The Sandy Burger Caper

I watched Rocks, Scissors, Paper: The Sandy Burger Caper on Fox News tonight. You have to give it to Fox... they really know how to trivialize a subject with a silly title.

In any case, the show wasn't very convincing. The evidence against Burger isn't really there. Clearly he was trying to cover up something. But the idiots at the National Archives and the Justice Department messed up the evidence enough so that the truth will never be known.

Plus, it would appear that there was some kind of deal with the Bush Administration to keep the story from getting out of hand. My bet is that the Clinton and Bush Administrations have enough dirty laundry on each other that they made a tacit agreement that the Justice Department would lie low on this. I can't imagine Congressional Democrats doing that for the Bush Administration, but I can imagine the Bush Administration being too busy to waste their time on crucifying Berger.

From what information is available, it looks like Burger was simply trying to keep information about the Millennium Bomber from going public. Rather than being a "model" for counter terrorism (as Democrats on the 9/11 Commission claimed), the Millennium Bomber after action report seems to have noted that it was just dumb luck that the terrorist was caught. Further, I'm sure that Richard Clarke recommended a whole host of measures that were not politically palatable at the time, and thus were studiously ignored.

Sandy Burger slipped away from what could and probably should have been a much bigger brouhaha. Had he been part of a Republican Administration, you can bet every major news outlet would have had their best reporters on the case for months. As it is, we have a lone Fox News trying to make some sense of it. But due to ineptitude in the government and Fox News' limited resources, there isn't enough meat in the story to keep it alive.

Berger's political toxicity will have to suffice as punishment enough.