Richard Miniter lays out the specifics of his broken relationship with Sandy Berger, Clinton Adminstration National Security Adviser from 1997 to 2001. Berger, infamous for smuggling classified documents out of the National Archives in 2005 and for "inadvertantly" destroying them, has recently been named as one of Senator Hillary Clinton's "top three foreign policy advisers" in her campaign to (re)take the White House. (The other two are former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke.)
Of the appointment, Miniter asks, rhetorically, no doubt:
Did she bring him aboard to reward him for his criminal destruction of classified material? Or did she sign him up because of his stellar record in fighting bin Laden in the late 1990s?Both, with the first being most important as it demonstrates loyalty. Back in January of this year, Ronald A. Cass pointed out that
Mr. Berger's willingness to risk everything to suppress the information goes well beyond ordinary concerns against excessive disclosure.Miniter reminds us that the copies known to have been taken and destroyed by Berger are only unique in that they contain hand-written notes in the margins; notes which were penned by President Clinton. The copies were those of the
Millennium After-Action Review, a binder-sized report prepared by Richard Clarke in 2000—a year and half before the 9-11 attacks. The review made a series of recommendations for a tougher stance against bin Laden and terrorism.Allegedly, Former President Clinton's notes could have been construed as a lack of presidential desire to confront Osama and his terrorists cohorts in spite of the continuous attacks sustained on US interests in the 1990s and in spite of Osama's objectively expressed intention to keep upping the ante--fulfilled by 9/11. Berger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified documents and received what amounted to a slap on the wrist for his "mistake": a $56,905.52 fine and two years probation
with his probation conditioned on his not committing "another federal, state, or local crime," and on his performance of 100 hours of community service. In addition to other standard conditions of probation (such as not associating with persons engaged in criminal activity, permitting visits by probation officers, and so forth), U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson also approved an unusual plea bargain term as a further condition of Berger's probation: "Defendant shall have no access to any classified material for a period of three (3) years."Additionally, Berger gave up his law license--an act which allowed him to avoid having to face a disbarment hearing, and, therefore, having to publicly testify to his actions.
Between the recent revelations regarding a certain Mr. Hsu and the appointment of Berger, one can see that the "culture of corruption" is alive, well and proceeding apace--just not on the Right. And, as Beldar asks in the link above, why would Senator Clinton use such a man as a "foreign policy adviser," a man whose guilty plea and subsequent conviction of mishandling and destroying classified materials appear to demonstrate sloppiness at best and a threat to national security at worst?
Because Berger's actions were no accident and, therefore, not at all sloppy. But what of national security?
Does anyone care about these flagrant demonstrations of Clintonian (lack of) character besides Right-wing bloggers? Judging from the lack of Leftist outrage regarding the Hsu saga and the fact that the senator remains the front-runner to win the Democrat presidential nomination in 2008, I'd say 'no'. Ronald Reagan was called the "Teflon President," but compared to the "Co-Presidents," the Great Reagan was an amateur in this regard. And--unlike the 1980s--the fact that such information on Berger and the Clintons is available at the fingertips of the American public makes the last point that much more striking. Apathy, lack of integrity, the Big Media's demonstrable partisanship--as personified by the New York Times--and the politically-correct desire to have a woman--any woman, as long as she's a Democrat--as US president will cause such dangers to be ignored.
Hang on. Starting in 2009, it's going to be a bumpy four years.
RELATED: Speaking of Norman Hsu, this morning the Mesa County (Colorado) Sherriff's Department issued some interesting information regarding the campaign-finance bundler to the Stars (of the Democrat Party). Hsu is being held in the Mesa County Detention Facility as he awaits extradition to California.