Montag, Juni 04, 2007

The Real Cover-Up...

The Watergate scandal and the collapse of the Nixon presidency wasn't so much about the break-in, but much more about the cover-up. It was the cover-up that killed his presidency.

We see now in Washington a cover-up of similar dimensions, as can be seen here.

It's old news by now: Sandy Berger, President Clinton's National Security Adviser, stole documents from the National Archives and was convicted of that.

But now the plot thickens: he has voluntarily given up his law license, meaning that he can no longer practice law. He hasn't done this as part of his deal with the Department of Justice, but rather to stop an investigation by the DC Bar into what was taken from the National Archives.

That's right, he did it to stop an investigation. The DC Bar can investigate members of the bar who belongs to it for behavior unbecoming to the profession.

What is the cover-up here? The article that I linked to points out that giving up a law license is fairly unprecedented to begin with, and for someone to give it up in order to stop an investigation is completely unprecedented.

So why is he doing it?

To protect Clinton and what's left of his legacy. Clinton's broad legacy was ruined by his impeachment - for which the Senate declined to convict him - and by his failure to get Arafat to toe the line and sign a peace accord with the Israelis.

Clinton's legacy right now is with the faithful of the Democratic Party: those who view his impeachment as being fundamentally unfair, who view Clinton's policies as the cat's meow, who believe the man could do no wrong, whose judgment (apart from interns) was impeccable, a smart and savvy guy who deserved more than he got from history. That's what's gotten him his big-figure speaking engagements, his sweetheart book deals and the like.

I think that what Berger - who can only be seen as throwing himself in his figurative sword to save his emperor - has hidden, both by destroying the documents in question and by supergluing his mouth shut, is that Clinton made some abysmally bad judgments that not only allowed Osama bin Laden to escape, but more importantly showed that Clinton didn't care.

Five memos were destroyed, or more exactly five copies of one and the same memo. Why would he destroy all the copies of one memo? Probably because penciled in the margins were comments like "we don't want bin Laden" or "the government has no interest in al Qaeda" or words to that effect.

Otherwise why would Berger be taking this extraordinary move to voluntarily resign his law license? Like I said, this is unprecedented under any circumstances.

This is the real cover-up: that at the end of the day, Clinton's legacy will be at least his abject failure to properly assess the threat and most likely his willful and deliberate failure to protect the United States because he couldn't be bothered. Berger needs to 'fess up as to his motives: otherwise this is the interpretation that people will put on this cover-up.

It's the cover-up that La Clinton needs to deal with before she has any sort of a chance to become president: if the story comes out and this is the case, she will be unelectable.

Which is probably why Berger is taking the fall.

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