Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Clinton Defends Berger

Drudge is reporting that in an interview with the Denver Post set to hit newsstand tomorrow, Bill Clinton defends Sandy Berger. In the interview, Clinton states that "We were all laughing about it", in reference to the federal investigation. How many Americans will think a former Clinton administration member removing classified documents pertaining to a terrorist attack that killed over 3,000 people on American soil is funny? Clinton goes on to describe it as a "non-story", and continues what immediately became the Democratic spin, that the real story is not a former National Security Adviser willing to risk prison to purge documents from the national archive by stuffing them in his clothes, but that the story was made public just before the Democratic convention. The public is not going to buy this.

These are very serious allegations. Sandy Berger was, until today, an adviser to John Kerry. Hugh Hewitt is asking the questions that the media should be asking John Kerry: What did you know and when did you know it? Bill Clinton has apparently told the Post that he has known about the story for several months. Jim Geraghty at the Kerry Spot at the National Review is reporting that the Kerry Campaign only found out about the investigation yesterday. If Bill Clinton knew about the investigation months ago and "they" were "all laughing about it", how is it possible that the Kerry Campaign just found out about it yesterday? It seems impossible that John Kerry would not know that one of his advisers was under investigation if Berger, Clinton and friends were laughing about it. The idea that Kerry just found out seems like a convenient story to minimize the damage to his campaign.

Sandy Berger and his allies are denying that he put any documents in his socks, and they are demanding that the person who made the allegation come forward and make it publicly. Fox News has reported that it was Berger and his attorney that stated Berger had placed items in his socks:

Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.

While Fox News may very well have the story wrong, it seems that the first people to report suspicious behavior on Sandy Berger's part were employees of the National Archive who saw Berger placing documents in his clothing:

The FBI searches of Berger's home and office occurred after National Archives employees said they believed they witnessed Berger placing documents in his clothing while reviewing sensitive Clinton administration papers and that some documents were missing.

So it may be that the people that Berger and Co. are demanding come forward with the sock charge is an employee of the national archive who can't because of the ongoing investigation. Also, it is important to remember that multiple copies of the same document disappeared after being reviewed by Berger, and this is what triggered the investigation:

Breuer said the Archives staff first raised concerns with Berger during an Oct. 2 review of documents that at least one copy of the post-millennium report he had reviewed earlier was missing. Berger was given a second copy that day, Breuer said.

Officials said Archive staff specially marked the documents and when the new copy and others disappeared, Archive officials called Clinton attorney Bruce Lindsey.

So, Berger was given classified reports (written by none other than Richard Clarke) to review and they disappeared. The staff noticed they were missing and provided Berger with additional, specially marked copies of the reports later the same day, and they disappeared. Why did the staff put special markings on the copies of the reports after the first version disappeared? It is a question that needs to be answered.

The missing documents include "two or three draft versions of the report as it was being refined by the Clinton administration". Was there something in one of the versions of the draft report that Sandy Berger did not want made public? Although the September 11th Commission has stated that they saw the final version of the report, did they ever have access to the draft versions that are missing? If Sandy Berger wanted the documents there must have been something of value in them.

The Blogosphere had led this story from the beginning, and their is excellent analysis and links at Instapundit.