Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Slow Dancin' In The Big City 

One of the more curious aspects of Sandy Berger's self-admitted lifting of classified documents is that the investigation of his acts has been pending since last October, yet government and congressional officials said no decision has been made on whether Berger should face criminal charges.
Really? Eight months is not enough time to make such a decision - or interview the culprit (look what an interview did to Martha Stewart) - or even convene a grand jury that might assist in the investigation? That's pretty slow dancing on the part of a Justice Department that much of the leftish media has been eager to suggest uses federal investigations to intimidate its opponents. Herr Doktorprofessor Paul Von Krugman, for example, is often very keen  to read insidious political intent into the relative speed of investigations, as he did in connection with Richard Clarke's likely perjury before Congress and Paul O'Neill's own retention of government documents: 

Senator Bill Frist's suggestion that Mr. Clarke might be charged with perjury may have been his own idea. But his move reminded everyone of the White House's reaction to revelations by the former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill: an immediate investigation into whether he had revealed classified information. The alacrity with which this investigation was opened was, of course, in sharp contrast with the administration's evident lack of interest in finding out who leaked the identity of the C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame to Bob Novak.
Of course, we now know that the administration was quite right not to take the bait by charging out with an aggressive investigation of who leaked the identity of Ms. Plame to Bob Novak, since her husband was lying all along about her involvement with his Niger mission - with her knowledge and aquiescence.

But consider Herr Doktorprofessor's line of reasoning on its own terms. If there is anything to what he writes, isn't the administration's long lassitude in the investigation of the very guilty-looking Mr. Berger suggestive of anything but an inclination to persecute political foes? Indeed, the administration didn't even bring this matter up when Mr. Berger testified before the Senate or the September 11 Commission.
Perhaps the paul Krugman's of the world will want to suggest that the administration held the investigation as a Sword of Damocles over Mr. Berger's head, to pervert his sworn testimony. That would make for an interesting show, since the crime of suborning a person's perjury  is serious, and generally requires that the person actually commit the perjury.
Mr. Berger? Mr. Berger? Are you listening, Mr. Berger?

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