[Previously, at WEJB/NSU:
“Travelgate: When Hillary Clinton Deliberately Cost a Man His Job and His Savings, Committed Malicious Prosecution Against Him, and Perjured Herself About the Whole Affair”; and
“Hillary and Her Goons: Secretary Clinton’s History of Violence and Intimidation Against Reporters.”]
BVDgate: All the Ex-President's MenBy Nicholas Stix
July 26, 2004
A Different Drummer, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, etc.
Part I: What was in Sandy Berger's Underwear?
Republicans are filled with glee, as Democrats fall all over themselves, trying to diminish the fact that Bill Clinton's former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, was caught stuffing classified documents and national secrets down his drawers, in his jacket, in his socks, and in a leather portfolio, in order to steal them from the National Archives, and to later destroy some of them. (Berger returned some documents, but only after he was caught, but had "accidentally" destroyed the most important ones.) Note that Berger reportedly burgled the Archives on five separate occasions. Watergate, meet BVDgate.
For the past thirty years, many observers have thought it the height of paranoia for Pres. Richard Nixon's men to burglarize the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel in June 1972, given that Nixon clearly was going to win re-election in a landslide in 1972 against left-liberal Democrat Sen. George McGovern. If the Watergate break-in and Nixon's attempted cover-up of it, which led to his forced resignation in August 1974 were the height of paranoia, we need a new vocabulary to describe the burglarizing of the National Archives after Bill Clinton had won re-election, completed two terms of office, and left the White House. In the spirit of Bill and Hillary Clinton's teacher, Karl Marx, who said that all great world-historical incidents and individuals occur twice, "the first time as tragedy, the second as farce," one can't help asking, "What did the ex-President know, and when did he know it?"
Sandy Burglar, er, Berger used weasel words like "inadvertent" and "accidentally discarded" to wish away criminal acts that jeopardized national security, and which were likely done to protect the Clinton Administration from facing the tribunal of history, and to save John Kerry's presidential campaign (which Berger served as an advisor, until the BVDgate revelations became public, and he resigned). Berger would have disgraced himself and his comrades less, had he simply refused comment.
In order to diminish the significance of such shoplifter behavior with a straight face, you have to either be on powerful sedatives, bite your tongue clear through, or be the sort of sociopath that could fool a polygraph expert.
Rich Shoplifters are Not Like You or Me
And I know shoplifters. While teaching college during the late 1990s, I used to moonlight as a security guard at what was then the word's biggest toy store, the Toys'R'Us at 34th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan (as well as other local Toys'R'Us stores). But none of the mopes I caught ever claimed that his theft was "inadvertent," and none of them had a former president defending them, by saying that they were so disorganized, that they did that sort of thing all the time.
An explanation of my usage is in order. Journalists are supposed to say that a suspect "allegedly" committed a crime, or that "police said" that he committed a crime. That requirement does not apply, however, to cases where a suspect has admitted to the crime. Since the law usually requires criminal intent, Sandy Berger has sought to confuse matters, by saying that he only "inadvertently" stole and in certain cases "accidentally discarded" the documents in question, but all the Clintonesque dishonesty in the world cannot twist language so completely, that one can "inadvertently" stick government secrets in one's drawers and socks, or due to "sloppiness" "accidentally discard" highly classified, secret reports. Especially when one is a former national security advisor, who formulated protocols for securing national secrets.
The most significant pieces of Berger's booty were anywhere from two to five drafts and one copy of the final report -- the "Millennium After-Action Review" (hereafter: "MAAR") -- on al Qaeda's failed Millennium Plot to simultaneously blow up LAX Airport and other targets on New Year's Eve 1999, that he absconded with in a leather portfolio.
The "accidents" occurred last year, while Berger was on a mission for Bill Clinton, to select which documents to turn over to the 911 Commission. The MAAR, whose drafts -- full of hand-written notes by administration officials and family members -- which Berger destroyed, was arguably the most important such document.
I Knew Max Weber, He was a Friend of Mine, and Mr. Berger, You're No Max Weber!
Since it was against the law for Berger to remove anything from the Archives, all of his defenses and those of his cronies and former chief are irrelevant. (He thought that the drafts were "only photocopies," rather than originals; he was reading through "thousands of pages" of documents each day he spent in the Archives, and lost track; he's such a mess, that he made such mistakes all the time in the past.) And note that he was jamming documents into his socks, his jacket pocket, his BVDs, and his leather portfolio. Indeed, as an old security guard, I have to wonder what purpose the portfolio served, save as a crime tool.
There is only one scenario I can conceive of, in which Berger would have done grunt work normally unheard of for such a powerful man: He was up to no good, and did not want any witnesses. He didn't realize that he had witnesses, anyway.
In the Millennium Plot, al Qaeda sought on New Year's Eve, 1999, to simultaneously to blow up the Radisson Hotel in Amman, Jordan; LAX Airport in Los Angeles; and U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS The Sullivans, in the harbor at Aden, Yemen. In thwarting the Millennium Plot, high-level, multi-billion-dollar federal terror watchdogs proved worthless. Jordanian intelligence foiled the Amman hit, without any help from the U.S.; a U.S. customs agent and FBI agent prevented the LAX hit, without any help or directives from Washington; and the Yemen attack failed due to the incompetence of al Qaeda's operatives.
Part II: “The Dick Clarke Show.”