Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Sandy Berger, purloiner

Today’s Washington Post article on the Berger National Archive issue adds a bit to what we know. And, frankly, none of the new information is to Sandy Berger’s advantage. He kept taking things. And it’s not good enough to say that they were many drafts of the same memo. The memos are not the same if, for example, there had been some additions by anyone in the margins; then each is a unique and original document. Note this paragraph, especially: "The government source said the Archives employees were deferential toward Berger, given his prominence, but were worried when he returned to view more documents on Oct. 2. They devised a coding system and marked the documents they knew Berger was interested in canvassing, and watched him carefully. They knew he was interested in all the versions of the millennium review, some of which bore handwritten notes from Clinton-era officials who had reviewed them. At one point an Archives employee even handed Berger a coded draft and asked whether he was sure he had seen it. 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." Although everyone is being pretty cautious in this matter, Andrew Sullivan is quite explicit: "This suggests that Berger was trying to purloin potentially embarrassing data on his tenure. That’s astonishing."

It also seems to me that one can’t help wondering why Berger did not tell John Kerry that he was under criminal investigation, and why former Clinton spokeman Joe Lockhart and Clinton’s counsel Bruce Lindsay got immediately involved in the matter. Watch this issue be placed out of sight for the next week or so, to be replaced by the 9/11 Commission Report and the Democratic convention. Yet, it will linger, and will reassert itself by mid-September or so. I’m guessing that there will be more embarrasing revelations, although what we already know is plenty. But take a look at this from Hugh Hewitt (who happens to be a lawyer): "But eventually the public needs to know not what was attempted to be excised from the archive--it may be too sensitive to reveal--but only if there was information unique to the draft(s) that Berger lost. If there was, Berger wasn’t being sloppy. He was being precise."

Discussions - 2 Comments

"This is a good reminder of what his presidency was, as a wit once said, "a series of sexual episodes between two Bushes.""

This line was included in the Ashbrook Update. Why is it omitted here?

It proves the existence of God. Something that humorous could not be random.

I pieced together the Update after NLT, and I guess I only thought of it while doing so. That’s all. In this case nothing was intended.

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