Hypocrisy: If Only Sandy Berger Were A Republican? genre: Polispeak & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The Usual Suspects

There are days when I wish the blogosphere would disappear...and then I reconsider because by and large it is a valuable venue for the exchange of ideas and information. Unfortunately, there are times when the content provides more spin than a spinning class at the health club.

One of those items is making the rounds today and it involves an article in the Examiner which makes the assertion that Sandy Berger is a foreign policy advisor for the Clinton campaign...a fact the Senator's staff has denied. The focus, of course, is on the fact that Berger was caught removing classified documents from the National Archives.

Sandy Berger, who stole highly classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, destroyed them and lied to investigators, is now an adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Berger, who was fired from John Kerry’s presidential campaign when the scandal broke in 2004, has assumed a similar role in Clinton’s campaign, even though his security clearance has been suspended until September 2008. This is raising eyebrows even among Clinton’s admirers. “It shows poor judgment and a lack of regard for Berger’s serious misdeeds," said law professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University, who nonetheless called Clinton “by far the most impressive candidate in the Democratic field."

The Justice Department initially said Berger stole only copies of classified documents and not originals. But the House Government Reform Committee later revealed that an unsupervised Berger had been given access to classified files of original, uncopied, uninventoried documents on terrorism. Several Archives officials acknowledged that Berger could have stolen any number of items and they “would never know what, if any, original documents were missing."

At his sentencing in September 2005, Berger was fined $50,000, placed on probation for two years and stripped of his security clearance for three years.

The USA Today reported the following exchange with the Senator in which she denies that Berger is an advisor:

"He has no official role in my campaign. He's been a friend for more than 30 years. But he doesn't have any official role," Clinton said.

But he's an unofficial adviser, Susan asked?

"I have thousands of unofficial advisers," said Clinton, "and, you know, I appreciate all of that. But he has no official role in my campaign."

No doubt the Clinton response could have been better...but there is also a risk of overreacting to a non-event and giving it more credence than it warrants. Take whatever side you want on Senator Clinton's candidacy...but when this situation is coupled with the Obama lapel pin "scandal"...I find myself wondering what's next in the political pursuit of petty prevaricating.

Perhaps if Sandy Berger had only been indicted on federal cocaine charges like the Giuliani "official" South Carolina campaign chairman...or endorsed for Secretary of Homeland Security to the Bush administration like Rudy Giuliani's business partner, Bernard Kerik...or arrested for soliciting sex in a public restroom like Senator McCain's "official" campaign operative in Florida...or plead guilty to disorderly conduct in Minnesota after being arrested for soliciting sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom while serving as the "official" Idaho chairman for the Romney campaign...or raised thousands of dollars for numerous GOP candidates...including the President...before pleading guilty to fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy...then just maybe his inferred "unofficial" role in the Clinton campaign wouldn't be such a serious matter worthy of intense scrutiny.

Better yet, if Mr. Berger had worked for the Vice President, he may have garnered the sympathy of the Bush administration and received a commutation from none other than the President.

Too bad Mr. Berger isn't a Republican...they have so much more experience with these types of situations.

Image courtesy of Talk Left

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