Boston University School of Law Dean Emeritus Ronald Cass has written a column that exceeds in depth and insight anything that has yet been published on Sandy Berger’s lies: “What did he take and why did he take it?” Cass writes:
The Clintons…take the game of deny-deceive-and-distract to a new level. Their relentless personal attacks on Ken Starr were designed to undermine the credibility of information about Bill Clinton’s perjury, to deflect attention from his own failings. Clinton’s excessive reaction – complete with hyperbole, finger-wagging, and scolding – to a simple question from Fox News’ Chris Wallace about his response to al-Qaeda is in the same vein. Something here touches a nerve.
That nerve is exposed in the Sandy Berger saga. This story at bottom is about the security of our nation, about what was – or was not – done to protect us from the most shocking and deadly attack on American citizens by foreign agents in our nation’s history. This story is critical not only to understanding our past but also to securing our future. It can help us understand what it is reasonable to expect can be done to keep us and our loved ones safe from harm. It is, in short, as important a story as there is.
And yet, as Cass notes there is simply no interest among the mainstream media in pursuing the story:
Those who wrap themselves so frequently in the mantra of the people’s right to know should want to know the truth – all the time. Sadly, today’s would-be Woodwards and Bernsteins look more like ostriches than hawks, showing no curiosity about what Sandy Berger was hiding. Had that been the attitude when Watergate first appeared as a minor news story, Richard Nixon would have served out his full second term. The rest, as they say, is history.
Cass notes but does not explain the Justice Department’s acceptance of Berger’s explanation of innocent and accidental removal of the documents. Despite the powerful circumstantial evidence of willful misconduct, the Justice Department allowed Berger to plead to the misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. Why? There is another mystery within the mystery that Cass ably explores in this important column.
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