The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, July 22, 2004
 

The Sam-burglar Express running for miles on fumes


The misdeeds - whatever they were - of Samuel Berger (Sandy to his still many friends) at the National Archivesare fast proving another Trent Lott/Dixiecrat divertissement for the blogosphere, it seems.

The ratio of fact to theory on offer is positively Falstaffian (June 28); the WaPo piece today (which ran on A6) provides some interesting information. And is singular in style.

The lede is strikingly a feature, not a news one:
Last Oct. 2, former Clinton national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger stayed huddled over papers at the National Archives until 8 p.m.

A whiff of the police procedural there, perhaps. It starts as it means to go on:
What he did not know as he labored through that long Thursday was that the same Archives employees who were solicitously retrieving documents for him were also watching their important visitor with a suspicious eye.

Wot larks! The Post editorial function suddenly pixilated (perhaps it was the socks that did it), and winking to its readers.

The facts as retailed don't look good for Berger's oops theory of how the documents found their way out of the NA building. The main documents of interest, it seems, are
different drafts of a January 2000 "after-action review" of how the government responded to terrorism plots at the turn of the millennium
produced by Richard Clarke.

(Theories I've seen advanced is that some of these drafts carry manuscript comments by one or more members of the Clinton Administration, which Berger was anxious the 9/11 Commission should not get to see; or that Berger wished to preserve such drafts, fearing that the Bushies would try to disappear them. Who knows?)

An AP piece explains the security system for readers at the NA [1]. As former NSA, Berger got special treatment, apparently.

The NY Daily News expandson the exceptionalism of Berger's treatment - including a minor gem of sourcing:
Asked if guards left Berger alone in the classified reading room while he made calls, archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper replied, "I'm not going to say I haven't heard that."

On the right, the dudgeon is as high as a elephant's eye over the New York Times' treatment today under hed White House Knew of Inquiry on Aide; Kerry Camp Irked.

The Belgravia Dispatch fulminates - to what seems to be widespread acclaim -
Rarely have I seen a major newspaper play a story in such brazenly partisan fashion.

It truly beggars belief.


The objection is to the piece's angle: the belated admission that the White House Counsel's office had been told by Justice about the investigation.

(No doubt, Kossacks' belief was beggared by the fact that the SCLM [2] should have managed to slant a piece in a way hostile to the Administration!)

A search reveals that, on Sockgate, there have been four pieces by staff writers run by the Times [3], plus three wire pieces: hardly surprising that a fresh slant would be sought.

(Outrage is only possible amongst those subscribing to the fatuous and counterfactual theory of objective journalism. Strange to find it from a resident of London whose press famously glories in its lack of objectivity!)

  1. The piece notes an earlier case of documents going AWOL:
    the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment communications journal for July 1950, during the Korean War. That month, a battalion from the cavalry killed many South Korean refugees at the village of No Gun Ri.
    The record filleted for the greater good, no doubt. Under whose administration, I wonder?

  2. So Called Liberal Media - of which the NYT is perhaps the prime example.

  3. On July 20 Kerry Adviser Steps Aside Amid Outcry Over Documents, July 20 Clinton Aide Took Classified Material and July 21 A Kerry Adviser Leaves the Race Over Missing Documents.


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