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It's All About Them (Sandy Berger Scandal Info)
Daily Pundit - Rationales for an Irrational World ^ | April 14, 2005 | Daily Pundit (posted by Lastango)

Posted on 07/14/2005 9:09:34 PM PDT by Lancey Howard

April 14, 2005

It's All About Them

Democrat and former Clinton national security advisor Sandy Berger escaped meaningful punishment for a crime he committed during a wartime Republican administration. How was our nation gifted this debilitating outcome?

On two separate occasions, in September and October 2003, Sandy Berger took a total of five copies of a classified report from the National Archives. The document, an “after-action memo” written by Richard Clarke about the failed plot to blow up the Los Angeles International Airport during December 1999, otherwise known as "the Millennium plot." Berger destroyed three copies by cutting them up with scissors. Berger returned the two copies he kept after being contacted by the Archives, where staff had been monitoring an unusual pattern of activity during Berger’s visits and (the Washington Post reports one source as saying) had “specially coded the papers to more easily tell whether some disappeared” after noting some had previously gone missing.

The Clarke report was one of the items examined by the federal government’s 9/11 Commission, and FOX News heard from one source that that the report was “critical of how the Clinton administration handled Al Qaeda threats to the U.S. homeland and that the missing report made security recommendations that were never implemented.”

Justice department prosecutor Noel L. Hillman (see below) is on tape telling Fox News that “Mr. Berger has admitted in public statements that (the five copies) were different versions, and he admitted today in open court that they were different versions of the same document. There were some differences.” According to Hillman these differences did not consist of notes in the document margins: "Those documents, emphatically, without doubt--I reviewed them myself--don't have notations on them," Mr. Hillman told the Wall Street Journal.

Berger also removed notes he himself wrote during his Archive visits. Under Archive rules, notes taken about classified materials must remain at the archives, but can be used during return visits. Removing notes is apparently not a crime under law, however.

The FBI began investigating Berger in October 2003 and executed search warrants at his home and office in Northwest Washington in January 2004. The Associated Press first reported in July 2004 that the Justice Department was investigating Berger, and the disclosure prompted Berger to step down as a senior foreign policy advisor to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

On April 1st 2005 Berger entered a guilty plea to a charge of “unauthorized removal and retention of classified material” - a criminal act classed as a misdemeanor and which carries a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and one year in prison followed by a year of supervised release.

Under the plea agreement he struck with the Justice Department, Berger would serve no jail time but pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his security clearance for three years and cooperate with investigators. Sentencing is set for July 8, when U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson will have the opportunity to affirm, reject or amend the deal’s terms.

After the plea deal was announced, the NY Post reported that the probe “seems to have shifted to whether Clinton appointees at the Archives tried to cover for Berger. Archives chief John Carlin, a Clinton appointee, was bounced soon after the incident. It's a violation of law to take classified documents, so Archives staffers should have called the FBI when they saw Berger do it — instead, they called Clinton's Mr. Fix-it, lawyer Bruce Lindsey."

The Berger plea bargin deal was announced by Noel Hillman, Chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and prosecutor of the Berger case. Hillman joined the Public Integrity Section as Principal Deputy Chief after nine years in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey. While at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Hillman served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, in the Office's Fraud and Public Protection Divsion, and on detail to the Justice Department's Campaign Financing Task Force.

Mr. Hillman has been on a public relations campaign regarding the Berger plea deal, nearly outdoing Berger’s own lawyer and friends in playing down the extent and importance of Berger’s actions:

- "With his guilty plea today, Mr. Berger acknowledged that as a former high-ranking government official he understood the rules and regulations,"

- "His conduct was intentional and what he did was wrong. He has taken criminal responsibility."

- "There is no evidence that he intended to destroy originals," said Mr. Hillman. "There is no evidence that he did destroy originals. We have objectively and affirmatively confirmed that the contents of all the five documents at issue exist today and were made available to the 9/11 Commission."

- "(Berger) did not have an intent to hide any of the content of the documents" or conceal facts from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (Said by Hillman to U.S. Magistrate Robinson in defense of the plea deal.) "Nothing was lost to the public or the process," Hillman said.

- "It's reasonable to conclude that disposal (cutting up the docments) was a better alternative than sneaking them back (into the archive),"

- “(Berger) may have lied to the press when he suggested he did it by mistake, but lying to the press isn't a federal crime. If he had lied to us, we would have prosecuted”

The Washington Post reported that Hillman defended the plea deal to the Magistrate by saying that Justice Department lawyers concluded Berger took the documents merely for personal convenience - to prepare for his and President Clinton's testimony before the Sept. 11 Commission - and not to hide any embarrassing evidence. Hillman also told the judge that the top Clinton official only had copies of the documents - not the originals - and so he was not charged with the more serious crime of destroying documents.

Consider the omission and red herring hidden in Hillman’s explanation that Berger didn’t cut up originals so he wasn’t charged with “destroying documents.” Hillman embelishes this by explaining that Berder “did not have an intent to hide any of the content of the documents" or conceal facts from the 9/11 commission. “Nothing was lost to the public or the process," repeats Hillman.

Someone listening to Hillman might expect the next day’s headline to read “Berger Cleared of Obstructing Commission.” “No Intent,” a column heading might begin.

Whether or not a copy in the National Archives can be a “document,” the fact remains that Berger was not charged with theft. Instead, the Justice Department apparently picked a minor charge and then “negotiated” the lightest penalty it could get away with – leaving many to wonder if this is just a case of the federal government looking after one of its own.

That’s probably true as far as it goes, but to avoid missing the larger dynamic we might consider whether this could be a case of the Justice Department looking after itself. If so, then this is all about them, not about Sandy Berger.

By letting Berger off lightly Justice preserved a Washington career. Nothing resonates with the Permanent and Powerful like the ability to keep doing what they do forever, and Justice proved its bona fides and made a warm spot for itself in every Beltway heart aspiring to slipstream D.C.'s culture of careers to a golden tomorrow.

The Democrats have proven they know how to reward and destroy (just ask Billy Dale), and their mafiosi reputation may have paid off in spades here. If the Democrats regain the presidency in 2008, Hillman & co. need not fear retaliation and can look forward to their next steps up the ladder. Republicans, the Justice Department knows, will at a mimimum do nothing to harm them until that happy day.

If we think this unlikely, let’s remind ourselves that after the Berger investigation became public, “Hillary announced, without being asked, that Sandy had just helped brief her for a February speech at the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy — sending the adviser a signal that he was still part of the family, even though the grand jury was investigating him.” In Washington, that’s the equivalent of a horse head in the bed. Remarkably, the plea bargain granted Berger by the Justice Department allows him to regain his security clearance by 2008, just in time to support Hillary’s presidential campaign and perhaps accept a post in a victorious Clinton administration.

In the long run, the Justice Department’s durable contribution was to lower the standard of culpable criminality for Washington's careerists. Just as Bill Clinton established that irresponsibility is praiseworthy if it’s good entertainment, Justice gave us “not-crime,” identifyable by non-consequences and soothing spin. Who better than Bill Clinton to invite us to a slapstick future where many a Sandy Berger will surprise and delight? "That's Sandy for you,” said the Emcee-In-Chief. “We were all laughing about it on the way over here."

Posted by Lastango at April 14, 2005 11:33 AM


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: sandyberger; scandals
I never heard of "Daily Pundit" before, but I stumbled onto this while doing a google search for something for info about Magistrate Deborah Robinson. It apparently was never posted here when it was orignally posted to the internet back in April. "Daily Pundit" appears to be a posting forum and I don't know if linking to such a site is considered bad manners - - I'm new here - - but some of the info contained in the story is stuff I never heard about before and I find it very disturbing, to say the least.

Go to the URL for links imbedded in the story's text if you are interested in the footnoting/back-up of the information and quotes contained in the story.

1 posted on 07/14/2005 9:09:35 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Lancey Howard

I don't think there's anything new here, but it's very well written.


3 posted on 07/14/2005 9:15:38 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Baynative

I had forgotten about the National Archive employees aiding and abetting Berger's theft of the documents. Even more disturbing is that apparently somebody's got something on the prosecutor, Noel Hillman. Yesterday's delay in sentencing is VERY interesting. Something's up.


4 posted on 07/14/2005 9:17:55 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Cicero

I hadn't heard all of Hillman's lame excuses before - - I made the mistake of believing that there was some kind of deal made for the wrist-slap sentence. Maybe somebody informed the Magistrate that the case is really dirty and that's why she delayed sentencing.


5 posted on 07/14/2005 9:20:33 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard
If this wasn't a case for libby news media I don't know what is.

You got this dumb **** Sandy(what kind of name is that) Burglar (punny) who had a brain fart and stole some TopSercet Documents and we haven't heard the shrilling of the press or the house dems (or spineless Republicans) to have his head like they want Rove's.

AAghghgh!
6 posted on 07/14/2005 9:21:00 PM PDT by RazorGhost
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To: SueRae; NavySEAL F-16; cardinal4; rocksblues

Check this out!
Please don't be fooled by the original April posting.
LOTS of interesting stuff in here. Things I sure didn't know.


7 posted on 07/14/2005 9:25:41 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard

How many chillins will die because of this bastard?


8 posted on 07/14/2005 9:25:56 PM PDT by Waco
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To: Liz; MamaLucci; STARWISE; Tacis; Mo1; mystery-ak; Billthedrill

VERY interesting information in here.
(Please don't be fooled by the original April posting date.)
I think Magistrate Robinson may have decided she didn't want to sign off on the wrist-slap.


9 posted on 07/14/2005 9:30:31 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard

I think the delay could be something good. It could be that Sandy Burglar hasn't come through with his end of the "deal". What that could result in, I'm not sure.


10 posted on 07/14/2005 9:32:43 PM PDT by CyberAnt (President Bush: "America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth")
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To: RazorGhost
After the plea deal was announced, the NY Post reported that the probe “seems to have shifted to whether Clinton appointees at the Archives tried to cover for Berger. Archives chief John Carlin, a Clinton appointee, was bounced soon after the incident. It's a violation of law to take classified documents, so Archives staffers should have called the FBI when they saw Berger do it — instead, they called Clinton's Mr. Fix-it, lawyer Bruce Lindsey."

Where is all of the screeching about this little tidbit? I am sooo angry!

11 posted on 07/14/2005 9:39:22 PM PDT by ladyinred
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To: ladyinred

Gee. All of this info sort of contradicts what the DUmmies have been saying recently. That Sandy innocently made a very small and insignificant mistake. And all the big mean conservatives are persecuting him. Hmmmmmm......who to believe, who to believe? LOL


12 posted on 07/14/2005 9:51:47 PM PDT by commonasdirt (Reading DU so you won't hafta)
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To: ladyinred
instead, they called Clinton's Mr. Fix-it, lawyer Bruce Lindsey

Interesting that the scumbags still have Lindsey's phone number, isn't it?

13 posted on 07/14/2005 10:00:04 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard
This case simply adds to my lack of respect for the United States Department of (So Called) Justice.

"Equal Justice Under Law" my eye!!

A client of mine, a black man, asked me once if I knew why it was called the "Justice" Department. He said because the only ones they lock up is "just us".

14 posted on 07/14/2005 10:20:59 PM PDT by Lawgvr1955 (Never draw to an inside straight.)
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To: Berosus; blam; dervish; Do not dub me shapka broham; Ernest_at_the_Beach; FairOpinion

VERY interesting information in here.
(Please don't be fooled by the original April posting date.)
I think Magistrate Robinson may have decided she didn't want to sign off on the wrist-slap.


15 posted on 07/14/2005 10:22:24 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: hosepipe; ConservativeMan55; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; JulieRNR21; Cindy; Smartass; MeekOneGOP

VERY interesting information in here.
(Please don't be fooled by the original April posting date.)
I think Magistrate Robinson may have decided she didn't want to sign off on the wrist-slap.


16 posted on 07/14/2005 10:23:42 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Pessimist; japaneseghost; johnny7; TomGuy; maryz; Lonesome in Massachussets; JLO; gidget7; ...

VERY interesting information in here.
(Please don't be fooled by the original April posting date.)
I think Magistrate Robinson may have decided she didn't want to sign off on the wrist-slap.


17 posted on 07/14/2005 10:27:22 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard; McGavin999
After the plea deal was announced, the NY Post reported that the probe “seems to have shifted to whether Clinton appointees at the Archives tried to cover for Berger. Archives chief John Carlin, a Clinton appointee, was bounced soon after the incident. It's a violation of law to take classified documents, so Archives staffers should have called the FBI when they saw Berger do it — instead, they called Clinton's Mr. Fix-it, lawyer Bruce Lindsey."

Ab-so-damn-lutely amazing.

18 posted on 07/14/2005 10:28:17 PM PDT by Howlin (Who is Judith Miller covering up for?)
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To: Lancey Howard
" Berger destroyed three copies by cutting them up with scissors...."

Sounds very inadvertent to me.

Sure, I accidentally cut things up all the time.

Sorry utility company, I had the check but I inexplicably cut it up!

Sorry IRS, I accidentally cut up my payment to you...
19 posted on 07/14/2005 10:28:53 PM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton
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To: Congressman Billybob

Do you know this guy Noel Hillman? Is he a Clinton holdover? How about Magistrate Robinson - - what do you know about her integrity? Do you have any theories about the delay in sentencing?

Thanks.


20 posted on 07/14/2005 10:30:55 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard

Judge pulls back order requiring FBI to turn over records
Wyoming News, WY - Jul 2, 2005

US District Judge Bruce Jenkins had set a July 13 date for Noel Hillman, chief of the department's public integrity section, to explain under oath the delay in


******

Senators make deal on federal judgeship

Saturday, June 11, 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Peter G. Sheridan, whose nomination had been on hold, will now be named to a judicial slot in the U.S. District Court in either Trenton or Newark. Bush also was expected to name a Justice Department official and a U.S. magistrate in Newark to the bench in either Newark or Trenton, a source said on condition of anonymity.

Sens. Jon S. Corzine and Frank Lautenberg objected to Sheridan's nomination to the southern New Jersey post because he is from Mercer County. The two wanted a judge from the area to preside over court matters there.

snip

The other two impending nominations are U.S. Magistrate Susan Wigenton, who sits in Newark, and Noel Hillman, who is chief of the Justice Department's Office of Public Integrity.


21 posted on 07/14/2005 10:32:40 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: Lancey Howard

A federal judge in Utah has canceled his order requiring a top Justice Department official to testify why it is taking so long for the department to review records connected to the death of a prison inmate. U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins had set a July 13 date for Noel Hillman, chief of the department's public integrity section, to come to his courtroom and explain, under oath, the delay in deciding which documents can be released under the Freedom of Information Act. On Friday, he rescinded the order, noting that the official has said his review is complete. However, the judge warned that the reprieve is temporary and said the government ultimately will have to produce the records. Hillman had been determining which documents could be withheld. The records are being sought by Jesse Trentadue, the inmate's brother and a Salt Lake City attorney. He contends that Hillman began his review in 2001 and was taking too long.


22 posted on 07/14/2005 10:34:06 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: kcvl

Wow. I can smell Washington, Dirty City, from here.


23 posted on 07/14/2005 10:36:11 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Howlin

You know what? They got more out of Berger than just a confession on this. They got a whole LOT more.


24 posted on 07/14/2005 10:41:03 PM PDT by McGavin999
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To: kcvl

kc! Did you read the New York Times article?

ROFLMAO.........it's NOT Rove!


25 posted on 07/14/2005 10:46:10 PM PDT by Howlin (Who is Judith Miller covering up for?)
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To: McGavin999

Do you think Sandy's spilling the beans to keep from going to prison and that's why they are delaying his sentencing?


26 posted on 07/14/2005 10:46:58 PM PDT by Howlin (Who is Judith Miller covering up for?)
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To: Howlin

Oh yeah, I think he's spilled a lot of beans. You don't get off on something that serious just because of who you used to be. You have to give something very valuable in return.


27 posted on 07/14/2005 10:48:14 PM PDT by McGavin999
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To: McGavin999

Do you think you and I will live long enough to find out what it is.........LOL.


28 posted on 07/14/2005 10:49:47 PM PDT by Howlin (Who is Judith Miller covering up for?)
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To: Howlin
Yes, I read it. The NYTimes sure didn't want to print that I'm sure.
29 posted on 07/14/2005 10:50:45 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: Lancey Howard
Lance quite a find.. I love the attitude of the piece..
That IS the right attitude.. first time I've seen a proper attitude on this..
I'm with ya.. Something stinks and is rotten..
30 posted on 07/14/2005 11:02:51 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been ok'ed by me to included some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Howlin
Do you think you and I will live long enough to find out what it is.........LOL.

I don't know. I think it's sort of like the GWOT. Some things we'll know about, some things we won't. The important thing is that the scum is being swept into the trashcan.

31 posted on 07/14/2005 11:05:22 PM PDT by McGavin999
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To: McGavin999
Oh yeah, I think he's spilled a lot of beans.

I hope you are right, but I get the nagging feeling that Sandy has heard of "Arkancide".
Other possibilities for the delay in sentencing are:

1. Sandy "spilled beans" that turned out to be lies.
2. The prosecutor has an aroma and the judge doesn't like the sentence (judge is honest).
3. The judge has been told to shut Sandy's mouth (judge has an aroma).
4. Somebody in the Bush Administration is in trouble and a "trade" is being discussed.

32 posted on 07/14/2005 11:46:32 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard

bttt


33 posted on 07/14/2005 11:51:39 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: Lancey Howard
by saying that Justice Department lawyers concluded Berger took the documents merely for personal convenience - to prepare for his and President Clinton's testimony before the Sept. 11 Commission - and not to hide any embarrassing evidence.

GRRRRRR. He stole them at Clintoons behest, for exactly that reason! The press knows it, the government knows it and the people know it. But like most things official, things need to be prioritzed and the DOJ spending too much time on Berger's criminal act, would have taken away from the resources needed to incarcerate Martha Stewart. After all, National Security isnt as important as money exchange laws..

34 posted on 07/15/2005 12:11:44 AM PDT by cardinal4 (Senate Dems- striving for a level of petulance and immaturity seen only in pre schools..)
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To: Lancey Howard

bttt


35 posted on 07/15/2005 12:32:45 AM PDT by MamaLucci (Mutually assured destruction STILL keeps the Clinton administration criminals out of jail.)
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To: Lancey Howard
By letting Berger off lightly Justice preserved a Washington career. Nothing resonates with the Permanent and Powerful like the ability to keep doing what they do forever, and Justice proved its bona fides and made a warm spot for itself in every Beltway heart aspiring to slipstream D.C.'s culture of careers to a golden tomorrow. The Primary Directive: You don't queer the deal. All the pols (Republican, Democrat or Independent) know that one. Anyone who doesn't think that pols first allegiance is to their class is hopelessly naive.
36 posted on 07/15/2005 1:11:19 AM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: Lancey Howard
Yeah, back when this was all being leaked out we were assured here that it clearly had to mean that Berger had rolled over. Not to worry, you know? Well, we can see what that brought us...
One thing, Berger will never be able to hold a big "out front" post. He is damaged goods. But the man will find his ability to make big bucks uneffected.
37 posted on 07/15/2005 1:15:44 AM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: McGavin999
You know what? They got more out of Berger than just a confession on this. They got a whole LOT more.

What are you smoking?

38 posted on 07/15/2005 1:20:14 AM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: Lawgvr1955
A client of mine, a black man, asked me once if I knew why it was called the "Justice" Department. He said because the only ones they lock up is "just us".

Good one! (I forget the context, but I once heard the Swimmer bloviating on the radio about how there shouldn't be one law for the rich and powerful and one for the masses! Maybe he intends to fix this. Ha-ha.)

39 posted on 07/15/2005 2:24:55 AM PDT by maryz
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To: McGavin999; Eva
Oh yeah, I think he's spilled a lot of beans. You don't get off on something that serious just because of who you used to be. You have to give something very valuable in return.

Maybe that explains the hysterical behavior of the Dems. They're lashing out going after Bush, DeLay, Rove in the attempt to take others out in their inevitable fall?
40 posted on 07/15/2005 2:39:44 AM PDT by demkicker (A skunk sat on a stump; the stump thunk the skunk stunk; the skunk thunk the stump stunk.)
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To: demkicker
No, the NYT is going to be severly damaged by this, and all the rest of the mainstream media along with them. But, the NYT printed Wilson's perjurous editorial and then jumped in the fray with both legs, just as it was recovering from the Jayson Blair embarassment. T
41 posted on 07/15/2005 2:45:33 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Lancey Howard

I read on some thread that Mag. Robinson was appointed in 1988 - she hasn't been promoted since? Magistrate judges are the lowest of the federal judiciary.

In other words, she must have a rep of pissing off politicians. He**, if I were her I send him to prison just because Clinton never appointed me to a higher bench.


42 posted on 07/15/2005 5:22:43 AM PDT by japaneseghost
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To: maryz
I once heard the Swimmer bloviating on the radio about how there shouldn't be one law for the rich and powerful and one for the masses!

I believe the Admiral of the SS Oldsmobile quote is incomplete. I believe his statement was, "There shouldn't be one law for the rich and powerful and one for the masses! But there is, fortunately, and you little people will just have to deal with it!!".

43 posted on 07/16/2005 10:28:03 AM PDT by Lawgvr1955 (Never draw to an inside straight.)
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To: Lawgvr1955
LOL! I must have misheard!

(I don't recall whether I heard that before or after he managed to have his late mother declared a Florida resident so her will would be probated there, though she hadn't been out of MA in about 12 years.)

44 posted on 07/16/2005 12:03:30 PM PDT by maryz
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To: Lancey Howard
After the plea deal was announced, the NY Post reported that the probe “seems to have shifted to whether Clinton appointees at the Archives tried to cover for Berger. Archives chief John Carlin, a Clinton appointee, was bounced soon after the incident. It's a violation of law to take classified documents, so Archives staffers should have called the FBI when they saw Berger do it — instead, they called Clinton's Mr. Fix-it, lawyer Bruce Lindsey."

I made this very point about possible culpability on the part of National Archives personnel in my post regarding this matter on my blog, hotelsierra.blogspot.com.

45 posted on 07/16/2005 2:06:11 PM PDT by Yanni.Znaio (This tagline is political. The FEC is trying to make me remove it.)
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To: Lancey Howard; Liz; Howlin
...leaving many to wonder if this is just a case of the federal government looking after one of its own.

There's still no news on Perp Berger's sentencing. It maybe time to call the judge...

46 posted on 07/19/2005 4:07:17 PM PDT by Libloather (I trust Hillary as far as I can throw her...)
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To: Libloather

Berger sentencing postponed til Sept.


47 posted on 07/19/2005 4:21:04 PM PDT by Liz (You may not be interested in politics; doesn't mean politics isn't interested in you. Pericles)
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To: Lancey Howard
And so American citizens continue to show an increasing level of distrust and contempt toward the federal government. Especially among conservatives, there is so little respect left for the institutions of government that one wonders why the government any longer even bothers with the lies and denials. Nobody really believes them anyway.

They have only themselves to blame. And I am talking about both parties here.

48 posted on 07/19/2005 4:41:46 PM PDT by Czar (StillFedUptotheTeeth@Washington)
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