John Kerry said that the first he heard of Sandy Berger taking classified documents from the National Archives (and Berger did this by stuffing the documents into his pants) was on Monday, July 19. The Monk does not doubt Kerry on this.
Note that this statute, 18 U.S.C. sect. 793(f)(1) makes it a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to "through gross negligence permit [classified information] to be removed from its proper place of custody." Sticking classified documents in your pants and walking out of the National Archives should qualify as no less than "gross negligence." [Note that "gross negligence" is a legal term and includes conscious indifference to surrounding conditions; that explanation is not perfect, but it captures the essence].
But to Bill Clinton, this is a laughing matter. Here is the key info from Matt Drudge:
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."
Now all that Clinton said fits perfectly with the Clinton method of disarm and obfuscate.
First, ridicule the press by cheerily stating the story is a non-issue, even though Berger probably violated Federal law.
Second, hint that it's really suspicious -- must be a product of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy; the fact that the former National Security Advisor of the US, who was second only to the Director of Central Intelligence in the country's intelligence apparatus, likely violated Federal law by taking classified documents from the National Archives is therefore, to Clintonistas, completely irrelevant.
Third, Democrats care. That's why Sandy would have (intentionally) misappropriated these documents -- he cared.
As usual, Clinton's explanation is a bunch of bunk.
Moreover, it makes Kerry look like a dope because Berger was Kerry's advisor and had this cloud hanging over his head.
Oh, and for the suspicious timing . . . is it suspicious that the Berger fiasco hits the press just as Joseph Wilson's lies are starting to get fully explored in the blogosphere and (to some degree) the mainstream media?