Sandy Berger stashed classified documents under a construction trailer

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The inspector-general for the National Archives has just released a report detailing what former National Security Advisor under President Clinton Sandy Berger did with those highly classified documents he was caught taking from the National Archives. Josh Gerstein at the NY Sun reports:

A former national security adviser to President Clinton, Samuel Berger, stashed highly classified documents under a trailer in downtown Washington in order to evade detection by National Archives personnel, a government report released yesterday said.

The report from the inspector-general for the National Archives, Paul Brachfeld, said Mr. Berger executed the cloak-and-dagger maneuver in October 2003 while taking a break from reviewing Clinton-era documents in connection with the work of the so-called September 11 commission.

” Mr. Berger exited the archive onto Pennsylvania Avenue,” the report says, recounting the story the former national security chief told investigators. “He did not want to run the risk of bringing the documents back in the building. … He headed toward a construction area on 9th Street. Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the archives and the DOJ, and did not see anyone. He removed the documents from his pockets, folded the notes in a ‘V’ shape, and inserted the documents in the center. He walked inside the construction fence and slid the documents under a trailer.”

According to the report, Mr. Berger said he retrieved the documents after leaving the archives complex for the evening and took the papers to his office. It is not clear how long the documents were unattended at the construction site, but the report suggests it was a few hours, at most.

The former national security chief said he cut three documents up in his office and discarded them in the trash. Mr. Berger returned two other documents after archivists notified him that some records were missing, but his efforts to retrieve the others from the trash collector were unsuccessful.

[…]

All five documents Mr. Berger removed were versions of an after-action report about the foiled “millennium plot” to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport and other sites. The internal review, by a top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, reportedly found that luck was the major factor in disrupting the plot and that more attacks were likely.

Mr. Berger has admitted placing classified documents and his notes, which were also presumed classified pending a review, into his suit pockets to carry them out of the archives. However, the inspector general’s report resurrects claims that Mr. Berger may have removed some papers by placing them in his socks.

An archives staffer reported that Mr. Berger took frequent bathroom breaks and was seen in a hallway “bent down, fiddling with something white, which could have been paper, around his ankle.”

The revelation of all these details makes Berger’s slap on the wrist last year all the more appalling:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger was sentenced Thursday to community service and probation and fined $50,000 for illegally removing highly classified documents from the National Archives and intentionally destroying some of them.

Berger must perform 100 hours of community service and pay the fine as well as $6,905 for the administrative costs of his two-year probation, a district court judge ruled.

NR Managing Editor Jay Nordingler writes:

Call me a right-wing paranoid – it’s been done before! – but I think that, if Sandy Berger were a conservative Republican, the story of his criminality would be a really, really big deal.

Indeed, it would. Can you imagine if Condi Rice had been caught walking out of the National Archives with highly classified documents? There would be blood-curdling screams of “JUSTICE NOW!!!” from the usual suspects demanding to know what “secrets” the oh so secretive Bush admin were trying to hide. As it stands, this story barely even gets a mention from the NYT, as they use the AP wire service’s report on it instead of writing their own (as Scott Johnson notes).

Almost everytime I blog about something related to Bill Clinton or his administration I get emails from liberals telling me to “get over” my “obsession” with Bill Clinton – “he’s not president!” they say. No, he’s not, but the fact that he’s not president anymore doesn’t make what he and/or anyone in his administration say or do now off limits for discussion. Sandy Berger stole highly classified documents from the National Archives by stuffing them in his pants and socks and hiding them under a construction trailer. Whether they were copies or not doesn’t matter (again, via Nordlinger):

It could be that Berger performed a real service in stealing and deep-sixing documents – that is, a service to the Clinton administration. (I warned you this would be a paranoid item.) Berger’s lawyer – remember Lanny Breuer, of Lewinsky fame? – says there’s no need to fret: The 9/11 Commission received all the documents it should have; Berger deprived the commission, and therefore the nation, of nothing.

Tom Davis, the Republican congressman – and chairman of the House Government Reform Committee – isn’t so sure. Here’s what he says: “There is absolutely no way to determine if Berger swiped [certain] original documents. Consequently, there is no way to ever know if the 9/11 Commission received all required materials.”

Where’s the outrage?

I will never forget Bill Clinton’s response when he found out what Berger had done:

In an interview with the Denver Post, Clinton stuck to the most “innocent explanation,” that Berger’s just a slob. “We were all laughing about it on the way over here,” he told the paper. “People who don’t know him might find it hard to believe. But … all of us who’ve been in his office have always found him buried beneath papers.”

Yeah, I find it very hard to believe. In fact, impossible to believe. You don’t take and then hide classified national security documents in your pants and under a construction trailer for no reason.

I’ll never forget this picture, either:

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil, do nothing about evil
The Clinton approach to terrorism: Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil, do nothing about evil

IMO, the real explanation is that Berger knew it was Clinton adminstration legacy time (in front of the 9-11 Commission), and he had to do what he needed to to preserve it. Berger, Richard Clarke, and Clinton all want Americans to believe that the millenium terrorist threat against LAX was thwarted because of Clinton admin counterterrorism policies. But we know otherwise.

Others blogging about this: Atlas Shrugs, Decision ’08, Greg Tinti, Dan Riehl, BCB, Leaning Straight Up, PCD blogging at Iowa Voice, Macsmind, USS Neverdock

Walkin’ in a winter wonderland …

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Seasonal linkage for your perusal:

—- If you are or will be attempting to travel to or from Denver over the next few days, I’m afraid you’re going to be SOL. See photos of a cold, wet, windy, and snowy Denver here.

—- So much for Allen Iverson’s debut with the Nuggets … the Suns/Nuggets game was postponed due to the bad weather there.

—- Speaking of cold, the MSM buzz is that the US economy is “cooling” while retailers are “uncertain” as to how merry Christmas may be.

—- It’s hard to believe but it’s true: two jerks have been arrested for repeatedly stabbing Frosty the Snowman. I’ve heard of LOW, but this is like lower than low – like lower than the gum on the bottom of your shoe. Why the hell would anyone want to stab Frosty?

—- Hot Air has video of a series of clips someone at YouTube did of Senator Obama on whether or not he will run for pres. As one commenter there said, it’s both funny AND scary. Here’s how the background song starts: “Run, they told me, pa rum pa pum pum.” It has a very Christmasy feel to it ;)

—- Another year with no white Christmas in Charlotte. :( One of these days, I’m gonna experience a real white Christmas even if I have to go to the mountains to do it.

—- It’s Christmas tree decorating time with Britney Spears! Just in time to make your holidays complete.

—- Did you hear about the “hunky” shirtless Santa? Some shoppers dig him, but I say save it for the beach, pal. THIS is what Santa is supposed to look like.

—- This story about a a “wrong number” Santa is cute:

A California man has been inundated with hundreds of calls from children who are trying to reach Santa Claus but dialed the wrong number, the Associated Press reports from Goleta, Calif.

“I just sit down by the fireplace and play Santa Claus,” John Dickinson said. “I’ll probably be playing Santa every year.”

Dickinson runs the santabarbara.com website and fields calls from people who dial 1-800-SANTABARBARA (1-800-726-8222). That number differs by one digit from 1-800-SANTACLAUS (1-800-726-8225).

About 100 children a day dial the wrong number.

“I’ve spent the last two weeks listening to what children want for Christmas. It’s been fun,” Dickinson said.

“The kids are real serious, and very specific,” he said. “They get right to the point. They say, ‘I want this, I want this, I want this.’ I always make sure they’ve been nice.”

:) Love it!

—- Just where the heck is the REAL Santa, anyway? Track his whereabouts here. Santa’s gone cyber, by the way, and you and/or your kids can send him an email here. Gotta love technology!

—- Lastly, for discussion purposes, are you a last minute shopper or are you one who gets your shopping done in a timely manner? I’m done. I just cannot deal with Charlotte Christmas traffic and the other shoppers so I like to get done early.

Cross-posted at Iowa Voice, where I and a few other bloggers are helping out Brian while he’s out of town

Slow loading site

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Apologies for the slow loading time for the site that you may have been experiencing over the last couple of days. I’ve just now been able to log in to my site this morning and see the front page and dashboard to my admin controls.

I’ve contacted my blog hosting service to find out what’s going on. Rick Moran, who uses the same hosting service I do, mentioned a couple of days ago at his site that the slow loading time had something to do with a DOS attack at our host’s server so maybe that’s still ongoing. I’m trying to find out if that’s still the issue today or if there is something else going on.

PM Update 1:35 PM: Looks like we’re back in business again and the site should be loading normally now.