Andrew Sullivan writes:
My best bet is that Berger was engaging in advance damage control – saving the drafts to help concoct a better defense of his tenure. If so, it’s classic Clinton era sleaze – not exactly terrible but cheesy subordination of national security for partisan political advantage. But at times like this, I sure am glad we have the blogosphere. Can you imagine the mainstream press really pursuing this story alone? Meanwhile, Clinton thinks the possible leaking of classified information is just hilarious. About as hilarious as his anti-terror policy.
The rumors that the Clintons want Kerry to take the fall so that Hillary can run in 2008 sound waaaay too Oliver Stone in their conspiratorial flavor for me to fully take seriously. But geez, check out the quote from Bill Clinton that Sullivan refers to:
“We were all laughing about it,” Clinton said about the investigation into Sandy Berger for taking classified terrorism documents from the National Archives. “People who don’t know him might find it hard to believe. But … all of us who’ve been in his office have always found him buried beneath papers.”
Clinton’s quote is staggering. This is a guy who knows all about working the media. And this is the spin he comes up with? As Glenn writes, with remarkable understatement, “Clinton isn’t doing Kerry any favors here”. His MSNBC column is titled, “Kerry’s Foreign Policy Team In Disarray“. And foreign policy (read: the War on Terror) is Kerry’s biggest Achilles’ heel.
As far as the timing of the report, one of The Professor’s readers notes that Republicans would be accused of leaking it no matter when this story broke, which is a byproduct of the news media’s relentless all-Bush-bashing-all-the-time spin cycle this year:
Democrats are “questioning the timing of the report” of the Berger investigation. But no matter when the story broke, Republicans would be accused of exploiting it to distract public attention from something — Bush’s National Guard service, the Democratic primaries, Abu Ghraib, continuing unrest in Iraq, the 9/11 commission, whatever might sit atop the anti-Bush hit parade that week.
Update: More on the timing of recent scandals, here.