'Sandy Scissorhands'

J$P Instant Transcript! Mike Gallagher and Bob Beckel discuss Sandy Berger.

From Fox & Friends, April 6 2005:

BRIAN KILMEADE [FOX NEWS]: Former President Bill Clinton advisor Sandy Berger has pleaded guilty to removing classified documents from the National Archives, and then destroying them. But it looks like he's not going to do any time for his crimes. Can you believe this? Here to give us both sides of this, and I don't know where Bob Beckel is going to go, I really don't, conservative radio talk show host Mike Gallagher and in DC Democratic strategist Bob Beckel--

MIKE GALLAGHER: I know where he's going to go, I know where he's going to go.

KILMEADE: --both a Fox News contributor, and they're good friends. Now Mike came into studio, but Bob we invited you in but you've elected not to. But I'm going to throw this out to you first. How do you defend Sandy Berger who basically admitted I lied when I said I took them home by mistake, because he cut them up? You don't cut them up by mistake.

BOB BECKEL: Now Brian, you don't have any strong feelings about this going into this question, do you?

KILMEADE: I can't believe it.

BECKEL: I just, I really, I want you to take heed here for a second.

KILMEADE: What do you think, Bob? You're known for your candor and honesty.

BECKEL: Listen, first of all, let me tell you, to do what he did was a terrible mistake and a lack of judgment on his part. But having said that, he had access to these documents in any event. He was a National Security Advisor. He was getting ready to testify before the 9/11 Terrorist Commission and he was getting his testimony put together. And the other thing I'd say about this is, historically this has gone on in Washington a lot. Let's not forget our good friend Ollie North had his secretary take national security stuff out in her boots. And Ollie didn't go to jail which I'm glad he didn't, and I'm glad that Sandy didn't either.

GALLAGHER: Hey Brian, he did that with a straight face. There's just a hint of a smirk on my buddy Bob Beckel's face as he tries that line. These documents were so classified that you couldn't take them out without having a handcuff to a briefcase to get them out. That's how--

KILMEADE: And what were they? They were the after reports to the Millennium bombing that thankfully was stopped.

GALLAGHER: The after reports. Let me tell you something, Bob Beckel knows as well as anybody that Bill Clinton is thanking his lucky stars for Terri Schiavo and Pope John Paul II's death, because if those two events hadn't happened, Sandy Burger would be exposed as the lying, cheating thief that he is. And for crying out loud, Bob, he gets his security clearance taken away for a few months? Why don't you make him stand in the corner for a couple of days?

BECKEL: Mike, the guy's had a long, distinguished public career. I wouldn't just take it down to this one incident. But look, I had to defend the Clinton administration for eight years. Some days I felt like the only fire hydrant at the Westminster Dog Show.

GALLAGHER: And this is one of those days.

BECKEL: So let me just tell you, I have a difficult time defending the actions, but I certainly don't have a difficult time thinking this guy out to be put in jail. I think it's much, you're going way overboard on this thing, Mikey. And by the way, Mike, I'm having dinner with the President tonight. Is there anything you'd like me to say to him?

GALLAGHER: Which country? The President of which country?

BECKEL: It's Zimbabwe actually. No, actually, the President of the United States. It will be 4,000 intimate friends.

GALLAGHER: I hear you're big in Zimbabwe.

KILMEADE: Dick Morris came out today, who knows Bill Clinton quite well, and says you just line up Sandy Berger with Web Hubbell, Johnny Chung, former Gov Jim Tucker, Vince Foster, and Susan McDougall, as people who have decided to take the fall to protect the President. There's something about something so vital about this, finding out the truth about how we were or weren't prepared about terror, that Sandy Berger has taken away from America and the 9/11 Commission. Why else would you cut this stuff up, lie about it, stuff it in your socks, come back twice just before you testify?

BECKEL: Wait a second--

GALLAGHER: Right, it's part of the official record on terrorism. That's what he destroyed. And people here in New York know, we're very sensitive to that kind of an issue. Come on, Bob.

BECKEL: Mike, he did not destroy these documents. These documents still exist, number one. Number two, citing Dick Morris on something like this frankly is a little bit like citing Don King on a legitimate boxing match.

GALLAGHER: You cited Ollie North. Dick--

BECKEL: But leaving that aside, look, these documents are not destroyed. There are copies of these documents. I said he made a terrible mistake. But do you think this guy ought to be locked up, is that what you're saying?

GALLAGHER: Do you think Martha Stewart ought to be locked up? We watched her go to jail because she did what her stock broker told her to do.

BECKEL: No, no, no.

GALLAGHER: And Sandy Berger gets no jail time for admitting to have stolen--

BECKEL: No, I don't think she should have gone either. And--

KILMEADE: Hey Bob, do you remember back on the 9/11 Commission when they went up with that daily agenda, and they went up to Condoleeza Rice, and they said didn't it say here, Bin Laden looking to attack within our borders? And we watched, and the whole world watched? Sandy Berger never had that moment perhaps, because he decided to risk imprisonment and breaking a federal law, to chop this stuff up. My question is, of the five documents, he chose to chop up three. All were slightly different. What was in those documents? Why don't we know?

BECKEL: Well, we do know is, first of all I sort of feel like I've been in a mugging here on 2nd Avenue or something, between you two guys. We know what was in the documents. He testified using what was in those documents before the 9/11 Commission. So it's not as if there was something in there that said Sandy Berger or Bill Clinton did something terrible and we're going to go destroy it.

GALLAGHER: So Bob, why did he pull the cut and shred tactic then? What do you think he was trying to alter if he wasn't intentionally trying to alter the historical record of terrorism? What was he destroying, Bob?

BECKEL: Well if he was taking something that was the only copy, Mike, then I would understand what you're saying. He was not.

GALLAGHER: Bob, why won't you answer, it's an easy question? Why would he intentionally take them out? He admitted, don't forget he didn't say I accidentally left them in my jacket. He admitted stealing them and destroying them.

BECKEL: He admitted he took them out, that's right. And he said he--

KILMEADE: By mistake, he said. He lied to the FBI.

GALLAGHER: Initially.

KILMEADE: And Bill Clinton's cover for that is very interesting: Oh that Sandy, he's so forgetful and so sloppy.

GALLAGHER: Yeah, that Sandy. [laughter]

BECKEL: Hey listen, I've got an idea. If you two guys are judge and jury he'd be on death row in San Quentin, I mean, come on.

KILMEADE: But Bob, you too, it must get you aggravated too, because we got to find out the truth about terrorism. You can't be covering your tracks.

BECKEL: Why, first of all you're making some assumption here that he's trying to cover something up. He used those documents, what was in those documents, when he cut them to paste them for his testimony.


BECKEL: He used them in his testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

GALLAGHER: Bob, you can't even buy that. You've got to be, I mean listen, you're a good soldier and you're doing a great job for the Dems--

BECKEL: --No, I'm not--

GALLAGHER: --but you can't buy that argument. Nobody can buy what you're selling.

BECKEL: Mike, I said it was a terrible mistake on his part. It should not have happened; he should have known better. I'm just saying I don't think it deserves going to jail for.

KILMEADE: And you know who could solve everything for everybody? Richard Clarke. But he has so much bitterness against the President and the Secretary of State, now the Secretary of State, he's not going to come clean. Because the report that was chopped up was his.

GALLAGHER: Just add Sandy Berger to the list of Web Hubbell and all these others who have taken the fall for Slick Willie. Bill Clinton gets another one and laughs all the way to the bank.

KILMEADE: They argue on tv but they'll be friends tonight at the big radio and television ball.

GALLAGHER: Tonight in DC, I'll see you there.

BECKEL: I'll tell you, let me repeat this one more time. Clinton for you guys is the gift that keeps on giving. If you didn't have this guy, I don't know what you'd do.

KILMEADE: We've got to take sharp objects away from his former National Security Advisor. That's what got to happen.

BECKEL: Hey, if you want to go back and do it, there were plenty of people in Iran-Contra, remember that scandal?

GALLAGHER: That's right.

BECKEL: Who never went to jail who should've gone to jail. But they didn't go. So I mean--

GALLAGHER: There's the gift that keeps on giving for you. Ollie North. You're invoking Ollie North for crying out loud. Give me a break.

BECKEL: I love Ollie North. Do not get me wrong. I said I didn't think he should've gone to jail. And I don't think you should go to jail either, Mike.

GALLAGHER: Save me a seat tonight, Bob.

KILMEADE: Bye, guys. Have a good time tonight.

posted: Thu - April 7, 2005 at 12:37 AM       j$p  send 

Look at the Berger story from the newshounds' and their fans' perspective:
Newshound "ellen" reported on July 21, 2004, that a Fox reporter "tosse[d] out some innuendos of her own" when the reporter asserted "without any facts, that the situation has already started to impact the Massachusetts senator's presidential pursuit." "ellen" also quoted the reporter as saying that several Capitol Hill lawmakers "told FOX News that the situation didn't look good for Berger, or even for Kerry." 
[Comment: History has proved the reporter right and ellen wrong.]
Newshounds fan "Liz" carefully analyzed the story and commented on a later thread:
"This is a non-story and its going nowhere. Berger had top security clearance and I'm sure he knew about the surveillance cameras. Everyone that knows him says he has papers all over the place. His desk is a mess. He took his own notes to refresh his recollection before testifying before the Commission."
- Posted by: Liz at July 23, 2004
Another poster wrote that he thought he saw a report stating that Sandy Berger has been cleared of any wrong-doing. The poster then said that Ann Coulter should apologize for comments she made on Hannity and Colmes if it turned out Berger was innocent. 
The mere mention of the hated Ann Coulter, sure to fire up any liberal, prompted "Liz" to react with great ire:
"FNC conservative guests do not do apologies! Trust me on this one. They will find some lame excuse as to why or how the investigation was fixed. They will probably end up blaming the Clintons because Sandy Berger worked in the Clinton White House!"
- Posted by: Liz at July 30, 2004
Another astute newshounds fan and Fox-hater caught on to this belief and immediately created a connection to Bush, which in newshounds comments brings great praise for the poster and much calling-of-names for republicans by other posters. She posted in a later thread: 
"I can't believe that E.D. Hill, [expletive deleted], is still making references to Sandy Berger, who was CLEARED of the charges. How sad when they still have to push a debunked talking point because real news showing how great our President is, just can't be found.
- Posted by: Amanda at August 4, 2004
April 7, 2005, 3:08:48 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Mike you're doing a great job keeping up with the hound hysteria while I'm attending to some personal business. Many Thanx!
April 7, 2005, 3:15:56 PM EDT – Like – Reply

"I read newshounds so you don't have to."
And it's fun - I am glad that I don't have to spend the next 4 years in the depths of self-pity and despair, interrupted only by fits of self-destructive rage:
> It almost wasn't worth reporting on until Gibson began his daily rant which he calls "My Word." I had to forcibly restrain myself from hurling the coffee cup. I stopped, only because the TV screen is already pitted in four places - a permanent reminder of the glass I actually DID throw on Election eve.
- Reported by Marie Therese at January 12, 2005
April 7, 2005, 3:50:00 PM EDT – Like – Reply