Los Angeles Times

It’s as good as ‘I’m sorry’


Re “Biden should admit to his mistakes with documents,” Opinion, Jan. 24

Jonah Goldberg identifies an obvious similarity in the Biden and Trump classified documents cases — namely, both cases involve the unauthoriz­ed possession of classified documents. So far, so good.

However, as to Goldberg’s claim that both men share a reluctance to admit error, that is an unnuanced and problemati­c assertion. Admitting to a mistake can take a number of forms short of a public apology.

In President Biden’s case, although he may not have publicly apologized for the error, there has been a timely investigat­ion and full cooperatio­n by the Biden team in the document recovery process.

In former President Trump’s case, there has been obstructio­n and a refusal to cooperate with the National Archives and the Department of Justice. Hence the Mar-a-Lago raid.

In Biden’s forthright response, there is a recognitio­n of and an effort to correct a mistake. In Trump’s case, there is no acknowledg­ment of a mistake, only persistent denials, concealmen­t and disinforma­tion.

Andrew Spathis Los Angeles

In 1953, I was posted by the U.S. Air Force to Oslo, Norway, and assigned to the U.S. documents office at Allied Air Forces Northern Europe.

These were dangerous days with intense saberrattl­ing by the Soviet Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organizati­on. Oslo was an “open city” with odd characters buying and selling everything from surplus military trucks to the contents of wastebaske­ts from NATO offices.

Our document office had explicit and strictly enforced rules. Similar to handling criminal evidence, a chain of custody was enforced, with any person handling any document required to sign for it and sign it back in upon return. The place and name of a person holding any document had to be recorded every 12 hours.

Recalling all those strictures from long ago, I can only imagine that the federal document classifyin­g system in Washington is overwhelme­d by volume of documents from persons who feel that every piece of paper needs to be classified as sensitive.

That, and a shortage of shredding machines.

Carleton Cronin West Hollywood

I appreciate The Times for including Goldberg in its Opinion section. He is one writer who brings a bit of political balance to the table.

His statement about the classified documents problem was beautifull­y and fairly stated: “He had stuff he shouldn’t have had in places they didn’t belong.”

Finally, someone who does not beat one side of the political drum ad nauseam.

David Waldowski Laguna Woods

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