Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Berger 'scandal'

Man, all the bloviating... I guess I'd better add to the gas.

I just can't get all worked up over the removal of notes - Berger was getting ready to testify UNDER OATH (something neither Bush nor Cheney has ever done) about what the Clinton administration did on terrorism prior to the millenium. Given the vindictive nature of the current administration, it's not surprising that he wanted to refresh his memory on every iota of minisculia; if he had said, for instance, that a taskforce first met on Tuesday at 1pm when it actually met on Weds at 3pm (the tuesday meeting being the 'pre-meeting to prepare for the meeting', as all good bureaucrats should know), he knew he would have found himself facing a criminal perjury charge for 'lying under oath'. So yeah, he's taking notes.

I'm cracking up at the nuance people are putting on this - a guy takes some notes and shoves them in his pants pocket, and suddenly he's smuggling out documents in his 'pants', with all its 'shoved down the back of his drawers' connotation.

What has clearly emerged from all the hot air is: the FBI visited Berger's house in October and removed some documents that he asked them to come retrieve after the archivists called Bruce Lindsay and said 'we think your guy took some of our docs' (or words to that effect). Since then, he apparently has not been questioned on the matter. This is an ongoing investigation? For eight months?

Bloviators on the right are leaping to the conclusion that Berger was trying to hide something from the 9/11 commission... by removing copies of documents from '99. Say huh?

Then there's the whole 'sock' thing. First reports out on this was that Berger had admitted to removing documents in his 'pants' and 'socks'. Later reports retracted the socks admission, but that certainly hasn't removed it from the blogisphere, where the socks are figuring heavily in people's arguments as to Berger's 'intent'. I suspect the socks will take on a life of their own, and be cited as proof of democratic perfidy as long as Al Gore continues to be accused of 'claiming he invented the internet'. You can't keep a good meme down, I guess.

Kevin Drum, bless his innocent little heart, has this to say:

Oh, and this: despite dark allegations that the investigation into Berger was leaked by Republicans to take attention off the upcoming 9/11 report, I think it must have actually been a Democrat who leaked it. Frankly, if I were a Republican, I would have waited until around the last week of October or so. My guess is that some sharp Democratic operative figured out that this wasn't going to stay a secret forever and decided (correctly) that it was better to get it into the open now rather than later.

Duh, Kevin. The 9/11 report is being released on Thursday. In that report are going to be accounts of things the Clinton administration (led in this by Sandy Berger) did on counter-terrorism leading up to the turn of the century, including some plots thwarted and recommendations made to the incoming Bush administration that they no doubt deep-sixed as bearing the Clinton Taint and thus being unworthy of consideration by their noble, returning-honor-to-the-white-house administration. This is the perfect time for the Rove Machine to poison the well on Sandy Berger. (I just don't know about Kevin any more - when he was CalPundit, he seemed to be less naive... )

What I want to know is: when are the Major Media going to have the epiphany that pimping stories for the current administration isn't going to earn them a lot of chits in the NEXT administration? Anyone?


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