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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 8, 2005 / 28 Adar II, 5765

What we'll never know about the Sandy Berger affair

By James Lileks


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Please. C'mon. Who among us hasn't shoved classified documents into his pants and jacket by accident? It happens.

You're reviewing some notes — OK, classified notes, but it's not like they're the secret formula for Coke or anything. Somehow they get in your clothing. Maybe you're the sort of person who's always putting things in your pants, and every night you empty out the contents — a gallon of milk, some lawn statuary, some D-cell batteries, one shoe, loose rosary beads. And hey, what's this? Dang: classified documents.

Well, better do the right thing, and return them. But somehow they get cut up and thrown away. You're bad. But it's not like you were intending to sell them to the Chinese, or worse, Fox News.

Should you get sent to the Martha Stewart Memorial Wing of the White Collar Timeout Complex? Not if you're that lovable rapscallion, Sandy Berger, who has admitted that those classified papers didn't leap unaided into his wardrobe.

His verdict: a $10,000 fine and a three-year suspension of his security clearance. Just in time for 2008, when he could be President Hillary's secretary of — now what was the name of that office? He wrote it down somewhere. Must be in his other pants.

When the story first broke, Bill Clinton himself found it risible: Why, that's just Sandy, always a pack rat; once we found him, yelling for help, buried under 200 pounds of documents he'd carted off from the Folger Library.

Professional chameleon David Gergen suspected the story of Berger's crime was released to draw attention away from the 9/11 commission report. (Apparently Karl Rove made Berger walk off with documents months in advance just to set up the diversion.) No harm, no foul — the real crime was 40 million uninsured caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge etc.

The whitewash continues, somewhat. Berger's defenders note the Justice Department's carefully worded conclusions: There was no evidence Berger was "trying to conceal information when he illegally took copies of classified terrorism documents," as The Washington Post put it. Investigators decided he'd taken them for "personal convenience ... to prepare testimony." (Apparently it's not so bad to steal the Constitution if you have a quiz on American history the next day.)

Justice concluded that he didn't really mean to destroy or cover up evidence of Clinton administration failings that might come up in 9/11 hearings. But it seems somewhat inconsistent with Berger's own admission that he scissored the things to shreds, no? Ah, but they were copies, that's all. Nothing more. But were they copies with damning notes in the margins, perhaps? And that's why he took five, destroyed three and "misfiled" the other two?

We'll never know! The cement fist of Official Media Incuriosity has descended, and that's the end of that chapter.

But imagine the howls if a Bush administration official had admitted to stealing documents about terrorist threat warnings. Air America hosts would get nodes on their vocal cords the size of grapefruits from shouting about the crime and the sentence. And people would listen, for once: It would be news. Big news. Bad news, with all the hot juicy elements of a great political scandal: Stolen documents. A lying official. Suspect testimony. Terrorist warnings unheeded. Rumors of pants. But no: It's lost in the backwash of grief over the pope, never to be mentioned again.

Perhaps the administration sought a lighter sentence to avoid charges that l'affair Berger was politically motivated. If one asserts that Berger tried to eliminate evidence that the Clinton crowd shrugged at terrorist threats, you'll get hit with charges that the Bush administration not only ignored explicit warnings of 9/11, they made up intel to justify invading Iraq for grins 'n' giggles. And at the end of the day, we're all back to our familiar posture: throttling each other while shouting LIAR.

At least we know one thing: Berger did not put the documents in his socks. That was misreported. Surely we can come together and agree on that? Let the healing begin, and let's move on to more important matters. Is Britney pregnant yet? Maybe by Robert Blake? Oh my.

Scandalous!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2005, James Lileks

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