The Kerry campaign acted with uncharacteristic haste to distance itself from the debacle of Sandy Berger’s breach of security at the National Archives, as Berger announced his “resignation” from a position that both Kerry and Berger now say didn’t officially exist:
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.
The investigation had threatened to become a political problem for Kerry a week before his nominating convention in Boston in which he hopes to persuade voters that he is ready to be commander in chief. The cornerstone of Kerry’s argument against Bush is that he used faulty intelligence and poor judgment in waging war against Iraq.
The question now is when did the Kerry campaign find out about the security breaches at the National Archives? These thefts happened in October 2003, and Berger served the Kerry campaign since he started sweeping the primaries in February, at least. Bruce Lindsey had been notified at the time the documents disappeared. Not only that, but in order to receive security briefings during the campaign, Berger would have to either have retained his clearance or applied for a new one. While under this kind of investigation, that clearance had to have been cancelled or suspended — something that the Kerry campaign had to know.
The question is what did Kerry know, and when did he know it?