Despite the shame of being caught, former Clinton Security adviser Sandy Berger may have accomplished his mission in purloining documents from the National Archives. As Hugh Hewitt writes in the Weekly Standard:
“Berger’s sticky fingers have left a gap in the record of the Clinton administration’s response to the growing threat posed by al Qaeda. Unless other files exist with all the same drafts and handwritten notes that Berger destroyed, we will never be able to conclude whether Berger’s actions were simply another display of fecklessness and recklessness on an issue of national security, or an attempt to bleach the record of Clinton-era malpractice on matters of terror.”
This is an incredibly serious matter, and yet in the initial reporting on the Berger case the press chose to focus on the timing of what they implied, in a critical tone, was a leak–odd since reporters are dependent on leaks.
“The leak is to Washington what the potato was to Ireland — the staff of life, the thing that gives energy to human activity,” writes Tony Blankley of the Washington Times. “Without the leak the Washington Post would be three pages long, CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ would be 60 seconds, most of us in Washington would have to get an honest job — and America would be none the worse.”
Sure, somebody may have leaked the information that Berger was being investigated, and, unless they were morons, they probably timed the leak for some sort of advantage to themselves–so what?
It’s important to find out what Berger took and why and if he has altered the historical record forever. This is more than our amusing scandal for the silly season.