It should come as no surprise to veteran watchers of the Democratic party that the absurd defenses of Sandy Berger’s document pilfering should have come as quickly and as coordinated as what we have witnessed in the past few days. Smear campaigns and damage control are what the party of Clinton is really all about, and, is anyone really so surprised that the party that tried to redefine ‘is’ in defense of perjury would launch another assault on the English language- this time defending the theft of national secrets?
Let’s go through what happened, and then discuss the talking points and blog reactions. The story:
Clinton administration national security adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger, under criminal investigation for removing copies of highly classified documents from the National Archives, severed his ties to John F. Kerry’s campaign yesterday…
A government official with knowledge of the probe said Berger removed from archives files all five or six drafts of a critique of the government’s response to the millennium terrorism threat, which he said was classified “codeword,” the government’s highest level of document security…
Berger’s attorneys have acknowledged that he removed numerous classified memos, and apparently discarded some, as he reviewed materials on behalf of the Clinton administration for the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They said the removal of documents was inadvertent but that Berger was aware he was violating the law when he removed his handwritten notes without submitting them for review by National Archives staff…
Archives officials discovered that some documents were missing after Berger’s review of the files on Sept. 2, and again Oct. 2. The archives inspector general’s office alerted Berger and former Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey, who is overseeing presidential documents. Berger returned two of the after-action drafts within days, according to his attorneys. Other drafts of the after-action document, they said, were apparently discarded. The archives inspector general began an investigation in October.
Breuer said he does not believe the Justice Department and the FBI are as interested in the handwritten notes as they are in the documents. “We have not been officially told how many documents they actually think are still missing,” said David Fagen, another of Berger’s attorneys. “We believe there are probably no more than two additional versions missing, but we don’t know.”
In other words, on numerous occassions, Berger knowingly removed notes on documents that are one of the most secret classifications possible, as well as pilfering numerous copies of the same memo. Berger ‘accidentally’ and ‘indavertantly,’ while making his mistake, secreted the documents out of the highly secure National Archives in his socks, drawers, jacket, shirt, and leather tote.
That is the story, and it really is that simple, as some of the documents have been recovered in Berger’s possession, and he has admitted to taking the documents. On to the talking points:
1.) These actions were ‘inadvertent.’
Attorney Lanny Breuer says Berger made an “inadvertent mistake,” and adds he has no idea who recently leaked the story.
Indavertent, to most adherents of the English language, means not showing due caution, being careless, or being inattentive. For an example of doing something inadvertently, I will explain what happened to me at a 7/11 like store the other day.
I needed a pack of gum, so I walked down tothe aisle, picked up a big 99 cent pack of extra, and got in line. The line was slow, so I put a piece of gum in my mouth, and indavertently slipped the rest of the pack in my pocket. When I got the front of the line, I handed the clerk $1.05 (West Virginia has been run by Democrats for 100 years, so of coursewe have a regressive 6% tax on foods), and he looked at me and said “How can I help you?”
I then realized, rather sheepishly, that I had inadvertently slipped the gum in my pocket, out of habit. I luaghed, pulled the pack out of my pocket, and joked with the cashier- “Guess I would make a pretty lousy thief.”
That is how you inadvertently do something. Compare that to a former NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, who on three separate occassions (frequently enough that a sting was set up), uses his high security clearance to access sensitive documents in one of the most secure buildings in the government,and then crams numerous copies ofthe same sensitive document down his Joe Boxers before leaving.
In other words, inadvertent, my ass.
2.) This was just a ‘sloppy’ mistake.
Bill Clinton defended his embattled national security adviser Tuesday as a man who “always got things right,” even if his desk was a mess.
“We were all laughing about it on the way over here,” the former president said of the investigation into Samuel “Sandy” Berger on classified terrorism documents missing from the National Archives. “People who don’t know him might find it hard to believe. But … all of us who’ve been in his office have always found him buried beneath papers.” – The Denver Post
Mr. Berger said his lapse was “sloppy,” but House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said “sloppy” wasn’t the right word.
“I think its gravely, gravely serious what he did, if he did it.” – The Washington Times
Last night when I was making spaghetti, I forgot to reduce the heat on the sauce after I added some wine and sugar. It then spattered all over the stove. That was sloppy.
Examples of sloppy writing can e found all over this website. Misused words, (there instead oftheir), comma splices, mis-spelled words, etc. Sloppy writing.
Mr. Berger’s theft of government documents was not sloppy- it was botched. It was not an accident, it was not a mistake, it was not from someone being sloppy with his work. It was an intentional theft. The motive remains unclear at the moment, but the next time you hear one of the Clinton kool-aid crowd try to call this a ‘sloppy mistake,’ feel free to launch the foam brick at the big screen.
3.) The timing of this ‘leak is suspicious.’
On the other hand, Democrats raised questions about the timing of the leak about the investigation, which has been going on for at least nine months. The news broke just days before the 9/11 commission issues its final report and a week before Democrats gather in Boston to nominate Kerry at their national convention.
“I do think the timing is very curious, given this has been under way now for this long,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota. “Somebody leaked it, obviously, with intent, I think, to do damage to Mr. Berger, and I think that’s unfortunate.”
Who cares when this information was leaked, and who cares how much damage this does to Berger. It should ruin his career, and he should never work in government AGAIN. He should probably do time in prison for this, if it is proven in court.
Regardless, as Matt Yglesias notes, this ‘leak’ was not timed to do the most damage- it will be knocked off the front page by the 9/11 report tomorrow, and if anything, it has increased my interest in the 9/11 report. Was Berger trying to withold Documents from the commission, doing some Clintonian CYA?
At anyrate, as this post shows, there never is a good time for leaks that are damaging to Democrats.
4.) This was just ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid.‘
Dumb is believing that Bush had information about the WTC attacks before they happened and yet he did nothing to stop them.
Stupid is continuously employing conspiratorial rhetoric and embracing polemicists and propagandists such as Michael Moore until such dumb thoughts pass as mainstream thought within the Democratic party.
Apparently, dumb and stupid acts are rewarded kindly by Democrats, so maybe that is what they mean when they say Berger’s document theft was ‘dumb and stupid.’ In other words- it was a good thing.
Keep your eye on the nonsense as it spews from the left. The facts remain clear- Berger intentionally stole the documents and secreted his notes from the National Archive. Why he stole them- whether to prep the Kerry campaign, to cover for the Clinton administration or to cover his own ass, or to withhold information from the 9/11 commission- those are serious questions that deserve to be answered. Don’t let the Democrats spin you on this one.