Fox's Gibson falsely claimed Berger "admitted" Clinton North Korea policy was "wrong"

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

Fox News host John Gibson falsely claimed that former Clinton administration National Security Adviser Sandy Berger -- in a previous interview with Gibson -- "admitted that he and his cohorts were wrong" in reaching a 1994 agreement with North Korea known as the Agreed Framework. In fact, Berger praised the Agreed Framework, noting that "[n]o plutonium was made during the Clinton administration" and that the "agreement fell apart during Bush II."

Referring to his October 10 interview with former Clinton administration National Security Adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger during the October 12 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson falsely claimed that "Berger admitted that he and his cohorts were wrong" in reaching a 1994 agreement with North Korea known as the Agreed Framework. Gibson also falsely claimed that Berger "admitted" that North Korea "cheated the entire time that agreement was in effect" and that when the agreement broke down, it "prove[d] [that] negotiating with the North Koreans is virtually without value and may in fact hurt us because they cheat." But during his interview with Gibson, Berger made no such statements. In fact, Berger praised the Agreed Framework, noting that "[n]o plutonium was made during the Clinton administration" and that the "agreement fell apart during Bush II." In addition, while Berger agreed with Gibson that you "absolutely cannot trust the North Koreans," Berger did not rule out negotiating with North Korea, instead saying that any agreement reached with North Korea "would have to be accompanied by verification, international supervision."

Gibson dedicated his "My Word" segment to addressing his viewers' complaints for having "put him [Berger] on the air" on October 10. Gibson justified Berger's appearance because of the significant role he played in formulating the Clinton administration's North Korea policy. But Gibson then falsely claimed that Berger admitted that the breakdown of the Agreed Framework proves that negotiating with North Korea "is virtually without value" and that the policy itself was "wrong":

GIBSON: Now "My Word." About the Sandy Berger issue: Many of you wrote to say it was wrong for me to put him on the air -- you just heard it. The main reason, Berger's criminal attempt to hide documents from the 9-11 Commission by sneaking them out of his national -- out of the National Archives in his socks.

Hey, I know what he did. You know what he did. Great. But this is a guy who had a major hand in formulating the Clinton administration's North Korea policy. My questions to him were on that issue, namely: Don't we now see the North Koreans cheated the entire time that agreement was in effect? And doesn't that now prove negotiating with the North Koreans is virtually without value and may in fact hurt us because they cheat? He admitted that was true.

So, those people who don't like the Clinton deal with North Korea, negotiated by former President Jimmy Carter, should be happy. Berger admitted that he and his cohorts were wrong.

In fact, during the interview, Berger praised the results of the Clinton administration's North Korea policy, saying that country's "plutonium program was frozen during a period from 1994 to 2002." Further, he did not rule out negotiations with North Korea if they led to an agreement that could be "accompanied by verification, international supervision."

From the October 12 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:

GIBSON: Now "My Word." About the Sandy Berger issue: Many of you wrote to say it was wrong for me to put him on the air -- you just heard it. The main reason, Berger's criminal attempt to hide documents from the 9-11 Commission by sneaking them out of his national -- out of the National Archives in his socks.

Hey, I know what he did. You know what he did. Great. But this is a guy who had a major hand in formulating the Clinton administration's North Korea policy. My questions to him were on that issue, namely: Don't we now see the North Koreans cheated the entire time that agreement was in effect? And doesn't that now prove negotiating with the North Koreans is virtually without value and may in fact hurt us because they cheat? He admitted that was true.

So, those people who don't like the Clinton deal with North Korea, negotiated by former President Jimmy Carter, should be happy. Berger admitted that he and his cohorts were wrong. Further, what exactly is the problem with putting on the other side? Do you really want to live in an echo chamber just like the far lefties? Do you really want me to just put on one side? Have you noticed our slogan is "fair and balanced"? And the way we prove it is by putting people on from the left side to answer questions?

You people who don't want to listen to Sandy Berger questioned closely should be ashamed of yourself. You are acting just like the people you say you oppose. You should want to hear what they have to say so you know how to argue back. What exactly is the problem with that? That's "My Word."

From the October 10 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:

GIBSON: Let's get reaction now to this new claim from Sandy Berger. He was President Clinton's national security adviser. He joins me now in this Big Story exclusive. Mr. Berger, your reaction to what Senator [John] McCain [R-AZ] had to say.

BERGER: Well, Senator McCain is just wrong. It's basically a diversion from what's -- the situation we face. Let's get the facts straight here. When we came to office in the '90s, the North Koreans already had a nuclear program. They produced enough plutonium to make two nuclear weapons.

When they threatened to make more plutonium in 1993, we said we'd take them to the U.N. [United Nations] Security Council. That threat brought them to the table. We froze -- we reached an agreement which froze and ultimately would lead to the dismantling of their plutonium program.

No plutonium was made during the Clinton administration. That agreement fell apart during Bush II, and now they've made enough plutonium for six to eight bombs. So two plutonium -- two bombs' worth of plutonium under Bush I, six to eight under Bush II, zero under Clinton. So it's just fairly beside the point.

GIBSON: Well, it may be beside the point, but I think a lot of people are wondering about the framework and whether you can trust them. Look at these facts, and I think you probably recognize these. Of course, in '94, the framework was negotiated under the Clinton administration. In '99 and 2000, according to Robert Gallucci, the Clinton administration was unable to certify to Congress that North Korea was not pursuing a uranium-enrichment capability. And then in October 2002, North Korea tells U.S. delegates -- a delegation visiting that it had a covert nuclear weapons program.

Doesn't that prove that negotiating with North Korea and working out a deal with them simply doesn't work, the deal worked out in the Clinton administration did not work?

BERGER: The plutonium program was frozen during a period from 1994 to 2002. Let's look at what's happened just in the last four years. They basically threw out the inspectors. They withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They have made reprocessed plutonium. They now, presumably, have made it into nuclear weapons.

All of these lines have been passed without the Bush administration taking any action except arguing about the shape of the table. So let's deal with the situation we have now. North Korea --

GIBSON: Once you know you can't trust them, what could you do?

BERGER: Well, right now, I think if they say they've blasted a nuclear bomb, we need to take them at face value. It's a serious act, and it requires serious consequences.

GIBSON: Sure, and I see that you're recommending the most serious kind of severe sanctions we could do. And then, if they ever come back to the table, we can negotiate with them.

I guess my point is, wasn't the experience when you were on the job and when the Clinton administration was dealing with this, didn't that prove to Bush and others that you can't trust them, that you make a deal with them and you just can't trust them?

BERGER: You absolutely cannot trust the North Koreans, John. I couldn't agree with that more, and any agreement that we would reach with the North Koreans would have to be accompanied by verification, international supervision.

GIBSON: So here we are. What do we do?

BERGER: Right now, it seems to me we need to convince the North Koreans that if it wants to pursue this course of action, it has serious consequences. To do that, we have to persuade the Chinese, the Japanese, and the South Koreans to join us in punitive sanctions against the North.

GIBSON: Isn't that what we are doing?

BERGER: We are moving in that direction, although I take it, from the White House today, we are trying to play down what happened over the weekend. I think we should be taking this seriously. We should be going to the United Nations, we should be persuading the Japanese, the Chinese, and the South Koreans to join us in economic and other kinds of sanctions --

GIBSON: Would you --

BERGER: -- to convince the -- go ahead.

GIBSON: Would you, once again, Mr. Berger -- you know, looking back, would you make a deal with them in which we give them oil and we agree to give them a light-water reactor, or whatever it is they want, and trust them to not be secretly making nuke weapons on the side?

BERGER: We didn't give them any light-water reactor, because the agreement never reached that point. The fact is that they froze the plutonium -- we froze their plutonium program during the '90s. That came unglued during the Bush administration.

We need now to show the North Koreans that we are serious about this, to convince them that this course of action carries serious consequences. If we get back to a negotiating position with the North Koreans, it cannot be based on trust. It has to be based on verification.

GIBSON: Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser. Mr. Berger, thank you very much for coming on.

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