Roger L. Simon

Trusting Sandy Scissorhands

I sure hope Glenn Reynolds is right when he says the explanation for the Justice Department’s amazingly light proposed punishment for Sandy Berger is that the former National Security Adviser is secretly feeding them information. The Washington Times has a darker explanation:

We can only speculate as to why the Department of Justice would agree to such lenient terms for the offense. Perhaps career employees or holdovers with ties to Democrats are responsible. Perhaps the Bush administration went soft. Whatever the reason, we can be reasonably sure it wasn’t done for reasons of national security, justice or truth.

Well, truth may be involved, but I would be rather suspicious of Berger who has already admitted to lying about “inadvertently” removing annotated copies of terrorism-related “after action” memos from the National Archive and destroying them. What was Berger trying to hide? If all this comes down to partisan politics in the end, it is particularly repellent behavior. The lives of our families and friends are obviously in jeopardy in terrorist attacks such as the millennium one in these memos. If anything should be beyond party politics, it is the preservation of material related to such events. And if the need to win an election can turn intelligent people like Berger into pathetic and fearful automatons willing to do anything for electoral victory or to preserve the reputations of their allies, we are all in trouble. An example must be set in his case.