Sandy Berger – Cleared Or Not Cleared?

Honestly I thought Glenn Reynolds had put the story of Sandy Berger allegedly being cleared of wrong doing by the National Archives to rest, by noting that there was one report saying he was and one report saying he wasn’t.

Media Matters For America‘s blogging division (Duncan Black and Oliver Willis) seemed to have missed the second story while focusing on outrage at the media for not reporting the first. Black’s Eschaton reports the contents of the Wall Street Journal article.

Officials looking into the removal of classified documents from the National Archives by former Clinton National Security Advisor Samuel Berger say no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The conclusion by archives officials and others would seem to lay to rest the issue of whether any information was permanently destroyed or withheld from the commission.Conveniently forgotten by everyone who has tracked the statements of Archives and the 9/11 Commission is that both have maintained all along that no documents were now missing.

ABC News Radio takes the WSJ piece and misreports it as follows:

President Clinton’s national security adviser, Sandy Berger — who’d been accused of stealing classified material from the National Archives — has been cleared of all wrongdoing.

The National Archives and the Justice Department have concluded nothing is missing and nothing in the Clinton administration’s record was withheld from the 9-11 Commission.ABC’s assertion that Berger was cleared is unsupported by the content of the story they were summarizing. NewsMax, picking up on the disconnect, went right back to the Archives spokesman to get clarification:

A senior spokeswoman for the National Archives denied a report Friday morning that Archives officials have cleared former Kerry-Edwards campaign adviser Sandy Berger on charges that he withheld documents from the 9/11 Commission.

“In spite of what the Wall Street Journal said, the National Archives really isn’t commenting on this case because it’s under investigation,” Susan Cooper, chief spokeswoman for the Archives, told the rest of the media looked at the whole reporting fiasco and determined (properly) that there was nothing new here, aside from ABC’s creative license. Why isn’t that being reported?

The story remains – “Sandy Berger, under investigation”

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  1. Paul July 31, 2004
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  3. McGehee August 1, 2004
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  5. Kevin August 1, 2004