July 22, 2004 10:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Let me see if I got this right.... Sandy Berger accidentally put classified documents in his briefcase (40-50 pages worth!). Simultaneously, reading room employees mistakenly thought he was stuffing documents down his pants.

Now... I am supposed to believe that these two facts are mere co-incidence. The reading room employees were in fact mistaken, BUT, by an amazing co-incidence, Mr. Berger was accidentally taking documents out of the reading room.

Amazing, but true!

Posted by: god fodder at July 22, 2004 10:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"How did Berger go from one of Kerry's "top foreign policy advisers" to an "informal, unpaid" one in just one month? Hmm...."

Wow. Nice 'get' Mr. Waters...Very well done, Sir.

Posted by: Tommy G at July 22, 2004 11:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Moptop-

You know what else is missing? the gratuitous "Abu-Gharib' ref...

Man, are these guys off their game. (heh)

Posted by: Tommy G at July 22, 2004 11:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Meanwhile...Los Alamos continues to have massive security lapses-but really-that's just top secret secret nuclear crap a terrorist might actually find helpful.

You're right-Berger! Berger! Berger!

Posted by: creepy m-f-er at July 22, 2004 11:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

acebb. Different report.

Posted by: praktike at July 23, 2004 12:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

different report?
how many after action reports from 2000 were there???

Posted by: acebb at July 23, 2004 01:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Berger turned the notes over to the Archives. He has acknowledged through attorneys that he knowingly did not show these papers to Archives officials for review before leaving -- a violation of Archives rules, but not one that he perceived as a serious security lapse."

Nonsense. If you take notes in a secure reading room, they automatically are classified at the same level as the most secure document you were working with until security offcials can check their content to make sure no classified information is being released. As far as the law is concerned, hiding those notes deliberately is the same as doing so with the documents themselves.

Posted by: Cybrludite at July 23, 2004 02:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

acebb

Here's a hint: what does the word "millenium" mean?

Posted by: praktike at July 23, 2004 04:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I haven't read anyone look at this in another way:

Why was Berger covering this whole thing up?

I mean, this whole "Republicans leaked it" thing is ridiculous.
Is the Berger thing going to deflect attention away from the 9/11 report, in THIS media that we have? No. Obviously not, we see the NYTimes completely rearranging the fault and blame and everything else.

It makes more sense that the Democrats "leaked" the story to have the 9/11 Commission smother it...

And it seems most apparent that the ones who leaked the whole thing were... Berger and his attorneys!

I mean come on. The White House got blamed for covering up the Abu Ghraib scandal... Now Berger has been hiding this nugget since BEFORE the Abu Ghraib stuff even happened, back in October!

Come on! Gimmie a friggin break here!

Did anyone hear Dan Rather's take on this whole story? It was even more loopy than NYTimes whole "Berger hasn't done anything, Republicans are trying to make a scandal!!!" twist on the damn story.

Why can't these people just say it exactly like it is??

Berger has admitted to jacking documents from the National Archives, and had been caught doing so several times!

Man this is ridiculous.
Cheney rumor.
Operation Joe Wilson is Not a Liar *wink wink*.
Berger is a patsy, Republicans trying to smear.

WTF.

If this isn't blatant proof of the bias in the major media outlets, I don't know what is.

If anyone can track down a transcript of Dan Rather's take on this... WOW. That's all I got to say. WOW.

Posted by: G at July 23, 2004 09:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Splendid exegesis of New York Times curly cut thinking. They don't make editorials, they make underground roundel signs, you can almost feel the descension as you read: MIND YOUR HEAD. But isn't it just delightful how issues contortuplicate (spin) in no time?,

"The issue is not who's screaming about the leak but who did it. Yet if Portman and the Republicans can succeed in presenting the controversy as another one of those same-old bitter face-offs between DÕs and RÕs creating a moral equivalency between the leakers and the complainants they win. Their aim is to exploit the publicÕs (justifiable) cynicism toward Washington and to battle to an itÕs-all-politics draw. This is a good strategy as long as no indictments materialize."
(David Corn, a New York Times bestseller, on The Novak Affair, Oct. 24, 2003)


Mutatis mutandis, the ISSUE is not who's screaming about the "leak" nor who brings the news, but why the former NSA Advisor broke the law. This time we know who broke it, first I'd like to know why. Three options: Clinton, Kerry or Treason. I bet for number two. Then I'd like to see responsibility, at least Berger's share.

The New York Times -it's-all-politics- cover up is a good strategy as long as no indictments materialize, if Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger is ever indicted the paper of note (to name only the loudspeaker) will have to dig harder for a new one.

Posted by: Elian G. at July 23, 2004 11:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"If anyone can track down a transcript of Dan Rather's take on this... WOW. That's all I got to say. WOW.

Posted by G at July 23, 2004 09:35 AM | PERMALINK

G-

Sissy Willis already did, about halfway up this thread. But here it is again:

"Akin to Dan Rather's piece of work delivered with a straight face a coupla nights ago, according to RatherBiased (I am constitutionally unable to watch Rather, myself):

"Sandy Berger, who was National Security Adviser under President Clinton stepped aside today as an adviser to Senator John Kerry. CBS's John Roberts reports this was triggered by a carefully orchestrated leak about Berger, and the timing of it appears to be no coincidence."

http://ratherbiased.com/news/content/view/145/


Posted by Sissy Willis at July 22, 2004 05:42 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Tommy G at July 23, 2004 02:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Read the Washington Post for stories about Berger today. There's an editorial that skips most of the salient details and the last few paragraphs are about the timing of the leak. Then, I notice a story about how there's new revelelations in the Berger story. What are those revelations? That more people in the White House knew about it than the Post previously thought.
They've picked up the meme and are running with it.
Sandy who? It's all about the GOP. I can't wait for Haliburton to get involved.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7523-2004Jul22.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7104-2004Jul22.html

Posted by: Veeshir at July 23, 2004 02:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Veeshir: There should be a lot of people in the White House that knew about the Berger investigation. The President, VP, WH Counsel, Chief of Staff, NS Adviser, Sec Def, Sec State, Deputy WH Counsel, WH Spokesman, WH Comm Director: everyone one of these people should have been aware about a potential National Security breach of Classified information. The FBI and DoJ are obligated by law to inform the branch of government reponsible for National Security and Classified information.

Fortunately, the law also obligated the FBI and DoJ to inform President Clinton's White House counsel Bruce Lindsey as well as the Senate and House Judiciary committees.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 23, 2004 03:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The thing about the Times/ Wash Po/ etc. editorials that I find absolutely amazing is how readily and totally they accept the notion that there was "nothing of value" in the documents that Berger took. They unquestioningly swallow this premise. How can they be so friggin sure? Aren't they supposed to be at least a little skeptical, for god's sake??

Posted by: god fodder at July 23, 2004 04:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sure are lots of goalposts being moved around the subject of Bergers inadvertancey.
This is NOT about BUSH, or KERRY. This about SANDY BERGER and his willful decision to remove classified materials from a secured reading room.
Pointing fingers and throwing rocks through glass walls will not make it any less so.
Why Berger decided to risk his freedom and his reputation on doing so is something HE will have to answer.
Blaming Bush or Kerry will not make what Berger did willfully any less of the crime that BERGER committed any less so.
Dead wood publications can spin this in any manner they please, but it will not change the charactor of the truth or of the crimes committed.
Sandy Berger removed from a secured reading room classified materials, some of which were stuffed into his socks. Sandy Berger alone will have to give the reasons for his behaviour.
We can assume and we can conspire about what he did and why, but he alone will have to answer.

Posted by: quark2 at July 23, 2004 04:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree with you that it is not about Kerry. But his allies in the press, most notably the NYT are trying to make it about Bush.

It is about Clinton's judgement, and the people he surrounded himself with. And as long as the information that Lumpy lost stays lost, he has opened himself up to speculation as to his motives. It is at least as fair as saving a drunk driving arrest report until the Thursday before the election. Or were you guys complaining about the timing of that, or of the indictment of Cap Weinberger on the Thursday before the election? Were you complaining about that too? I somehow doubt it.

Posted by: Moptop at July 23, 2004 06:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Girly men is what you are. I would suggest a less stressful passtime than arguing about politics, which, as has been noted many times, ain't bean bag.

I can just see you guys watching a football game: "No Fair! He knocked down our quarterback before he got to throw the ball and when our O-Lineman had fallen!"

I can just imagine the screaming about Kerry's incompetance as a campaigner had he missed a similar opportunity against Bush. Oh, that's right, Bush is evil and Kerry is good so the same rules do not apply. I keep forgetting. This kind of argument only works with your impassioned base which is why I keep asking myself who are you trying to kid? Us or yourself?

Posted by: Moptop at July 23, 2004 06:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think it is pretty clear what Rove's strategy is and why they have targeted Berger. I would even think that perhaps Berger was set up by someone at the National Archives.

Reading the 9/11 report - it is clear that Clinton, while not realizing the full magnitude of the threat from Al Queda, was more interested, active and engaged than Bush was.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/23/politics/23findings.html

Clinton receives daily updates on Bin laden's whereabouts and Berger thwarts the millenium attacks ...

What does Rove do? Start the blame game. They need to take out Berger. Expect the RW echo machine including Drudge, Murdoch Machine (Fox, NY Post, Boston Herald etc) , National Review and the war bloggers including this site to harp on this - trying to get it into the mainstream.

But do they really want to do this when it is clear from Chapter 8 of the report that Bush and Condi were asleep at the switch in the summer of 2001? And when the report completely refutes Uncle Dick's contention that there was an operational link between Iraq and Al Queda? Do republicans really want to start blaming Clinton when six out of the ten chances were missed on Bush's watch?

Maybe it would be better if they just shut the hell up and thank God the report wasn't worse for Bush.
But hey, facts never stopped Rove.

Posted by: ann at July 23, 2004 07:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

ann: That's really laughable. Bill "never had a meeting with Jim Woolsey" Clinton? Sandy "Sorry Mr. President, forgot to tell you about those security breaches to China" Berger? Lanny "keep the President in the dark about leaks" Breuer?

The cast of characters are all in attendance for this spinzone home run contest and you're throwing up hanging curve balls.

I'm not excusing any actions of Bush Administration, but the failure to Clintonian Spin Billboard is either a result of not wanting to see it or never believing one existed.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 23, 2004 09:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Brennan, that's so true and so cruel. Woolsey was completely ignored by Bill Clinton, in a rude and downright humiliating fashion. The joke is legendary: "when a plane landed on the White House lawn, Clinton's advisors said: that must be James Woolsey, trying to get a meeting with the president again."

A very telling interview,
Quote
Q. During 1993-1995, you were part of that administration as the CIA chief. Wasn't what you called a "feckless and flaccid" policy in place at the time?

A. It started when President Clinton decided to respond to the attempt to assassinate former President Bush in the spring of 1993 merely by shooting two dozen cruise missiles into an empty building in the middle of the night. I think killing some night watchman and Iraqi cleaning women had the opposite effect on Saddam that one would want.

Q. Were you not part of the group of advisors that decided on that action?

A. Those decisions were not made on the advice of the people who are involved with intelligence. Indeed, the intelligence agencies during the Clinton administration were told they were not to give policy advice.
End Quote
http://dir.salon.com/people/feature/2001/12/20/woolsey/index.html

Anyway, the dismantled state of the US Intelligence during the Clinton era is not the issue here: THAT FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SAMUEL BEGER HAS BEEN CAUGHT "REMOVING" (STEALING) CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES. NYT loyalist Ann will not have any of it, instead she must divert attention to unsung Clintonite glories in retro-tech detection, ending up in nothing less than... *** The * Right * Wing * Conspiracy ***, nooooo them aggggain? YESSS! War Bloggers! (glowing eyes, mouth foaming). Well, a rather harsh swift unless you read the NYT and only the NYT with, shall we say, neolunatic sectarian fervor. Nice try Ann, really, it truly begs compassion. Which is precisely on topic too.

Posted by: Elian G. at July 24, 2004 01:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You actually had the balls to write:

"Brennan, that's so true and so cruel. Woolsey was completely ignored by Bill Clinton, in a rude and downright humiliating fashion. The joke is legendary: "when a plane landed on the White House lawn, Clinton's advisors said: that must be James Woolsey, trying to get a meeting with the president again."

WHHAAATTTT?

JAMES WOOSLEY! Mr. "Hey meet my good friend from Chalabi Bullshit Inc., he would like to tell you a tale of Iraq's WMD and yogurt and milk trucks"!!
THAT GUY?

That's your defense? That Clinton didn't listen to that easily bamboozled idiot? That makes Clinton look like a f**king GENIUS.

Try reading once in a while:
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/9165361.htm

Posted by: annx at July 24, 2004 04:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Berger thwarts the millenium attacks ..."

If Lumpy was such a hero, why on Earth did he dissappear the documentation of his heroism. The fact is that his actions have made this claim foolish, since any evidence that you would have to support this is gone, along with any evidence we would have to disprove it.

The consensus among the thinking public, supported by the *available* evidence, is that the bomber got nervous at the border and was spotted by a customs agent trained to look for that, not on any intel generated by Berger.

In fact your post is so risible that I have to wonder if it is not a 'false flag' post by a right-winger for our entertainment.

Posted by: Moptop at July 24, 2004 01:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

See David Gergen's comments on Sandy Berger.

Also read the 9/11 report including the footnotes. Lots of good info in there.

Posted by: annx at July 24, 2004 02:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

See FBI latest comments on Sandy Berger.

Ad hominem parenthesis. My "defense"??? Oh, I get it, anyone has to prove innocent except the burglar (NYT mode). No no no no, I wasn't defending anything when I addressed Woolsey, I was merely approving Brennan's humor (Bill "never had a meeting with Jim Woolsey" Clinton?) in response to Ann (sans incognita, see above) who was anchors up and away, drifting from the well written piece we are all commenting. The ex-prez just didn't dig CIA briefings (idiosyncratic).

Quote
That makes Clinton look like a f**king GENIUS.
End Quote

I guess we will all have to concede on the fornication part, publicly demonstrated with redoubled gusto by this presidential follower of Hetaerism. I beg to differ on the ultimate rating. Perhaps we could agree on "f**king GEN".

With or without the dairy product of your choice, try reading, once every +/-10 NYTs, unadulterated actual facts,
http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/unscom.htm


And back to the topic, our man in D. C.: BERGER.
http://www.autographcollector.com/acm1100/decis_17.jpg

Yes, that's a fair portrait of the guy. Remember him hanging around the National Archives (www.archives.gov) like a hip-hop snoop-doggy-dogg gangsta with sloppy XXX-L roomy pants? Correct, now you got it. That's it, that's the topic, the atomic nucleus of this thread: SAMUEL R. "SANDY" "BURGLAR" BERGER and his NYT pals. Wow! I unwittingly penned a bashi-bazouk band, hhhhhhhhot. Quick summary: how can we put it?, he errrr...mmmmm well heeee... yesss he "removed" on various occasions RATED-R classified lyrics, returned some when poked, inadvertently trashed others... and made some people very happy on the way to the circus (Bill "We were all laughing about it!" Clinton), but not the FBI. Though Howelliana is long out of fashion, the NYT has probably mixed up Sandy with Condy and is all over the White House asking trial-law questions. What a wild wild paper, son of a gun. Skeptics, however, find this NYT behavior very disciplined and sort of predictable. We could as well begin talking of Operation Bojinka, but that's not the point here. The point is Berger and the vanishing docs.

Posted by: Elian G. at July 24, 2004 03:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Nothin Clinton ever did approached the crime of that cheerleader in the WH taking us to a war for bogus reasons.

Clinton wasn't responsible for sending 1000 of our troops to their death. Bush is.

You can hem and haw all you want. It was Bush's decision to send us to war, period. It is his responsibility. And history will damn him for it.

Posted by: demvet at July 24, 2004 07:01 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Um...Demvet? The title of this thread is:
Comment on: The Berger Follies.
It takes it's name from this being the place where people post "comments" about Greg's post on Burger - a former national security advisor to the President of the United States.

The reason that so many here are "hemming and hawing" is that his actions speak to his charaacter - his sense of shame, his ability to commit to the priniciples he swore to when he took the position, and as to whether or not his current *demonstrated* behavior squares with his marketed image as an upstanding public servant.

As to his defense from the former President as to his hard-working nature - yeah, well no one is disputing *that* one.

BTW- what kind of animals do you supply medical services for?

Posted by: Tommy G at July 25, 2004 01:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tommy G - thanks for revealing the true inner workings of a RWers mind.

Don't like hem and haw? How about smoke and mirrors? Read the 9/11 report yet? Your leader will be damned. Damned for diverting us away from Bin Laden and the real threat, damned for sending 1000 men into a war for bogus reasons.

And yes, it is the "paper of record". It has been, and it will be, and it will help provide the historical record for your incompetent, misguided leader .....

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/25/national/25PANE.html?pagewanted=1&hp

Posted by: demvet at July 25, 2004 02:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ann writes: "Clinton receives daily updates on Bin laden's whereabouts and Berger thwarts the millenium attacks...."

Sandy Berger "thwarted" the attacks? Perhaps you've been reading the Times too much:
http://www.timeswatch.org/articles/2004/0723.asp

As the actual 9/11 report shows (try pages 177-79), the millennium plot was thwarted by luck--border guard in Washington State thought the nervous man in the last car off the ferry was carrying drugs. Turns out Ahmed Ressam was part of the millennium plot, but his capture had nothing to do with Sandy Berger.

link to the report: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20040722_911Report.pdf

Posted by: Clay Waters at July 25, 2004 03:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Demented Vetenarian,

"True inner workings"? ... Ah, yes, the nuance and logic. Well, thanks. You're awfully kind.

Speaking of which, you may want to reread your first post. You see, *you* are the one that is "not liking" the "hemming and hawing". I was the one explaining it to you, in an -in would seem now, vain -attempt to answer your question.

Query: What do you mean when you write; "And yes, it is "the paper of record""? What question of mine are you refering to?

"Weeeeelllll....We're wait-ing...."
htts:/owa.murrayserver.caddyshack.html/tedknight/dannyquotes

Posted by: Tommy G at July 25, 2004 09:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I see that John Kerry took the punchbowl a few days ago. He removed the link to Joe Wilson's web site, the one he was paying for. We can get your infantile Bush bashing anywhere on the web. I think the fact that your champion has deserted Wilson settles the argument in the favor of us right wingers.

I think that Berger's demotion from 'top/key adviser' and potential Secretary of State to 'unpaid/informal' adviser and potential jail-bird settles this one.

Do you guys ever get tired of being wrong?

Posted by: Moptop at July 26, 2004 03:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm just amazed that the NYT didn't complain, in the next breath, that news of the investigation, ongoing since October of 2003, was withheld by the Bush White House.

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