Clinton: Laughing About It

Matt Drudge

Former president Bill Clinton defends his embattled national security advisor as a man who “always got things right,” even if his desk was a mess. “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.”

DRUDGE has learned: In an interview set for publication Wednesday in the DENVER POST, Clinton questions the timing of the Berger flap less than a week before the Democratic National Convention and two days before a presidential commission is slated to release its final report on the Bush administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Clinton tells the POST he has known about the federal probe of Berger’s actions for several months, calling the news a “non-story.” “I wish I knew who leaked it. It’s interesting timing,” he added.

“I feel terrible for Sandy. But I just believe his explanation because I know how much he cared about this … terrorism business,” Clinton said, describing his former security advisor as a “workaholic” who has “always been up to his ears in papers.”

Developing…

Unbelievable.

Update (7/21): Drudge got this one right.

Denver PostClinton defends aide during Denver book stop

All relevant portions of the story are in the Drudge preview.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Joseph Marshall says:

    Well, let’s see now…five separate blog postings on Mr. Berger and his purloined papers. I suppose it’s time to get in the pool.

    First the facts: Mr. Berger is under investigation by the FBI, has apparently admitted to having the papers and is subject to the laws forbidding such things, whatever they may be. I presume that if probable cause is found he will be indicted and prosecuted and (probably) plead it.

    Fine so far, nothing unexpected there, justice in the process of being done and done far better, actually, than in the case of my favorite terminally self-important journalist, Robert Novak and his “confidential sources”.

    Then, of course, Berger is no longer advising the Kerry campaign, which is a shame since he actually did know something about national security. But, when you do something as stupid as that, nobody with any sense can use you any more. Also fine, since common sense is served.

    Plenty of “coverage” without substantial new facts to justify it. But we are approaching the “silly season” in the Journalism biz and its too hot in New York and Washington to dig real hard into the serious issues which will decide this election.

    Undoubtedly plenty of pontifical posturing and finger wagging from the right, but its not as if members of that political persuasion with the really important government jobs have all that much serious work to do, now that they can’t Amend the Constitution by November.

    And, finally, of course, this little display of shock and horror over the reaction of a private citizen by the name of Bill Clinton, who happened to be Berger’s boss once upon a time–presumably when Berger’s brains were in better working order.

    It is eternally fascinating how the shadow of Bill Clinton still haunts the opposite party. It has apparently kept them from accomplishing anything substantial despite four years of their own sitting president, Congressional majorities, draconian party discipline, and a relatively pliant Supreme Court. You would have thought with advantages like that they would have done things to make us forget all about Bill Clinton, like, once upon a time, we forgot all about Jimmy Carter.

    Not to mention the highest Presidential approval rating ever seen back in 2002 after the invasion of Afghanistan. And now he commands the solid alliegence of perhaps 40%+ of the electorate?

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    Now I’m prejudiced, obviously, and I think it largely due to a President and a party who have been playing at government rather than governing, playing at war, for example, when it is interesting (when you can make explosions and when people shoot back) and letting it sit idle for six months when it begins to get dull. And playing with none of the toys–such as the economy or other domestic affairs–that are really dull and no fun. Even the truly unappetizing things, like the Wilson/Plame business, are permeated through and through with childish spite.

    I’m kind of angry about that actually. So I want to make sure that the image history has of George at his meeting with destiny–like Roosevelt addressing Congress after Pearl Harbor or Kennedy telling the public on television about the Russian missiles in Cuba–is that of him sitting and reading a children’s book. Because it is the true one.

    But even if my anger is discounted, it still the case that President Clinton’s very adult failings in an adult government that accomplished things even under some of the worst governing conditions ever seen in American politics, still seem to carry more impact in our minds than even the two wars the current occupant of the office has managed to start and not finish. Let alone all the other stuff that has been left to languish

  2. Attila Girl says:

    Thanks for the laugh, JM.

  3. Dodd says:

    WTF is Joseph Marshall talking about?!? I mean it, not one word of that diatribe made an ounce of sense. The Republican party is incapable of governing because of the “shadow of Clinton”? His proof of this is that you mention that, on the occasion of his former employee being embroiled in a scandal, Bill, who is certainly someone who’s opinion is relevant here made a statement about it (and a stupid one, at that, since laughing about lapses in maintaining the security of Top Secret information by his former NSA is strong evidence of just how unserious that entire crowd truly is)?!? All of which leads, ultimately, to the completely incomprehensible allegation that the GOP hasn’t accomplished anything in the last 3 1/2 years but Clinton did. The mind boggles.

    Bush has won two wars, liberating 50 million people and starting them on the long and difficult road from barbarism to democracy. There have been no more attacks on American soil since 9/11, and the leadership of al-Qaida is scattered and disorganized. North Korea, which insisted upon bilateral talks in which they could try to blackmail us into continuing to give them aid in return for empty promises they would never keep, was instead dragged into multilateral talks with all the region’s powers. Libya has foresworn terror and WMDs.

    Having inheritted a recession and presided over the additional economic body blow that was 9/11, he’s cut taxes three times, resulting in the fastest growing economy of the last two decades. He’s accomplished most of his campaign promises, including a few we conservatives hoped beyond hope he didn’t really mean (cf., Medicare prescription drugs, the largest entitlement expansion in three decades).

    Bill Clinton’s accomplishments in over twice that amount of time: Helping get the GOP-negotiated NAFTA treaty ratified (full marks for that, since he did it over the objections of most of his party). Signing welfare reform when backed into a corner. Bosnia, a true quagmire from which we have yet to extract ourselves. School uniforms. Emboldening our enemies thanks to a half-hearted, wrong-headed, feckless terrorism policy.

    Yeah, we’re just playing at governing while Bubba was a master statesman.

Kerry: No Time for Security Briefing

DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2004®

Just hours before attending an all-star celebrity fundraising concert in New York, Dem presidential candidate John Kerry revealed how has been too busy for a real-time national security briefing.

“I just haven’t had time,” Kerry explained in an interview.

Kerry made the startling comments on CNN’s LARRY KING LIVE Thursday night.

KING: News of the day, Tom Ridge warned today about al Qaeda plans of a large-scale attack on the United States. Didn’t increase the — you see any politics in this? What’s your reaction?

KERRY: Well, I haven’t been briefed yet, Larry. They have offered to brief me. I just haven’t had time.

Does this really matter? No, not really. Presumably, someone can fill him in later. And it’s not like he actually votes on anything these days, anyway. Still, it’s rather amusing. And one suspects this will make it into the Bush campaign ads. . .

Update (12:43): Oliver Willis provides a longer version of the King transcript that includes this sequence a few lines after the above:

KING: When do you — when do you get your briefing?

KERRY: We’re arranging it. It’s at the end of the week I’ll get it.

KING: Should be pretty soon.

KERRY: I think it’s tomorrow or the next day.

I agree with his assessment that it sounds as if this is a “special” briefing he’s getting as someone who could conceivably be president in a few months, not a scheduled Senate briefing. That makes it even more of a non-issue than it was in the short version.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, Intelligence, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.