Law School Discussion

Off-Topic Area => Politics and Law-Related News => Topic started by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 07:36:50 AM

Title: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 07:36:50 AM
Even if it was 'honest', it was stupid.  And when was the last time a politician did something honest?



Former Clinton aide at center of terror memos controversy

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 Posted: 4:29 AM EDT (0829 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In his first public comments since news broke that he is the subject of a federal criminal probe involving top-secret memos, former Clinton administration national security adviser Sandy Berger said Tuesday evening that he made "an honest mistake."

Berger took top-secret documents from the National Archives last year while reviewing materials for the 9/11 commission.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/21/berger.probe/
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: buster on July 21, 2004, 08:08:01 AM
Very strange story all the way around. If I understand he took some notes, which may or may not have been allowed, and took some documents, which was certainly not. Maybe it was and honest mistake, or perhaps he had some nefarious reason for doing so. Either way it was awfully stupid, and it doesn't seem like something one could do without expecting to get caught.

Another odd thing about it -- I read elsewhere (having trouble finding it now) that this came up last fall but no one from DOJ has yet talked to Berger. What's up with that?
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 08:10:08 AM
I read that the investigation has been going for almost a year.  It is hard to believe that the revelation at this time is anything but politically motivated.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: buster on July 21, 2004, 08:14:58 AM
Assuming it's politically motivated, wouldn't, say, October be a better time?

On the other hand, maybe it's intended to distract attention from the 9/11 Commission. Aren't they supposed to be releasing a report in the very near future?
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: superiorlobe on July 21, 2004, 08:20:17 AM
Hmmmm.  Jeffjoe seems to be very one-sided in his analysis of political events.  If a democrat is caught doing something bad, then catching him must be "politically motivated".  I'm sure that if a Republican were caught stealing top secret documents he would be outraged and would never dream of criticizing the Democrats for outing him.

This demonstrates that Jeffjoe is prejudiced.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: buster on July 21, 2004, 08:26:22 AM
The question of motivation was not being applied to the catching of Berger -- it was being applied to the timing of the release of the information that Berger had been caught nine months or more after the catching.

Hmmmm.  Jeffjoe seems to be very one-sided in his analysis of political events.  If a democrat is caught doing something bad, then catching him must be "politically motivated".  I'm sure that if a Republican were caught stealing top secret documents he would be outraged and would never dream of criticizing the Democrats for outing him.

This demonstrates that Jeffjoe is prejudiced.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 08:28:18 AM
Did you read my original post where I called the Democrat stupid?

Did you read my subsequent post where I said the timing is politically motivated?

I did not suggest that the investigation is politically motivated.

Berger should be investigated, and tried and convicted if he broke the law. 

Where is the prejudice?

Besides.  I'm not a Democrat.


Hmmmm.  Jeffjoe seems to be very one-sided in his analysis of political events.  If a democrat is caught doing something bad, then catching him must be "politically motivated".  I'm sure that if a Republican were caught stealing top secret documents he would be outraged and would never dream of criticizing the Democrats for outing him.

This demonstrates that Jeffjoe is prejudiced.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: NJBred25 on July 21, 2004, 08:30:31 AM
How could it possibly have been an honest mistake?  He shoved pappers into his socks & down his pants.  How could that be accidental!?  But, of course, since he's not a Republican, no one really cares, too much.  If he was a Republican...Oh Sh*t, it would be a field day.
He should be arrested and put in jail--that's the law and he deliberately disregarded it for political purposes!
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 08:32:29 AM
He honestly thought his socks were brief cases.

Pretty pathetic, I'd say.

But don't get too carried away.  If he was a Republican, the press would have a field day, but would DOJ?

How could it possibly have been an honest mistake?  He shoved pappers into his socks & down his pants.  How could that be accidental!?  But, of course, since he's not a Republican, no one really cares, too much.  If he was a Republican...Oh Sh*t, it would be a field day.
He should be arrested and put in jail--that's the law and he deliberately disregarded it for political purposes!
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: buster on July 21, 2004, 08:38:36 AM
1. It could have been an honest mistake in that he didn't realize he couldn't remove notes he had taken.
2. It could have been an honest mistake in that he didn't realize he had removed any actual documents (this pants and socks thing is a rumor he denies).
3. If no one cares too much what the hell are we talking about, and why is the topic receiving prominent coverage in major news sources?
4. Who are some of the Republicans that are in jail for similar crimes? Which Republicans are in jail for revealing the identity of a covert operative?
5. How do you know that the purposes of his actions were political? If so, how do you know that?

How could it possibly have been an honest mistake?  He shoved pappers into his socks & down his pants.  How could that be accidental!?  But, of course, since he's not a Republican, no one really cares, too much.  If he was a Republican...Oh Sh*t, it would be a field day.
He should be arrested and put in jail--that's the law and he deliberately disregarded it for political purposes!
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 08:42:31 AM
We can't know that Berger's purposes in removing the documents were political, but it is really easy to believe that they were.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: buster on July 21, 2004, 08:57:30 AM
Berger says he was reviewing material in preparation for meeting with the 9/11 Commission. Is that so implausible? (FWIW, I agree that it's also quite plausible that there was some sort of political purpose to it.)

We can't know that Berger's purposes in removing the documents were political, but it is really easy to believe that they were.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: superiorlobe on July 21, 2004, 09:22:24 AM
Sorry.  When I said "catching" I should have said "releasing the information about catching."  My argument stands.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: buster on July 21, 2004, 09:26:36 AM
Stand it may, but it's weak. Had your original argument been accurate it would have been much stronger.

What is your unprejudiced analysis of (a) the news itself, and (b) the timing of said news?

Sorry.  When I said "catching" I should have said "releasing the information about catching."  My argument stands.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 09:32:44 AM
Sorry.  When I said "catching" I should have said "releasing the information about catching."  My argument stands.

You're entitled to your opinion.  The timing is highly questionable whether you want to admit it or not.  Please get real.

And since you don't want to defend your prejudice remark, there must not be much to it.  Hmmmm.  Looks like your argument is standing on its head.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jas9999 on July 21, 2004, 11:23:12 AM
this administration has mastered the politically timed news event to upstage bad/contrary news.

1) the mpls fbi agent whose memo about flight students of arab descent was ignored by higher-ups, colleen rowley, testified before congress. two days later, ashcroft called an overseas news conference to announce... the arrest and detention, over a month earlier, of a terrorist named jose padilla.

2) two days after john kerry announced his running mate, tom ridge held an urgent press conference to announce... that there was no new information about terrorist attacks, but that al-quaida was attempting to disrupt the democratic process. but there was no new information.

3) two days before the 9/11 commission is scheduled to release their report, word leaks of... a nine month old investigation against a former clinton administration official.

are these all coincidental acts of timing? it strains credulity.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: neverends on July 21, 2004, 08:14:47 PM
If I understand correctly they said that Berger's offense would only be a misdemeanor???

He took notes and documents.  The notes were his, and the documents were copies.

I'd like to know where all of W's military records went to? In that case there are originals missing.  A different type of crime altogether.

In the La Times today, the Berger story ran right next to a story about an Haliburton subsidiary and Cheney's doing biz with Iran, when it was clearly illegal to do so.

Balanced coverage?
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: nekko on July 21, 2004, 08:43:59 PM
re: Timing
It seems a bit off to assume there was a Republican political desire to leak the info now. It would best be used later like say during the convention or some other time. At this point the information happens, Berger gets burned and a replacement is found, no harm, no foul. Some people think the timing was such since the commision is going to report their findings it was better for the news to come out now rather afterwards. Otherwise it gives more ammo to opponents since something like this would taint the findings and they'd prefer people talking about the report rather than about leaked documents.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 21, 2004, 09:17:46 PM
Except there are those who would see an advantage to distracting attention from the convention next week.

But we're all just guessing

re: Timing
It seems a bit off to assume there was a Republican political desire to leak the info now. It would best be used later like say during the convention or some other time. At this point the information happens, Berger gets burned and a replacement is found, no harm, no foul. Some people think the timing was such since the commision is going to report their findings it was better for the news to come out now rather afterwards. Otherwise it gives more ammo to opponents since something like this would taint the findings and they'd prefer people talking about the report rather than about leaked documents.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: nekko on July 21, 2004, 09:27:11 PM
Yeah but you'd want it closer if the convention was your target. By the time the convention rolls around it's old news. You bring it just before the convention you have all kinds of juicy questions being asked about Kerry and Berger while Berger is still his advisor. I mean if you want to contrive a situation where it's some Republican plot I'm sure you can do it but current evidence seems to point elsewhere. Really it could be an internal Democrat thing since lots of people would rather have Holbrooke (who I concur is far superior)instead of Berger but that's even more speculative.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: Bman on July 21, 2004, 09:29:12 PM
With respect to the 'this was a politically motivated leak' argument, I'm just going to repost something I read earlier today on another website because I really can't say it better:

Who demonstrably benefits from the timing of the news that Sandy Berger is under investigation for sneaking highly classified documents from the National Archives? Berger and his defenders. So, it is far more likely that the leak came from his side. It would eventually become known that he was under investigation. Would the Democrats' convention week be a better time? How about an October Surprise for the informal Kerry adviser? Republican convention week would be no good because the GOP couldn't be fingered for it given that they have no reason to create a distraction from their own big show. The news this week provides his defenders with the only "defense" they have - suspicious timing! It's worked like a charm--Dan Rather headlined the alleged well-orchestrated leak to coincide with the 9/11 Commission report before the underlying charges were even mentioned. And, the timing provides the Democrats with a two-fer: dastardly Republicans are smearing Berger to distract attention from the pending criticism of President Bush who ignored warnings about 9/11, which is not the conclusion of the Commission but who the heck is actually going to read the report?

Had someone friendly to the Administration wanted to distract attention from uncomfortable coverage of the White House by disclosing the Berger investigation they sure missed plenty of better opportunities than on the eve of the 9/11 Commission report. How about when Berger's successor Condi Rice was being pilloried for refusing to testify in public? It would have been a helpful distraction during Richard Clarke's media blitz. When Berger himself testified about how the Clinton Administration did everything humanly possible to get OBL and thwart attacks questions about what he was up to in the National Archives would have been pertinent.

Anyone who doesn't appreciate how the Berger bunch has used the fortuitous timing to their advantage must have slept through the Clinton years. The defense is classic. First, the mean Republicans, then the meaningless personal testimonials--"if you knew Sandy Berger like I know Sandy Berger (or Betty Currie). . .," then the irrelevant--he is an extremely hardworking guy who was only trying to help the Commission (we're working, working, working here at the White House), and finally (the political use of FBI files, the lost billing records) the removal of the classified documents was "inadvertent."



http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/04_07_18_corner-archive.asp#036189    (link here)


Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: buster on July 22, 2004, 07:51:58 AM
FWIW, for the reasons Bman described I do think that it could have been leaked by Democrats for politically motivated reasons. I also, as noted earlier, think it could have been leaked by Republicans for politically motivated reasons (distract attention from 9/11 Commission report, to be more specific).


The bottom line, I think, based on what we have been told to this point:

What Berger did was inexcusably stupid (whether a mistake or an intentional act) and obviously illegal. The investigation began last fall, but someone just leaked word of it. Whoever did that was probably politically motivated to do so.
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 22, 2004, 09:49:07 AM
We can guess at length as to who benefits most.  And we could guess at length if that party is the one that leaked the information.

All guesses. 
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jas9999 on July 22, 2004, 11:20:53 AM
it's worth noting that on tuesday the white house denied reports they had knowledge of the investigation before it was made public. on wednesday, they were forced to retract that and acknowledged that the white house counsel has known for some time...
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jgruber on July 22, 2004, 11:27:10 AM
Doesn't someone in the WH realize how stupid they look when they do things like this time and time?


it's worth noting that on tuesday the white house denied reports they had knowledge of the investigation before it was made public. on wednesday, they were forced to retract that and acknowledged that the white house counsel has known for some time...
Title: Re: Berger says he made 'honest mistake'
Post by: jas9999 on July 22, 2004, 12:20:24 PM
no, because they assume most of the populace a) won't even notice, or b) will give bush the benefit of the doubt because they think he's a swell guy. so far, it's hard to argue that their strategy has failed.

i think it's ridiculous to suggest that berger or the dems arranged this. if he has known for some time that he was being investigated, and wanted to leak it, he would have done it a months ago. you can say that now is a better time than any time AFTER today, and i'd agree. but any time within the last nine months would have been better than today.  that argument only makes sense if you ignore that second - and rather salient - point.

and notice that this comes at the same time as the republicans are jumping on joe wilson over the iraq/niger uranium issue trying to destroy his credibility. nevermind that his credibility has nothing to do with the leaking of his wife's name, which is likely a felony regardless of who she's married to.

so let's recap: the republicans are running the names of TWO kerry foreign policy advisors through the mud a) the week of the 9/11 commission report and b) the week before the democratic convention. here's a good article on the subject from salon: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/07/22/berger_and_wilson/index.html