Friday, July 30, 2004

Sandy Berger: smeared then cleared

Remember those news reports right before the Democratic convention that said former Clinton national security advisor Sandy Berger was being investigated for stealing classified documents relating to the 9/11 investigation from the National Archive? They quoted annonymous sources charging that Berger had snuck the documents out hidden in his pants and socks? It made great fodder for lots of editorial cartoons and conservative commentators.

Well, nevermind.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the 9/11 Commission on which he serves. At worst, Berger admits that he inadvertently took some photocopies of some material that was later returned. He denies stuffing the documents in his pants.

“Officials looking into the removal of classified documents from the National Archives by former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel Berger say no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The conclusion by archives officials and others would seem to lay to rest the issue of whether any information was permanently destroyed or withheld from the commission.

Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper said officials there "are confident that there aren't any original documents missing in relation to this case." She said in most cases, Mr. Berger was given photocopies to review, and that in any event officials have accounted for all originals to which he had access.”

Just another non-story that was blown all out of proportion by our so-called-liberal media and conveniently served the purposes of the Bush administration.

The right-wing web site has put out a story headlined Archives Denies Report That Berger Is in the Clear.

But if you read the story you see that the headline and lead paragraph are misleading. The spokeswoman for the Archive is not denying or disputing the WSJ story. She is only reaffirming a “no comment” statement that she probably gave to the WSJ as well.
Apparently the WSJ has better sources for their story and they did not let a “no comment” from the Archive’s PR flack prevent them from finding out what is really going on like NewsMax has done.
But NewsMax is not a real newsgathering organization. It is a propaganda tool and should be viewed as such. Unfortunately, many conservatives rely on websites like NewsMax and DrudgeReport to get all their information and so they stay constantly misinformed and do silly things like voting for Bush.

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