Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sandy Berger's explanation

Just spotted this over at Powerline (hat tip!).

Sandy Berger responded via e-mail to a story by Michael Barone about the purloined secret documents that Berger stuffed into his pants.
John Hinderaker doesn't buy the explanation.

Get a load of this load:

Michael: I screwed up. There was nothing sinister about it. I was under serious pressure to digest the entire Clinton record on terrorism for eight years so that we could testify fully to the 9-11 commission. I spent several arduous days at the Archives looking through the files. This document was interesting to me because I had commissioned it in 2000–a look at what we learned from the millennium terror threats that were avoided. Tired, stressed, I made a very stupid decision–to take the documents home with me so that I could review them in more detail and so that I could compare the apparent differences among versions. Since this document had been widely circulated to all the relevant agencies (State, Defense, CIA, Justice, etc.), I felt certain the commission would get it from one or more of these agencies.

There were no handwritten markings on the documents (which were copies) or anything else unusual. I took no other documents–originals or copies–besides the ones specified in my plea agreement.

The DOJ has stated unequivocally that there is no evidence that I took other documents and that the commission received everything.

That's the long and short of it. I made a very stupid mistake. I deeply regret it. Top-level career Justice Department prosecutors investigated it aggressively for two years. We reached a plea agreement that they believed was fair. That was two years ago. Now I wish this thing would go away.

Best, Sandy

Hinderaker nailed it in noting Berger's perfectly Clintonian parsing. "The DOJ has stated unequivocally that there is no evidence that I took other documents and that the commission received everything."
That's not an assurance that Berger did not take anything else, of course. Bill Clinton used language like this habitually, using the "truth" to mislead as he did during his testimony in the Paula Jones case.
Berger's explanation smells.

Give him the lie detector test that he agreed to when he was sentenced.

If Scooter Libby gets a harsher punishment than this clown, then there's no justice.

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