in the company of thieves

Richard Nixon is often cited as the political example of arrogance and paranoia. His infamous ‘enemy list’ is the prime example. The same can be said for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Few knowledgable people question whether the Clintons resort to questionable tactics to gain and retain political power. Hiring Craig Livingstone to illegally collect FBI records of political opponents goes even further than Richard Nixon’s ‘enemy list’. And hiring known felons is just par for the course with Bill and Hillary.

There are two kinds of crooks. The first cuts a deal. He tells the government what he knows and forever after is ostracized and hunted by his old partners in crime. The second is “stand-up.” He keeps his mouth shut. After serving his time, he is welcomed back into the fold. He might even get a “bump up” in rank from his grateful bosses.

No, we’re not talking about The Sopranos. What we have in mind is a new episode of a tawdry soap opera that began in the 1990s. Welcome to the case of disgraced former national security adviser Sandy Berger — and what it portends about a potential President Hillary.

Now Berger is back in business at Camp Clinton, advising New York’s junior senator in her bid for the White House. This warrants a review of Berger’s recent history. After his stint as national security adviser, he became Bill Clinton’s liaison to the 9/11 Commission as it investigated intelligence failures (many of which happened on Berger’s watch). Berger was accordingly given access to the national archives, both to prepare his own testimony and to get the former president ready for an interview with the commission.

Berger used his privileged access to steal top-secret national-defense documents. On at least two occasions he stuffed them into his clothing and briefcase, smuggling them out of the archives. He secreted some of these stolen papers under the wheel of a truck at a nearby construction site so that he could return for them later. Other documents he intentionally destroyed. These actions were serious felonies.

What kind of advice is Berger giving Mrs. Clinton, anyway? It can’t be legal advice: Berger forfeited his law license. It’s unlikely he’d be much help on Iran: The Clinton administration didn’t respond to the Khobar Towers bombing (in which19 U.S. Air Force personnel were killed) because Berger and others were convinced that then–Iranian president Mohammed Khatami was going to “reform” the hard-line mullahs. Berger failed on al Qaeda, too: Clinton declined to respond to the terror network’s bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (17 U.S. Navy personnel killed) because, according to Clinton, Berger’s intelligence services couldn’t tell him who did it.

Sandy Berger was a failure as national-security adviser. Then he became a criminal. As Americans contemplate making Hillary their president, they would be wise to consider the company she keeps.

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