In today's Washington Post on page A04, staff reporters R. Jeffrey Smith and Jo Becker penned this headline: "Library Missing Roberts File"
The headline, and the first paragraph, were seemingly written to set the tone of possible file theft by the Bush Administration:
"A file folder containing papers from Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s work on affirmative action more than 20 years ago disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library after its review by two lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department in July, according to officials at the library and the National Archives and Records Administration."
Senators Edward Kennedy and Patrick Leahy wasted little time in calling for investigations.
Yet, the very next sentence reports: "Archivists said the lawyers returned the file but it now cannot be located." Further on, Sharon Fawcett, the assistant archivist for presidential libraries, says: "we are quite confident that the records were returned to us" and adds it is "very difficult to believe it's anyone other than ourselves responsible for this loss."
The reporters own conclusion? "the folder was evidently lost later when all of the Roberts documents were transferred to new, acid-free folders and reorganized in anticipation of their disclosure to the Senate and news media."
The last time the terms "archive" and "missing" were part of the national conversation, it was in relation to the theft of them by President Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger.
"Missing" files, or a case of lost or misplaced files due to the Reagan Archives housekeeping and reorganization? The Washington Post leads with the former in hopes that you won't read on to discover the latter.