Covering up Berger’s cover-up

By Hugh Hewitt

I was up early on Tuesday to talk about Arnold with Katie on the “Today Show.” My key talking point: Hanz and Franz aren’t homophobic. Sacramento Dems seem to have realized that they are looking foolish and humor-challenged – again.

The segment before mine featured David Gergen defending Sandy Berger. Gergen is one of D.C.’s good guys, genuinely liked by just about everyone, and he’s doing what a friend should do in coming to the defense of his pal Sandy by downplaying the seriousness of the investigation. He also tried to blow a little smoke by suggesting that the leak of the news was timed to divert attention from the 9-11 Commission report due out Thursday.

A number of points.

First, there wasn’t anyone available Tuesday morning to the “Today Show” bookers to point out that Berger’s actions in tampering with documents undermines the reliability of the Commission’s report? Garbage in, garbage out, right? Even if the commission was a genuine non-partisan effort instead of a show trial designed to keep the eye off of Clinton’s indifference to al-Qaida throughout the ’90s, it would still have needed all the records, and in an untampered form.

How can anyone think it was a good idea to let a potentially responsible party review the evidence against him and his colleagues? No one wanted to make these simple points opposite Gergen?

Second, keep applying the Condi Rice test. If Dr. Rice had been caught stuffing her blouse with highly classified handwritten notes from the days after 9-11, what would be going on in D.C. right now? Do you think the “Today Show” could have found someone to criticize Rice on air?

Gergen pointed to the placement of the July 20 Berger story inside the Washington Post as evidence that it isn’t that significant. Huh? It was on page 2 – hardly a burial ground for minor flare-ups. The story hit too late for most of the papers to get more than the AP report into print, but it was boiling by the following day.

Does John Kerry condone this? Berger has been a senior adviser to Kerry. The biggest question of all: If you can’t trust Democrats with classified documents, how can you trust them with the national security? Answer: You can’t – not if you are prudent.

The recklessness and fecklessness of the Clinton years on all sorts of matters of highest importance – from the al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan, to getting duped by the North Koreans and worked by Arafat – came home to roost with a deadly vengeance on 9-11. Are we going to give the same crowd another run at the controls? That’s what a vote for the Kerry-Moore Democrats means.

This isn’t just the possibly criminal action of one man, it is the conduct of the senior White House foreign policy official from the Clinton era, and the action of a confidant and adviser to John Kerry. Had Rice been the one caught tampering with the records of the Bush administration relating to terrorism, Rice would already have been forced by a baying press to resign, and Bush would be threatened with a Watergate-style meltdown. But it is a pro-Kerry media, so watch as Berger’s attempted cover-up gets its own cover-up.