Unwilling To Investigate Bush Administration, Congress Returns To Clinton

A group of conservative lawmakers, led by Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), called on House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) to once again investigate former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger’s handling of classified documents.

For a Congress that has conducted “only minimal oversight” of the Bush administration, the move to investigate a former Clinton administration official long out of office is both misplaced and a waste of time. In a letter objecting to the investigation, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote:

The Berger incident is not new, and there is no conceivable standard under which it would be considered a vitally important national security matter. As you know, the Justice Department thoroughly investigated the incident in 2004, and Mr. Berger pled guilty in April 2005 to a misdemeanor charge of taking classified documents without authorization. At the time of Mr. Berger’s please, Noel Hillman, the chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, said Berger “did not have an intent to hide any of the content of the documents.”

Instead of pursuing a politically-motivated, dead-end investigation, here are some legitimate national security issues over which Congress should be exercising its oversight:

— The release of an intelligence estimate that paints a “grim” picture of the situation in Iraq which is being suppressed by the Bush administration

— The White House’s role in manipulating intelligence about Iraq through their pre-war public statements

— The National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program

— The complicity of senior administration officials in the torture and mistreatment of detainees

Mother Jones has some ideas for other investigations Congress should pursue. Also see the Carpetbagger Report.