AP Is Bad, But Not All Bad

The AP, deep in the hole on its flawed reporting from Iraq, is still digging furiously. But it has some decent employees, and thanks to them we know Sandy Berger is a crook with something big to hide.

AP’s false reporting from Iraq has been exposed by Curt at Flopping Aces, who in his day job is a cop in Los Angeles. It turns out AP relies on Iraqi stringers who front for terrorists and have fed AP overstated reports of the violence.

That’s regrettable but understandable – getting objective truth is hard in the (few) areas of Iraq suffering sectarian violence. What makes the affair reprehensible is AP management’s attempts to cover up.

Here’s AP’s bright side (WSJ, $):

Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, has already recanted his initial claim that he removed documents from the National Archives “inadvertently” back in 2003 while preparing for testimony to the 9/11 Commission. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 2005 and paid a $50,000 fine. But now the report of the Archives’ Inspector General has come to light, and it suggests Mr. Berger knew he was engaged in a bit of hugger-mugger when he secreted the after-action memos he was reviewing out of the building.

According to the report, obtained by the Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request, Mr. Berger removed the documents and hid some of them under a trailer in a construction site before returning to retrieve them later. This is not the behavior of a man with a clear conscience. And it’s astonishing for a man who served in a senior White House position that made him familiar with the obligations of handling classified papers.

Thanks to AP, we now know that Berger took huge risks to remove and destroy classified documents – which tells us he thought them highly prejudicial.

Let’s hope the AP stays on the case and finds out exactly what these were.

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