SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

IS IT JUST ME, OR ISN'T IT A BIG NEWS STORY WHEN A FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER PLEADS GUILTY TO CHARGES OF REMOVING AND DESTROYING CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES? Just last Friday, former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger plead GUILTY to charges brought against him by the Justice Department. But I've heard little on this matter--even from center-right media. In contrast, I have heard many more stories about Rep. Tom DeLay and House ethics rules.

Of course, some Old Media/Legacy Media folks did provide some coverage, some of which "The Scrapbook" (at Weekly Standard) quotes as follows:

The New York Times--which often disapproves of lawbreaking, document destruction, and cover-ups by high government officials--went notably easy on Berger. "Ex-Clinton Adviser to Admit Taking Classified Papers," read their headline. (The Washington Post headline made the more obvious point: "Berger Will Plead Guilty.") According to Times reporter Eric Lichtblau, Berger had "agreed" to plead guilty, had "agreed" to "give up his security clearance for three years," and would pay a $10,000 fine. Lichtblau's walk-up piece bent over backward to minimize Berger's criminal activities, while stressing his reputation as "a respected figure in foreign policy circles for years."

Despite the claims by many former big-shots in the Clinton Administration and by some prominent Kerry campaign officials that the Berger mess was entirely contrived by dishonest Republicans, one should not expect Republicans to be exhonerated. To the contrary, notes "The Scrapbook:

Don't hold your breath waiting for any reporters to notice that Berger's Republican critics have been vindicated. As the Washington Post went out of its way to note, Berger "did not put it in his socks or underwear, as was alleged by some Republicans last summer."

David Limbaugh has a column from last week on this matter--entitled "The Burger Wrist Slap: A Dangerous Precedent." It is suggested reading on this matter. One cannot easily dismiss Limbaugh's observation about Berger that:

His actions -- even if you naively believe they weren't in furtherance of a Clinton cover-up -- grossly undermined the integrity of our investigative process and national security in general.

Besides raising public consciousness about this matter, perhaps the best option available to Republicans was laid out by Robert Moran in NRO, yesterday. In "The Sandy Berger Bind," he recommends that the penalties be increased to reflect the severity of the sort of offense that Berger committed. In the time since 9/11 we have scrutinized our nation's intelligence system, and increasing the penalty for removing and destroying classified information is entirely consistent with our heightened concern over our nation's security.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)


  • At 9:15 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    I agree completely, the fact that things like the DeLay scandle gets air time but not things more important like when a former NSA talks about classified papers is just wrong.

  • At 12:06 PM, Blogger Matt Cole said…

    The lack of mainstream media coverage on this is startling. When Rush Limbaugh has a pill-popping problem, the media tears him apart. Yet, when liberals like Berger have compromised national security there is barely a peep. I am not one to gripe about media biases, but this is absurd. Simply absurd.


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