Sandy Berger Followup

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The shortest-lived intelligence scandal since Maxwell Smart: The Nude Bomb appears to have fizzled out in a Clintonesque fog of qualified statements and ambiguity. The Wall Street Journal's Scot J. Paltrow reports (no link, alas) that former National Security Advisor Samuel Berger did not take any original materials from the National Archives and did not withhold any materials from the 9/11 Commission:

Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper said officials there "are confident that there aren't any original documents missing in relation to the case." She said in most cases, Mr. Berger was given photocopies to review, and that in any event officials have accounted for all originals to which he had access.

That included all drafts of a so-called after-action report prepared by the White House and federal agencies in 2000 after the investigation into a foiled bombing plot aimed at the Millennium celebrations. That report and earlier drafts are at the center of the allegations that Mr. Berger might have permanently removed some records from the archives.

That story was printed a week ago, and there's been no followup since, though Useless-Knowledge.com makes a half-assed attempt to put an anti-Bergerian spin on the WSJ story. This shoots to hell my own conclusion, based on suspiciously elliptical statements by Berger's lawyer, that there probably were some originals missing. The issue of Berger's sneaking out copies remains active, but a former NSA acting high-handedly with classified materials doesn't have the same scandal value as an attempt to hide evidence from the 9/11 investigation. At this point, only Ann Coulter has the courage to keep alive this story the mainstream media continues to ignore!

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  1. Thus proving there is no media bias–imagine the howls if it was Uncle W’s Condoleeza Rice whot swiped some copies of docs from the archives.

    Yep Joe, I’m with you, all those guys that served with Kerry in Nam are big fat liars except, of course, the two (count ’em) who support him.

    In case you didn’t notice, that was the gripe from the rest of the vets in the first place. Kerry was using their images to imply that all his “band of brothers” from Nam were in solidarity with him. They asked him to stop using the photo. He ignored them because he wanted the image for political gain (regardless of its accuracy). They responded by making the video, good for them. JFK deserved it if for no other reason than he misrepresented the truth (a nice way of calling bullshit what it is).

    BTW, Nice touch to smear ’em as Nixon retreads, a time honored way to dismiss critics of anything left of center.

    I also noticed that those staunch supporters of free speech over at the DNC have called out the legal eagles to snuff that video.

  2. Jo and Jennifer,

    I wouldn’t break out the champaign just yet. The story refers to two separate incidents. Elliot (who was not present at either incidents) back off the critical assertions of the first (the beaching incident) but reaffrimed his support for the Swiftboat Veterans version of the second.

    “Elliott, in the interview yesterday, said that based on the affidavits of the veterans on other boats, he now thinks his assessment about the Bronze Star and third Purple Heart may have been based on poor information.

    But he said: ”I simply have no reason for these guys to be lying, and if they are lying in concert, it is one hell of a conspiracy. So, on the basis of all of the information that has come out, I have chosen to believe the other men. I absolutely do not know first hand.”

    I think this makes Elliot more credible. He could have just kept his mouth shut about the beaching incident and saved himself the public humiliation. In either case, Elliot is not a member of Swiftboat Veterens for Truth and he was not an eye witness to any of the incidents in contention.

  3. Shannon,

    One of the Nixonian Swift Boat vets received a bronze star for exactly the same events which earned Kerry his.

    This person doesn’t seem to be claiming his own bronze star is unmerited. But if his own is merited, then Kerry’s must be also.

  4. “People who think aren’t the ones supporting the swift boat anti-Kerry group.” Clearly, Jennifer. How can the response of anyone who doesn’t already hate Kerry be anything but disgust, and sympathy for their target? Talk about leading with your chin.

    TWC, I get pretty good reception, and there were seven guys on the stage with Kerry from his boat. Every single person who served on that boat, except the one who died, signed on to appear at the convention. And I smeared the attack dogs as Nixon retreads because they are Nixon retreads – SBVfT has a distinctly similar roster to “Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace,” including the leadership of John O’Neil – the one who debated a note-less Kerry on the Dick Cavett show with a thick binder of attack lines provided to him by CREEP back in 1972.

    “I simply have no reason for these guys to be lying” quotes Shannon. Yep, no reason to suspect that the guys working for the Republicans have a reason to lie about the Democratic nominee. None at all. But Shannon, I like the way that his word was good enough for when he was smearing Kerry about events he didn’t witness, but now that he’s retracted the claim he signed without reading it, his lack of eyewitness testimony impeaches his statements.

    Bonus trivia: Did you know Kerry still has shrapnel in his ass?

  5. Did you know Kerry still has shrapnel in his ass?

    OK, you set me up, I have to take the cheap shot. Here it goes:

    I’ve always suspected that he had something up his ass.

    (bah-dum-dum!)

    Thank-you, I’m here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress!

  6. Joe,

    “Shannon, I like the way that his word was good enough for when he was smearing Kerry about events he didn’t witness, but now that he’s retracted the claim he signed without reading it, his lack of eyewitness testimony impeaches his statements.”

    That wasn’t my intent in pointing out that Elliot wasn’t present at either event. I meant that he is a peripheral player in the drama. Neither his retraction of support for one story or his continued support for another mean a great deal.

    To write this off wholly as a Republican fabrication is highly premature. Swiftvets claims that of the 23 fellow swiftboat commanders in his unit, 1 supports Kerry, 2 have died, 4 are neutral and 16 oppose him. The also claim to have the support of Kerry entire chain of command. Kerry must have spectacular bad luck to land in unit that would held so many people that would one day be Republican operatives.

    A better explanation is that many Vietnam vets, especially officers and career military, hate his guts because they feel he slander them and knifed them in the back in order to advance his own political career. Kerry clearly does not appear to have the support of the officers that served closest to him. Why that is remains to be seen.

  7. Are you guys going to flog Senator Shelby the way you are beating this Sanday Berger thing? Is Ann Coulter? Oh wait, she will no doubt get herself into a wet panty state over Shelby’s “steely eyed resolve.” C’mon, Reasoners should be a little consistent! I expect better of you all.

    And the Kerry/ O’Neill thing is a distraction. Meanwhile, for those of us not following the political equivalent of “Mary Kate Released from Rehab” we have a huge deficit, and the sale of sex toys was banned in Alabama. I thought you guys were libertarians!

  8. Shannon,
    Surprise surprise, a lot of military officers are hardline conservatives. It seems to me its pretty clear that the enlisted men who worked for him liked him pretty well, and uniformly support him. The officers who he worked for or with do not. In my opinion, the best junior officers are the ones who work for their men: they are often disliked by the higher ups.

    I’m no Kerry supporter, but his military record is simply not fair game even if it is erroneous. If those guys didn’t think he should have gotten the medals, they had a chance back then to speak up. Maybe Kerry did slander them and knife them in the back, but they are dishonoring themselves by attacking his record during the war as a proxy for his actions after.

  9. “I meant that (Elliot) is a peripheral player in the drama.”

    So peripheral that his “quote” denouncing Kerry’s medal was included in the advance press release for the book.

    Though I agree with your suspicion about the motivation of the officers who oppose him.

    If it comes down to taking the word of Vietnam-era enlisted, NCOs and junior officers (the vets who support Kerry), and Vietnam-era senior/career officers (those who oppose him) – well, that’s not even close.

  10. Whoa—-

    Sex toys banned in Alabama? Damn, time to rent a U-Haul and start shipping “cargo” southward.

  11. Maybe Kerry did slander them and knife them in the back, but they are dishonoring themselves by attacking his record during the war as a proxy for his actions after.

    But wouldn’t you agree that these guys are more qualified to report on their personal experiences with Kerry? If Kerry’s in-war actions were of such a nature that they were to render his post-tour actions hypocritical, then wouldn’t his war companions be just the folks to listen to, on this point?

    If it comes down to taking the word of Vietnam-era enlisted, NCOs and junior officers (the vets who support Kerry), and Vietnam-era senior/career officers (those who oppose him) – well, that’s not even close.

    joe,

    Why is it not even close? Because you like Kerry? It would be rotten of a Kerry detractor to insinuate that the Kerry supporters from the war were obviously lying (based only on their relative opinions); why is it okay for you to do the inverse?

  12. These guys wont be happy until Kerry finally opens his shirt to reveal a half boat propeller sticking out of his chest.

  13. “But wouldn’t you agree that these guys are more qualified to report on their personal experiences with Kerry?”

    None of them had personal experiences with Kerry. They served on different boats. The people who actually were his companions were standing on the stage in Boston, during the Great Democratic Bash-You-Over-the-Head-with-John-Kerry-Military-Imagery-Palooza.

    And as for hypocritical, how can it be hypocritical to attack behaviors and policies that you have explicitly denounced?

  14. “But wouldn’t you agree that these guys are more qualified to report on their personal experiences with Kerry?” They didn’t have personal experiences with Kerry. Those that did have such experiences stood on the stage with him in Boston.

    “If Kerry’s in-war actions were of such a nature that they were to render his post-tour actions hypocritical, then wouldn’t his war companions be just the folks to listen to, on this point?”

    First, they weren’t his companions. His companions support him. Second, how can he be considered hypocritical, when he denounced and regretted the actions he took part in?

  15. joe,

    “None of them had personal experiences with Kerry. They served on different boats.”

    You are incorrect. The Swiftvets are mostly Kerry’s brother officers (peers and superiors) who served with him during his 4 month tour. Remember that it was Kerry’s use of a the group photo of all the officers together that triggered the formation of the Swiftvets in the first place. Swiftvets were presents at both contested actions.

    Incidentally, Drudge is reporting that Elliot is saying that the Globe misquoted him and that he stands behind his original statement. It also appears that reporter who wrote the article, Michael Kranish, also wrote an upcoming Kerry campaign book. That presents something of an appearance of a conflict of interest to say the least.

  16. Joe-
    The reason I said the anti-Kerry dudes here are not thinking is simple: the attack ads have already have been shown to be lies, and a thinking person would at some point think about this: “If my cause is indeed just, why can’t I support it with the truth, rather than by hiding it?”

    Gut-reaction hatred does not qualify as thought.

  17. This bunch is on the same side as those that smeared McCain and Cleland and ignore their fearless leader going AWOL during the same period. That’s enough for me to discount them entirely.

  18. former National Security Advisor Samuel Berger did not take any original materials from the National Archives and did not withhold any materials from the 9/11 Commission

    which, of course, is completely irrelevant to the primary criminal activit(ies) in which he engaged. It doesn’t matter at all if you take copies of classified documents – what matters is that you take them at all. Way to peddle Clinton camp spin, H & R!

    Interesting to watch the Kerry fans scramble to fend off the veterans group. What goes around comes around, I guess.

  19. the attack ads have already have been shown to be lies,

    Where?

    The ad I saw was mostly a bunch of vets stating their opinions regarding Kerry’s service and fitness to be President. Are you saying they were lying, and they really hold different opinions?

  20. Has it been proven that Berger didn’t pencil in notations on those copies that weren’t there before he…borrowed…them, or that he didn’t erase marginalia that might have made him or President Yoakum look bad?

    Shelby’s actions have been referred to the senate ethics committee, for their inevitable coat of whitewash.

    I’d say “Plague on both their houses,” but the buboes will only show up on the body politic. In other words, we get screwed again.

    Kevin

  21. “…it was Kerry’s use of a the group photo of all the officers together that triggered the formation of the Swiftvets in the first place”

    That’s so cute. Yep, the picture.

    When did the word “Swiftvets” enter the lexicon, anyway?

    “…the Veteran’s group…” Ha ha.

    Don’t you people realize how transparent this ploy is? Do you think we’re all idiots?

  22. Hey Joe,
    Say dude, you need to get over this Kerry Love or Mayhap it’s Bush-Hate. John Kerry is a Liberal Senator from Massachusetts, with a wholly undistinguished Senate career. He has the warmth and charisma of damp blanket. Hard-core Democrats &/or Bush-haters may call it nuance, but he is a man that managed to be on all sides of an issue, sometimes simultaneously, the rest of us call it “Flip-Flopping.” He is a man whose major talent seems to be an ability to look out for Number 1, in his ability to game the system in Vietnam to his ability to find rich women to marry. Now all this seems to be indisputable, but I’m sure it’s going to merit a nasty rebuttal.
    I guess I’m just saying, lighten up… it’s obvious that you’ll be pulling at least one “D” lever in November, just don’t try to tart it up so much, ‘cuz well Kerry just isn’t a very good candidate.

  23. Any politician who makes Vietnam service or lack thereof an issue today is a jerk.

  24. “Fallout? There’s no fallout from a nude bomb!”

  25. Oh, the “Swift Boat Veterand for Truth” anti-Kerry scandal is falling apart as well.

    http://www.boston.com/globe

    Who would have thought that a group of Nixon attack dog retreads would be dishonest?

  26. Joe-
    “Who would have thought?” That’s a loaded question. People who think aren’t the ones supporting the swift boat anti-Kerry group.

  27. Skeppyboy – are you implying that Sandy did not remove documents? That the DNC did not officially make an issue of Vietnam service? That some real, honest to God Viet Vets disagree with Kerry’s account of his service?
    Somebody keep an eye on the referee.

  28. As for the Kerry haters?

    I never ever would have suspected that I would refer to Chappy Kennedy as the conservative Senator from the great state of Taxxachussetts.

  29. I’m not a Kerry supporter, but I’ve yet to see anyone who believes his detractors regarding his Viet Nam experience also express disapproval with Bush for refusing to take a physical (the first one with drug tests) and dropping out of the National Guard flight program after about $1,000,000 had been spent on his training. I mean, what a pussy!

  30. Quick question about the SwiftVet doctor. I’ve never been in the military, so I’ll lay my ignorance out for all to see. Does the doctor ever get consulted or and input at all regarding Purple Heart injuries? If so, isn’t the doctor saying a lot about himself by saying those injuries didn’t warrant a Purple Heart, but he let it slide 30 years ago, only to bring it out now. If he’s telling the truth today, he was complicit in Kerry’s lie then, if he’s lying today, then he’s sellout.

    Either way he comes out smelling like fertilizer.

    Of course, ignore all of this if the doc has no say regarding the medals.

  31. Walter;

    And it was Republicans who insisted that Clinton account for his actions during Vietnam that brought on the Democrats scrutiny of Bush. What goes around comes around, and manages, somehow, to keep going, even though everyone is sick of it.

  32. It was democrats who INSISTED that Bush account for his military conduct who made it impossible for republicans to avoid examining Kerry’s conduct. Terry McPandora, DNC chairman.

  33. This morning, right before I read this, men in black helicopters landed in my front lawn, broke into my house and removed my brain.

    Well, I assume that must have happened. That is the only explanation for posts like this, and the subsequent alien chatter it caused.

  34. “In my opinion, the best junior officers are the ones who work for their men: they are often disliked by the higher ups.”

    So Jamie S., what’s the basis of this opinion?

  35. “John Kerry is a Liberal” over the course of his career, he ranks in the middle of the Democratic pack

    “Senator from Massachusetts, with a wholly undistinguished Senate career.” The fact that the spent his career doing heavy lifting on unglamorous issues like BCCI, Iran-Contra, and Vietnamese relations rather than getting bridges and bills named after himself is a plus in my book, not a minus.

    “He has the warmth and charisma of damp blanket.” Good – I’ve had it up to freaking here will gladhanding, charasmatic, overgrown class presidents obsessed with making people like them.

    “Hard-core Democrats &/or Bush-haters may call it nuance, but he is a man that managed to be on all sides of an issue, sometimes simultaneously, the rest of us call it “Flip-Flopping.”” I’ve also had it up to here with politicians who give us short, simple, bumper sticker answers to complicated problems.

    “He is a man whose major talent seems to be an ability to look out for Number 1, in his ability to game the system in Vietna…” like when he kept plugging away until he got his superiors to send him to the most dangerous job his branch of the service was involved in?

    “… to his ability to find rich women to marry.” The fact that he got a billionaire widow to marry him, despite having “the warmth and charisma of damp blanket” speaks very well of him, and of his marriage.

  36. Ok, I’m a Vet, and I understand the whole “Officer”, and “Enlisted” question. Officers are the company men, and enlisted are the back labor. But are they claiming he stabbed them in the back when he came home and protested a war which has all but universally been regarded as a dismall mistake? I’m personally insulted by the vagueness of the adds. Ok, if he lied, how did he lie? If he dishonored his comrades, how? Don’t insult my intellegence with innuendo as if that’s all it’ll take to change my weak mind. If anything, I believe that having been in Vietnam qualified him above all others to protest it, and places him in the best position to decide the validity of our current military question. Yes, I know he voted for it when apparently everyone thought it was a good idea. That doesn’t make him responsible for “Executive” decisions since. The whole thing has been and only promises to become a bigger fiasco domestically and internationally. Hale Kerry, get us out of Iraq.

  37. To cover the Doc’s role. When I was in, all awards came down on the recommendation of the unit, starting from witnesses of course, and rolling up to the Commanding Officer. The Doc would likely determine if it was self inflicted or friendly fire, but next to Eye-witness accounts would likely fall to the wayside and rightfully so. Everything falls on an awards schedule to determine which one is warranted based on the circumstances. The Bronze Star I’ld have to look into, but it wouldn’t be unheard of for an entire squad, platoon or unit to get a blanket award regardless of individual contribution. The first Patriot Missile crew to shoot down a SCUD, all recieved an Army Commendation Medal.

    Oh, for the record, I’m not a straight ballot voter, and would have voted for Bush, cause God help us if Gore had been left to handle 911. That said, for all the Bush advocates, put your noses in the air as smell the funk. The economy stinks, and if you haven’t felt it yet, go ahead and vote for Bush…You will.

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