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July 20, 2004

Much Glee In Blogland

First Joseph Wilson runs smackdab into a crisis. Now Sandy Berger does.

Both are Bush critics. Both are Kerry campaign advisors. Both have become huge political millstones in the last two weeks.

Maybe there is no October Surprise strategy being planned by the Bush campaign. Maybe the strategy is more along the lines of The Death of 1000 Cuts.

As for Berger himself, assuming the descriptions of his actions are accurate....

Q: Who covertly removes top secret documents?
A: Spies.

Q: So who's he spying for?
A: If we're lucky, the Kerry campaign, or the company he's chairman of.

Q: If we're not lucky?
A: Let's hope we're lucky.

Update: Hmmm.

Datum 1.
Today former National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger announced the formation of Stonebridge International LLC
Stonebridge International will serve a discrete number of companies in the telecommunications, energy, aviation, financial services, entertainment, manufacturing and other industries. The firm will work closely with Lehman Brothers in advising on business transactions in key markets and with Hogan & Hartson in executing strategies that depend on experienced legal advice in business, financial and governmental arenas around the world.
In addition to his government service, Mr. Berger spent sixteen years with Hogan & Hartson, an international firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. with more than 800 lawyers in 18 offices in the U.S., Europe and Japan. He headed the firm's international trade group. Through Stonebridge, Mr. Berger is Senior Advisor to Lehman Brothers and International Strategic Advisor to Hogan & Hartson.

Datum 2.
The commission also found "probable cause" to believe that Hogan & Hartson, a Washington law firm, violated election laws in the handling of $50,000 in donations that a client of the firm made to the national committee in summer 1996. Two officials at the firm who were involved in the handling of the donations have agreed to pay a total of $67,500.

Datum 3.
Since 9/11, Saudi Arabia has had, to put it delicately, a public relations problem. For more than a year, it's had to dodge allegations that it had a hand in the terrorist attacks. To rehabilitate its image, the kingdom has lined up on offense, deploying a PR and lobbying machine worthy of royalty. The Saudis' U.S. embassy has enlisted K Street shops Qorvis Communications LLC, Gallagher Group Communications, and Patton Boggs to get its message out to the public and Congress.
Hogan & Hartson and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which currently don't have local affiliations, used their governmental contacts to establish ties with Saudi Arabia. After J. William Fulbright joined Hogan in 1975 following his service in the Senate as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he negotiated a retainer with the country. The firm later went on to sign up Saudi billionaire prince Alwaleed bin Talal as a client.

Datum 4
"ok, America has to face reality if they donít want to fight terrorism for the next 100 years. Youíre going to kill bin Laden, youíre going to kill the Taliban, but youíre going to have tens of bin Ladens and tens of Talibans coming. What the Americans are doing now in Afghanistan is right. Iím with them all the way. They have to take revenge. They have to retaliate. Nobodyís disputing that at all. But I recommend to the United States, as a friend, that it address the roots of the problem. Donít forget that I have business interests in the United States. Publicly Iím saying I am an ally and a friend of America. Publicly. And you can quote me. I - am - an - ally - of - America. And I lost a lot in this attack. Exactly like Mr. Giuliani and the United States wants to eradicate terrorism, I want to eradicate terrorism also." - Alwaleed bin Talal

I wonder how much interest the fourth richest man in the world has in what the 9/11 commission will say about his country?

Other Nuggets:

From Berger's bio at Stonebridge
Mr. Berger is the author of Dollar Harvest (1971), a book on American rural politics, and numerous articles on international affairs.

He also serves currently as Senior Advisor to Lehman Brothers, and International Strategic Advisor to the law firm of Hogan & Hartson.

Currently, I'm trudging through Google, checking to see if any of the other Stonebridge officers have connections as interesting as Sandy's.

Could use some help, though.


This was quick.(lvi)

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger, the subject of a criminal investigation over the disappearance of terrorism documents, stepped aside on Tuesday as an informal adviser to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry

Posted by Bigwig at July 20, 2004 05:20 PM | TrackBack
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I dunno... while it's of course more dramatic to imagine that he's some sort of malignant, if stupid spy, I think it's more probable that he is either A.) REALLY stupid and took them on accident, B.) REALLY desperate and took them because there's something in there that's worth risking his neck for, at least to him.

I think it's a little too early to start flinging about accusations of spying and treason.

Posted by: Tellu541 at July 20, 2004 07:53 PM

Could Wilson be Plame's bagman?

Might his consulting outfit be a front to launder the money she actaully earns working for our enemies?

Shouldn't Wilson disclose all of his clients?

Shouldn't Berger?

Posted by: daniel at July 20, 2004 08:10 PM

There is absolutely, positively no way that a cleared person in a controlled area can "accidentally" walk out with secret materials. None.

Posted by: docuser at July 20, 2004 08:49 PM

Oh, give it up. You're just a tool of the vast right wing conspiracy. It's all about the sex. You're just a puritan with a hard on. The national archivist is a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty. Real men don't kiss and tell. The FBI agents and the U.S. Attorney are panty-sniffers - that's why they're talking about what Sandy has down hsi pants. And you are a dirty rotten bought and paid for Republican whore for bringing this up.

/s Chris Lehane
/s Joe Lockhart
/s Lanny Davis

Ps. Argue about this and I'll sue.
/s Sid Blumenthal.

Posted by: Blackavar at July 20, 2004 10:50 PM

In other words, isn't it nice to be back in the halcyon days of the '90s, and to have all those slime-encrusted Clintonoids crawling back out from under their rocks? I had forgotten what truly poisonous, slanderous spin doctoring sounded like.

And thank God they're back. For a moment there, the debate in the country was actually about national security and what we'll do about Islamofascism - rather than a four year conversation about the things stuffed in the trousers of Clintonites. Whew. That was nearly a serious election there.

Posted by: Blackavar at July 20, 2004 10:54 PM

I was under the impression, perhaps erroneously, that anyone reviewing documents in a secure area at National Archives was under constant -- I mean every second -- supervision. So the only thing that strikes me as less likely than the notion that Berger really did this accidentally is the notion that he did it with nefarious intent.

I will say this: Given how long this has been under investigation, the timing of the news seems a little coincidental. A little.

Posted by: Lex at July 20, 2004 10:54 PM

Craig Livingstone. The 900+ purloined FBI files. The misplaced Whitewater files. And now this.

Like William Faulkner said, the past isn't dead. It isn't even past.

Posted by: The Sanity Inspector at July 20, 2004 11:01 PM

I was under the impression, perhaps erroneously, that anyone reviewing documents in a secure area at National Archives was under constant -- I mean every second -- supervision


Posted by: docuser at July 21, 2004 12:39 AM

For a former NSA to treat classified (especially codeword classified) in such an irresponsible fashion, is reprehensible. Even if he is stupid, such accidents does call into question the wisdom of ever putting him in contact with classified material ever.

Reports I am reading indicate that Clinton knew, but Kerry did NOT know, that Berger was under investigations since January. And while I won't vote for Kerry, I cannot imagine him that stupid, to hire this guy on, knowing he was under investigation for mishandling classified material.

Sounds like a set up.

Posted by: Ben at July 21, 2004 04:23 AM

Stupid or spy, I really want to see Sandy the Burglar in the Federal pound-me-in-the-ass penitentary.

Certain basic standards must be upheld. As for any Dem partisans, as per Lileks take the basic "what would you do if a Republican did that?" test.

Posted by: Greg at July 22, 2004 08:45 PM
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