|Perhaps. The NYT put the story on page A-16...|
Clinton is being quoted as laughing at the situation, attributing it to Berger's desk always being a mess.
Ignoring the fact that the papers were not supposed to be anywhere near his desk seems to be the way to go on this.
There are some good questions posted on this site...
July 20, 2004
Posted at 6:00 PM, Pacific
What did Kerry know, and when did he know it?
Was Kerry aware that Berger had stolen classified documents, and that he was under investigation for the theft? Did Kerry accept briefings based upon these stolen documents? Did Berger brief others in the campaign organization? Was Schrum consulted on the upside of keeping around the target of an investigation? Did the Kerry people fail to see anything wrong with the pants-stuffing Berger?
Ask every question of Kerry that would be asked of Bush if Condi Rice had been caught pilfering state secrets from secure rooms for personal use and destruction.
The Berger scandal is accelerating faster than any scandal I can remember, from a buried three inch, page 17 story in almost all of the big papers this morning, to front web page this evening in the New York Times and the Washington Post (though far down the scroll). More details are spilling out all over the web (see FreeRepublic and DemocraticUnderground for the latest headlines and panicked reactions from within Democratic circles, respectively.) Captain's Quarters is unrelenting in unspinning the spin put out by the New York Times, which was working overtime to make light of the theft of classified information. Incredibly, Matthew Yglesias seems to think the biggest fall-out from this will be to clear Richard Holbrooke's path to the SecState desk. Joshua Marshall seems to understand that there's a big torpedo in the water aimed at the Kerry campaign. See questions in the first paragraph. Add these questions: Did the 9/11 Commission know about this and if so, did they question Berger about it under oath, or did the D.C. "circle-the-wagons-around-the-wounded-and-the-stupid" kick in? I have seen some reports that the Commission staff is saying this doesn't impact their report. Calling John Lovitz: Someone is impersonating you without a license.
Dennis Miller and I kicked this around on his show a couple of hours ago when we taped tonight's program. Miller may be the smartest cable host going, and he gave me a hard time on a number of items, but he's west coast not east coast, and resisted drawing the obvious implications. He thought there'd be no connection to Kerry at all beyond "stepping on Kerry's story" this week in the big run-up. That effect is huge as it gives media something to talk about through the endless hours of motions and reports other than John Kerry's Vietnam service and Theresa's tax returns. Recall the 2000 controversy over whether "rats" appeared in hidden fashion in a Bush ad? That was a major story, and the criminal behavior of Kerry's senior foreign policy advisor isn't?
There's much much more to this, as Berger's slap-dash --at best-- treatment of the nation's secrets in a time of war again underscores the Dems' fundamental unseriousness about national security. On issue after issue they speechify and then act irresponsibly. They attend Michael Moore premiers and change positions on Iraq weekly. There is no substance at all within their ranks, simply the manueverings of time-servers and pyramid climbers. Berger's antics underline this Democratic habit of subordinating everything to political advantage, and I don't think it is going to pass unnoticed by an American public that knows full well we remain in a war.
Posted at 5:25 AM, Pacific
Up early to talk about Arnold with Katie on Today. My key talking point: Hanz and Franz aren't homophobic. Sacramento Dems seem to have realized that they are looking foolish and humor-challenged --again.
The segment before mine featured David Gergen defending Sandy Berger. Gergen is one of D.C.'s good guys, genuinely liked by just about everyone, and he's doing what a friend should do in coming to the defense of his pal Sandy by downplaying the seriousness of the investigation. He also tried to blow a little smoke by suggesting that the leak of the news was timed to divert attention from the 9/11 Commission report due out Thursday.
A number of points.
First, there wasn't anyone available this morning to the Today Show bookers to point out that Berger's actions in tampering with documents undermines the reliability of the Commission's report? Garbage in, garbage out, right? Even if the Commission was a genuine non-partisan effort instead of a show trial designed to keep the eye off of Clinton's indifference to al Qaeda throughout the '90s, it would still have needed all the records, and in an untampered form. How can anyone think it was a good idea to let a potentially responsible party review the evidence against him and his colleagues? No one wanted to make these simple points opposite Gergen?
Second, keep applying the Condi Rice test. If Dr. Rice had been caught stuffing her blouse with highly classified handwritten notes from the days after 9/11, what would be going on in D.C. right now? Do you think The Today Show could have found someone to criticize Rice on air?
Gergen pointed to the placement of the Berger story inside the Washington Post as evidence that it isn't that significant. Huh? It is on page 2, hardly a burial ground for minor flare-ups. The story hit too late for most of the papers to get more than the AP report into print, but it should be boiling by tomorrow, and the blogosphere is already on full storm watch, and no doubt details will develop throughout the day.
First question: Does John Kerry condone this? Berger is a senior advisor to Kerry, so watch if the Dems want this scandal to follow their already struggling nominee to Boston.
The biggest question of all: If you can't trust Democrats with classified documents, how can you trust them with the national security? Answer: You can't, not if you are prudent. The recklessness and fecklessness of the Clinton years on all sorts of matters of highest importance --from the al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, to getting duped by the North Koreans and worked by Arafat-- came home to roost with a deadly vengeance on 9/11. Are we going to give the same crowd another run at the controls, for that's what a vote for the Kerry-Moore Democrats means?
This isn't just the possibly criminal action of one man, it is the conduct of the senior White House foreign policy official from the Clinton era, and the action of a confidant and advisor to John Kerry. Had Rice been the one caught tampering with the records of the Bush Administration relating to terrorism, Rice would already have been forced by a baying press to resign, and Bush would be threatened with a Watergate-style meltdown. But it is a pro-Kerry media, so watch for Berger's attempted cover-up to get its own cover-up.