Ronald A. Cass, Chairman of the Center for the Rule of Law and Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law, explains why the press has a responsibility to get to the bottom of Sandy Berger’s thefts from the National Archives.
Mr. Berger’s willingness to risk everything to suppress the information goes well beyond ordinary concerns against excessive disclosure.
Bill Clinton obviously has great sensitivity to his place in history and to accusations that he did too little to respond to al-Qaeda, that he is to some degree responsible for failing to prevent 9/11’s tragedy. That is why he and his lieutenants made reckless and baseless accusations against the current Bush administration, attempting to portray them as having dropped the baton handed off by ever-vigilant Clintonistas (who, according to John Ashcroft’s testimony, withheld the MAAAR and its warnings about al-Qaeda’s operations in the US from the Bush transition team).
But maybe there is more to the story. Maybe there is something far worse than we can imagine that is worth having his chief security aide risk his reputation, his career, and his liberty to cover up…
Clinton’s excessive reaction – complete with hyperbole, finger-wagging, and scolding – to a simple question from Fox News’ Chris Wallace about his response to al-Qaeda is in the same vein. Something here touches a nerve.
That nerve is exposed in the Sandy Berger saga. This story at bottom is about the security of our nation, about what was – or was not – done to protect us from the most shocking and deadly attack on American citizens by foreign agents in our nation’s history. This story is critical not only to understanding our past but also to securing our future. It can help us understand what it is reasonable to expect can be done to keep us and our loved ones safe from harm. It is, in short, as important a story as there is.
It is a story the news media should be desperate to explore, not desperate to avoid.