June 26, 2007

Wikied Sandy Berger

by PG

Either the Wikipedia entry for Clinton's National Security Advisor is a whitewash that needs to be cleaned up (is it a mixed or merely contradictory metaphor to recommend cleanup of a whitewash?), or it needs to be read by those who want to compare Berger's treatment after his theft and destruction of classified material from the National Archives to the treatment of Scooter Libby after his perjury, obstruction of justice and false statements to federal investigators in questioning about Valerie Plame.

1) The Justice Department investigated and prosecuted Berger. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, and was penalized with a loss of security clearance for three years, a $50,000 fine, two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

2) The documents in question were five classified copies of Richard Clarke's report on the Clinton administration's handling of unsuccessful terrorism plots. Noel Hillman, currently US-DNJ but then-chief of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, stated that Berger only removed classified copies of data stored on hard drives stored in the National Archives, and that no original material was destroyed.

While Berger certainly is an embarrassment to the Clinton Administration, if one can call anything a further embarrassment to the Clinton Administration, his actions did not have any serious consequence (because he stole and destroyed only copies, the original document and information still exists) and he was punished lightly for them after plea bargaining. I don't know whether Fitzgerald offered Libby a plea, but given the attitude among his supporters that he should be vindicated of the charges entirely, I'm not sure Libby would have taken one if given.

(I know ambassadors aren't picked for their copyediting skills, but I still winced at Libby Legal Defense Trust chairman Mel Sembler's June 21 statement: "I can assure you, the Advisory Committee of the Libby Legal Defense Trust is supporting him stronger than ever as he moves forward with his appeal." Stronger is an adjective that could be used to modify a noun like "support," but when modifying a verb phrase such as "is supporting," an adverb phrase -- "the Advisory Committee of the Libby Legal Defense Trust is supporting him more strongly than ever" -- is appropriate. I guess they're being an efficient charity by not spending money on administrative costs such as a grammar-check.)

June 26, 2007 02:53 AM | TrackBack

If that makes you wince about Mel... Try this on for size...

That is actually why he was chosen to be ambassador. they take care of and cover up for their own.

Posted by: Kelly at June 26, 2007 04:35 AM
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