The Corner

More Sandy Burglar

From a reader:

Jonah –

Another point on “Sticky Fingers Sandy:”

Berger and his henchmen Lanny Breuer and David Gergen (two unlamented names from the past) have been arguing that Berger only took copies of a report on Clinton’s handling of al-Qaida, the original of which still rests safely in the Archives. But it looks from press reports as though among the documents Berger took, including those he conveniently “discarded inadvertently,” were actually early drafts of the report. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040720/D83U6TIO0.html

Drafts are not the same as copies. These earlier drafts obviously discussed the Clinton Administration’s response to terrorism differently — and perhaps less favorably, given intervening events such as 9-11 — than the final version. Drafts often include material that for various reasons may be removed or redacted from the final. The information in these drafts that did not make it into the final report may be critical to the 9-11 Commission’s findings, and to an accurate historical judgment of Clinton’s anti-terrorism efforts, such as they were. Yet this critical information has now been lost “incidentally,” due to nothing more, we are told, than Mr. Berger’s “sloppiness” with classified documents.

This is all so reminiscent of the Clinton years — travelgate, filegate, Whitewater billing records, etc. — we were always told to believe that lost, misdirected, and stolen documents were merely “innocent snafus” that just coincidentally may have worked to shield the Clintons from blame or indictment. And the media dutifully complies.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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