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Kerry/Clinton Aide Steals 9/11 Documents


duke37
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Well.... It's still at least a couple of logical leaps to conclude Berger "stole" the files to coverup for Clinton administration failings dealing with terrorism. Until shown otherwise I'm willing to believe it could be an honest mistake. And I'm no fan of Sandy Berger.

 

What will be interesting is how the Kerry campaign chooses to handle this story. Do they fight it hard? Or do they throw him overboard at the first sign of trouble? Of course they could "back him 1000 percent" and then dump him a few days later. Things like this happen in every administration and it will be a good point of reference on how Kerry will govern (or misgovern) as President.

 

Jeff

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>Well.... It's still at least a couple of logical leaps to

>conclude Berger "stole" the files to coverup for Clinton

>administration failings dealing with terrorism. Until shown

>otherwise I'm willing to believe it could be an honest

>mistake.

 

Oh, absolutely, I think it's totally commonplace for people to be sitting in a secured reading room, reviewing documents stamped TOP SECRET in connection with a Federal Commission investigating the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil, and just accidentally slip some of those documents into their jacket before leaving. People can be so absent-minded!

 

And it's not like those documents that he "accidentally" pilfered were incriminating of him and were ones that he would want to conceal or anything.

 

Oh wait! That's exactly what they were. But I'm sure that's just a big coincidence - that the TOP SECRET documents that he unintentionally slipped into his jacket just happened to be the very documents which illustrated the Clinton Administration's abject failure with regard to responding to terrorist attacks. Total coincidence!

 

By the way, if you read the article I posted, it quotes "Sandy" Berger as admitting that he knowingly took some of those documents, so not even he is shameless enough to try to invoke the defenese which you are invoking for him.

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Sander "Sandy" Berger -- former Clinton National Security Adviser and current Kerry National Security aide -- stole highly classified documents from the 9/11 Commission which just-oh-so-coincidentally happened to be highly critical of the Clinton Administration's handling of terrorist threats (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&u=/ap/20040720/ap_on_re_us/sept__11_berger_probe_2&printer=1).

 

It's hard to imagine a more serious crime than this - stealing classified documents from the 9/11 Commission in order to prevent them from finding out what happened - I'd like to know if John Kerry knew about this and/or directed it.

 

And oh, by the way - Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 is having the huge impact that all of you predicted! The latest daily tracking poll by the highly respected Rasmussen Reports shows Bush with a 47-45% lead over Kerry, and more revealingly, shows that Americans trust Bush to protect national security more than they trust Kerry by a 51-44% margin -- http://www.RasmussenReports.com. LOL! Let's hear some more "AMENS!" from that liberal choir as your obese leftist Priest preaches to you.

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Guest zipperzone

>Oh, absolutely, I think it's totally commonplace for people

>to be sitting in a secured reading room, reviewing documents

>stamped TOP SECRET in connection with a Federal Commission

>investigating the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil,

>and just accidentally slip some of those documents into their

>jacket before leaving. People can be so absent-minded!

 

The report I heard on CNN this am inferred that the document(s) in question were "stuffed into his sock". That being the case, it was obviously a "mistake" as he just happened to be holding them in his hand when he bent down to scratch his ankle.

 

A slightly different use of a sock - I thought they were used to stuff into the crotch of tight jeans to enhance the bulge of those so challanged.

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Ok, He's a petty scumbag with something to hide. You win the point. I do however find it funny to imagine him furtively shoving it in his socks. Oh, for a hidden camera expose. lol

 

But I stand by my second point which is that it will be darn informative to watch how the Kerry campaign and the candidate himself will handle this flap. So far Kerry has pretty much been able to stonewall any criticism of people he associates with. How long until he boots Berger? And you almost have to think he will be forced to distance himself from him somehow.

 

Jeff

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i was told that berger not only accidently took the documents but somehow accidently destroyed them as well!!! can you hear the press screaming if this was a bush official who took documents that were critical of the administration and destroyed them?

 

what i want to know is what the documents were and what they said that could be so damaging to the clinton administration (and berger) that this accident happened. i would like to see a push by all the media on this issue. was he doing this to protect his reputation or doing this for someone else? were more people involved? will there be criminal charges brought? will mr berger drive out to a park and shoot himself?

 

my personal opinion is that both the current bush administration and the clinton administration were lax on terrorism. 9-11 was a great wake up call for me. during the clinton years the various attacks seemed so far removed from my reality they seemed like a footnote. hind sight proves otherwise. i have written here that one needs the clearity of time before judging an administration and always used the truman years as an example. i always felt that we were too close to the clinton years to make major judgements. during those years, i do not recall major pro or con arguments on clinton and what he was doing or not doing to fight terror. i recall fights on free trade and welfare reform; i recall health care (with hillary) being a major issue. monica fills alot of memories, but not terror debates.

 

it maybe that the clinton years will best be known by historians as the years that let terrorism get a "pass" so it could take root to do its damage latter. viewed through the prism of time, things do change. we will need the same type of perspective on the bush years to see what really mattered.

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>And it's not like those documents that he "accidentally"

>pilfered were incriminating of him and were ones that he would

>want to conceal or anything.

>

>Oh wait! That's exactly what they were.

 

Now the FBI has another criminal case to investigate -- who leaked the contents of the documents to Doug.

 

It's heartening to know that the best shot the Limbaugh Loonies can take at Kerry, is that someone who worked for Clinton ended up with some paperwork from last decade that he had a clearance to read anyway. Of course along with 4000 other people, Berger has occasionally advised the Kerry campaign on national security matters. What was the name of that former Treasury secretary, who walked out with a CD full of documents that didn't belong to him? As I recall, Cheney was his former adviser. More specifically, Cheney advised him to eat shit and die, when he pointed out the country was headed for bankruptcy.

 

I bet by tomorrow we have a doctored photo showing Kerry somewhere within 50 feet of Berger.

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Guest zipperzone

Does anyone else find it "strange" that this first surfaced in Oct of last year, but the flap is just starting now? Could it be that a certain political party thought they could gain some advantage if it was dragged out now?

 

Naw.......... that's way too far fetched!

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You really have to feel sorry for little Stepford Repiglicans like Doug. They are still so obsessed with Bill Clinton that they salivate like one of Pavlov's dogs any time the hint of scandal even remotely enters Clinton's orbit. They so desperately want Kerry to be Clinton because they miss their daily obsession. It helps them to ignore the corruption present in their own MisAdministration. Whether it's their willingness to embrace false intellignece that corroborated their neocon goal of invading Iraq without question, or falsifying reports on the increase of terrorism to show a decrease, or any of the other falsified reports to "back up" their corruption, or Karl Rove outing Valerie Plame to get back at Joe Wilson, or the collusion involved in Dick F'ing Cheney's secret energy commission, it helps good little Stepford Repiglicans like Doug to forget for a moment that they worship a Junta that is the most corrupt Administration to ever set foot in the White House period.

 

Note also how Doug has doesn't hesitate to personally insult Michael moore for being fat, yet another of the preprogrammed Reborglican talking points.

 

Shrub: No one in the Ministration has ever said there was a connection between Saddam and 9/11.

 

Condi Rice (from Farenheit): Yes, there is a connection between Iraq and what happened on 9/11.

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Ordinarily I get upset when I read a post similar to this that twists all the facts of the situation. But, in this case, the facts are so twisted it's hilarious!!

 

First, this investigation has gone on since last fall. Why is it news this week? Maybe because of the Democratic Convention or the 9/11 report? Anything to deflect bad news from the prez!!

 

Second, it seems the missing documents are COPIES of documents in the library or notes taken by Sandy Berger. It's the copies that are missing, not the documents themselves.

 

The most hilarious twisted item is the allegation that Sandy Berger stuffed the documents in his socks. This seems like the game of "telephone" - Sandy Berger has admitted to making the mistake of placing some document in his clothes, which has been reported as coat pocket, pants pocket, socks, crotch, up his ass (OK, I am getting sarcastic).

 

I totally agree this was a stupic mistake on Sandy Berger's part and is not good news for the Kerry Campaign. But, it's also a handy news item to leak to cover other bad news, such as July being the worst month for deaths of US personnel in Iraq, allegations of child rape at Abu Ghraib, etc, and the ongoing popularity of Fahrenheit 9/11.

 

 

>Sander "Sandy" Berger -- former Clinton National Security

>Adviser and current Kerry National Security aide -- stole

>highly classified documents from the 9/11 Commission which

>just-oh-so-coincidentally happened to be highly critical of

>the Clinton Administration's handling of terrorist threats

>(http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&u=/ap/20040720/ap_on_re_us/sept__11_berger_probe_2&printer=1).

>

>

>It's hard to imagine a more serious crime than this - stealing

>classified documents from the 9/11 Commission in order to

>prevent them from finding out what happened - I'd like to know

>if John Kerry knew about this and/or directed it.

>

>And oh, by the way - Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 is having

>the huge impact that all of you predicted! The latest daily

>tracking poll by the highly respected Rasmussen Reports shows

>Bush with a 47-45% lead over Kerry, and more revealingly,

>shows that Americans trust Bush to protect national

>security more than they trust Kerry by a 51-44% margin --

>http://www.RasmussenReports.com. LOL! Let's hear some more "AMENS!"

>from that liberal choir as your obese leftist Priest preaches

>to you.

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>First, this investigation has gone on since last fall. Why is

>it news this week? Maybe because of the Democratic Convention

>or the 9/11 report? Anything to deflect bad news from the

>prez!!

 

FROM INSTAPUDNIT.COM:

 

READER MICHAEL GREENSPAN makes this obvious, but important, point regarding the Sandy Berger story:

 

Democrats are "questioning the timing of the report" of the Berger investigation. But no matter when the story broke, Republicans would be accused of exploiting it to distract public attention from something -- Bush's National Guard service, the Democratic primaries, Abu Ghraib, continuing unrest in Iraq, the 9/11 commission, whatever might sit atop the anti-Bush hit parade that week.

 

>Second, it seems the missing documents are COPIES of documents

>in the library or notes taken by Sandy Berger. It's the

>copies that are missing, not the documents themselves.

 

This is far from established. It has been reported that the documents which are missing are originals, and no copies exist. That's the whole point of TOP SECRET documents- you don't have multiple copies floating around, since that sort of defeats the purpose of highly classified documents.

 

It appears that the documents which Sandy Berger stole are original drafts of the After-Action memorandum detailing the failures of the Clinton Administration's response to the Millenium Terrorist threat. If copies do exist - and nobody has confirmed that they do - it still leaves the question as to why Berger would try to steal the documents. If he did so thinking these were the only set, the fact that copies existed somewhere else hardly mitigates what he did.

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>You really have to feel sorry for little Stepford Repiglicans

>like Doug. They are still so obsessed with Bill Clinton that

>they salivate like one of Pavlov's dogs any time the hint of

>scandal even remotely enters Clinton's orbit.

 

NY TIMES headline on this story:

 

A Kerry Adviser Leaves the Race Over Missing Documents

 

From the story itself:

 

WASHINGTON, July 20 - Samuel R. Berger, the former national security adviser to President Bill Clinton, resigned abruptly Tuesday as a senior adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign after the disclosure that he had improperly removed classified material on terrorism from a secure government reading room last year.

......

For months, Mr. Berger has consulted regularly with Mr. Kerry on the Iraq war, Middle East relations, terrorism and other foreign policy matters, helping to formulate speeches, prepare op-ed articles and brief reporters on the candidate's positions, campaign officials said.

 

"Sandy Berger is my friend, and he has tirelessly served this nation with honor and distinction," Mr. Kerry said Tuesday in a statement. "I respect his decision to step aside as an adviser to the campaign until this matter is resolved objectively and fairly."

_____________________

 

This has nothing to do with Clinton. The criminal in question was a senior adviser on National Security to the Kerry campaign, and was frequently mentioned as Kerry's most likely Secretary of State. Legtimate questions exist as to whether he was acting at the behest of, or for the benefit of, the Kerry campaign. At the very least, the fact that a top Kerry National Security Aide got caught stealing Top Secret documents from the 9/11 Commission is devestating to the Kerry campaign, and he and you know it, hence your shrill rhetoric and attempt to defend the indefenisble.

 

The willingngess of Democrats to be so dismissive of this serious misconduct gives the lie to the hilarious spectacle over the last several months of the Democrats pretending - for the first time ever - to suddenly give a shit about classified information and covert operations as a means of attacking Bush politically.

 

Bush was already surpassing Kerry in the polls before this - and the little bounce from the Edwards pick had already completely disappeared. This incident exposes the true character of the Democrats - a willingness to defend the most corrupt behavior when perpetrated by Democrats (reminds one a lot of all those other "mishaps" which the Democrats had with documents - oops! Hillary just found a bunch of files that had been subpoeaned years earlier - oops! somehow FBI files on all of our political enemies accidentally ended up in the White House! - oops! the IRS keeps auditing people who criticize Clinton's policies. Gosh, what a weird series of coincidences!

 

Oops! Kerry's senior National Security Advisor stole documents documenting the abject failure of the Clinton Administration's counter-terrorism policies.

 

The game is up. Sandy Berger is going to prison, where so many of his colleagues belong. Stealing classified information in order to prevent the 9/11 Commission from finding out what really happened is truly despicable. And the true character of the Democrats - defending this criminal behavior - is being revealed.

 

And the more that happens - the louder the shrieking is becoming.

 

God, I fucking love it!!!!!!!!!!

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>The game is up. Sandy Berger is going to prison, where so

>many of his colleagues belong. Stealing classified

>information in order to prevent the 9/11 Commission from

>finding out what really happened is truly despicable. And the

>true character of the Democrats - defending this criminal

>behavior - is being revealed.

 

There you have it folks......straight from the horse's ass! Amazing how Doug must now claim to be able to read minds, since he has declared that Berger took the files for the purpose of preventing the 9/11 Commission from finding out what really happened. Of course, Doug was strangely silent when even Thomas Kean was chastising the White House for using every opportunity to obstruct the work of the Commission. For Doug, things are only criminal when performed by "liberals" or "Democrats".

>

>And the more that happens - the louder the shrieking is

>becoming.

>

>God, I fucking love it!!!!!!!!!!

 

If you love this, just wait till the Abu Ghraib video of kids being raped gets aired. I'm sure you'll be absolutely orgasmic about that.

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No matter which side of this you choose to be on, there is the underlying question of what actually happened. And behind that question is a host of background about the use of classified documents, which I for one was largely unaware of.

 

A helpful resource for this is Glenn Reynold's recent blog: http://instapundit.com/archives/016671.php

He's a law professor at the University of Tennessee, and has published on ethics in government. He seems to come from the conservative side of things. Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for this link.

 

He basically says that the golly-gee-whiz, I just made a little mistake defense is, to say the least, highly unlikely.

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>The game is up. Sandy Berger is going to prison, where so

>many of his colleagues belong. Stealing classified

>information in order to prevent the 9/11 Commission from

>finding out what really happened is truly despicable. And the

>true character of the Democrats - defending this criminal

>behavior - is being revealed.

>

>And the more that happens - the louder the shrieking is

>becoming.

>

>God, I fucking love it!!!!!!!!!!

 

And now that Doug's shrieking has died down (due no doubt to being on Reborglican sleep cycle now), we'll present some FACTS (as opposed to what you've been hearing from Karl Rove, the RNC, Faux News and Doug)

 

Berger With a Side of Secret Documents[/font size]

Is he a criminal or a klutz?

By Fred Kaplan

Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2004, at 3:40 PM PT

 

Is Samuel "Sandy" Berger a criminal, a pilferer, a sneak, or just clumsy?

 

Nearly a year ago, we just learned this week, Berger—who was President Clinton's national security adviser—removed some highly classified documents from the National Archives without permission and failed to find one or two of them when officials discovered they were missing and asked him to give them back.

 

Berger had been poring over hundreds of documents, at Clinton's request, in preparation for testimony before the 9/11 commission. This was legal and routine. The federal statute controlling the National Archives and Records Administration states, "The presidential records of a former president shall be available to such former president or his designated representative." Berger was the designee.

 

However, the statutes expressly forbid anyone from taking such documents out of the building.

 

Berger claims the removal was inadvertent. His lawyer, Larry Breuer, explained to CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Berger had brought a leather portfolio into the archives vault and, somehow, a couple of documents—including a copy of Richard Clarke's 15-page "millennium threat" report—got "enmeshed" in his own papers. Berger didn't know he was removing any documents. A month later, when archive officials told him the documents were missing, he returned most of them. At least one document was missing and may have been thrown away.

 

A few questions come to mind:

 

How typical was Berger's action—or, depending how you see it, his lapse? Did it have any impact on the 9/11 commission's investigation? Did he swipe the document for political purposes? Could the act have damaged national security? Whatever the motives or impact, was the act criminal?

 

First, was it typical? Many former officials—even if their security clearances have long expired—obtain permission to enter the vaults and read classified documents dealing with matters from their heyday. They do this not only to prepare for official investigations, as Berger did in this case, but also to research their memoirs. Two U.S. archivists, who asked not to be identified, told me that they don't know of any cases in which ex-officials sneak documents home (and sneak them back in) but that they'd be surprised if it never happened.

 

In this respect, some of the recent news accounts are just odd. A few stories noted that archive officials saw Berger stuffing documents in his pants pocket, jacket pocket, and even in his socks. This seems unlikely. First, if these officials saw this going on, why didn't they report it or confront Berger directly at the time? Second, whenever anyone examines classified material in a vault at the National Archives, a security official watches what's going on all the time. Berger could not have surreptitiously tucked away some secret papers while nobody was looking. Third, the two U.S. archivists tell me that the archive's guards almost never inspect ex-officials' briefcases when they leave the vaults or the building. Berger had a portfolio for papers. Surely if he'd wanted to take some papers out, he could have stuffed them into it.Obviously the Faux News "odd" spin - Neal (Berger's lawyer said he'd put some notes in his pocket—more plausible, though also, it should be noted, improper. Section 202 of the National Archives' "Information Security Manual," which is not on the agency's Web site, states that anyone allowed access to the vaults must agree to "a review of his or her notes to make sure they do not contain classified information.")

 

Second, did this have any impact on the investigation? Did Berger (as at least one Republican charged) block the 9/11 commission from seeing any documents that might have been embarrassing to the Clinton administration? Clearly not. The commission saw everything, including the papers Berger was examining, well before Berger did. So much for Doug's shrill hiding evidence conspiracy theory

 

Third, Berger was an adviser to John Kerry's campaign. (He quit over this fracas.) Republicans are accusing him of swiping the documents and handing them to Kerry as political ammo. This makes no sense. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry could obtain the documents—which had also been supplied to the 9/11 commission—of his own accord. More than that, Kerry's chief national security adviser, Rand Beers, was a staff member of the National Security Council, working on terrorism, under Presidents Clinton and Bush. He saw these documents, probably helped write some of them; he could certainly tell Kerry about them.

 

Fourth, could the removal have affected national security? This question does raise genuine, if somewhat abstract, issues. Officials have been known to drop secret documents in public places. One could imagine Berger stopping off at a bookstore on the way home, setting the portfolio down, then forgetting about it—especially if he really is as disorganized as his lawyer suggests. This is why rules on unauthorized removal of classified documents exist. Berger isn't a security risk, but some stranger at the bookstore—or someone riffling through his garbage cans (if Berger really did throw the documents away)—might be.

 

Fourth, in any case, was the removal illegal? Breuer told CNN, "He knew it was a violation of archive procedure. It's not against the law."

 

Well, that's not quite the case. As Breuer acknowledged, the Justice Department has been investigating the incident since October. It seems highly unlikely that the probe will lead anywhere. But if John Ashcroft is determined to indict Berger on the matter, there are statutes he could cite.

 

Most pertinent is Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 793: "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information." Much of this law deals with the intentional dissemination of classified materials that the violator knows could endanger national security. But it deals with less willful sins as well. For example, there's subsection (f).

 

Subsection (f) pertains to anyone "entrusted with, or having lawful possession or control" of, a document, photo, plan, map, or any other information "relating to the national defense." If this person, "through gross negligence, permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody … or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed," he or she "shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both."

 

This isn't some technicality of which Berger could claim ignorance. Anyone (including a presidential designee) who wants access to the secret archives must sign Standard Form 312, a "classified information non-disclosure agreement," which clearly states that failure to follow regulations may violate 18 U.S.C. 793.

 

So, under a viciously strict reading of this statute, Sandy Berger could go to jail for 10 years.

 

The odds are extremely slim that even a politically vindictive attorney general would push the matter this far. For one thing, there's the key phrase "through gross negligence." It is not at all clear that this phrase describes Berger's action. Breuer's explanation—that the documents got "enmeshed" in his private papers—isn't entirely implausible; certainly it falls within the shadow of a reasonable doubt. For another, there's no evidence and not the slightest reason to believe that Berger passed the documents to anyone unauthorized to see them. Although that's not an explicit criterion for enforcing the law, it's hard to imagine a prosecutor, judge, or jury imposing its penalties on someone who was, arguably, merely careless.

 

So, what does this amount to? At minimum, a stupid, careless act. It is conceivable that Berger deliberately slipped the papers into his portfolio so that, say, he could have a chance to read them more carefully at home. It is also conceivable—though less so—that he accidentally mixed the archive's papers into his own. (If he did mix them by mistake, he almost certainly would have spotted them before a month had passed, and in such cases, 18 U.S.C. 793(f) requires a "prompt report" of the removal.)

 

Either way, two things are clear:

 

First, this whole to-do should have no bearing on the presidential campaign; the leaking of the Justice Department investigation reveals a desperation on the part of the White House or the Republican National Committee to enmesh Clinton and Kerry in a cloud of blame just before the release of the 9/11 commission's report.

 

Second, Sandy Berger should forget about being appointed to a national security post ever again.

 

Poor little Repiglicans, thinking something like this that has nothing to do with John kerry personally will distract the American people from the steady stream of illegal Bushit coming out of the Junta's Oval office

 

http://slate.msn.com/id/2104138/

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Nick - thanks for the update.

 

One other detail - I've heard several reports state that the missing documents are copies of the original documents. So, if there are no documents actually missing, how could this be a conspiracy to hide information from anyone?

 

I totally agree this was a major blunder on the part of Sandy Berger. I also think it's a handy topic to discuss, rather than the actual 9/11 report, the number of US personnel killed in Iraq has hit the 900 person mark, unaccounted for funds during the CPA's administration in Iraq, etc.

 

>And now that Doug's shrieking has died down (due no doubt to

>being on Reborglican sleep cycle now), we'll present some

>FACTS (as opposed to what you've been hearing from Karl Rove,

>the RNC, Faux News and Doug)

>

>Berger With a Side of Secret Documents[/font

>size]

>Is he a criminal or a klutz?

>By Fred Kaplan

>Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2004, at 3:40 PM PT

>

>Is Samuel "Sandy" Berger a criminal, a pilferer, a sneak, or

>just clumsy?

>

>Nearly a year ago, we just learned this week, Berger—who was

>President Clinton's national security adviser—removed some

>highly classified documents from the National Archives without

>permission and failed to find one or two of them when

>officials discovered they were missing and asked him to give

>them back.

>

>Berger had been poring over hundreds of documents, at

>Clinton's request, in preparation for testimony before the

>9/11 commission. This was legal and routine. The federal

>statute controlling the National Archives and Records

>Administration states, "The presidential records of a former

>president shall be available to such former president or his

>designated representative." Berger was the designee.

>

>However, the statutes expressly forbid anyone from taking such

>documents out of the building.

>

>Berger claims the removal was inadvertent. His lawyer, Larry

>Breuer, explained to CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Berger had

>brought a leather portfolio into the archives vault and,

>somehow, a couple of documents—including a copy of Richard

>Clarke's 15-page "millennium threat" report—got "enmeshed" in

>his own papers. Berger didn't know he was removing any

>documents. A month later, when archive officials told him

>the documents were missing, he returned most of them. At least

>one document was missing and may have been thrown away.

>

>A few questions come to mind:

>

>How typical was Berger's action—or, depending how you see it,

>his lapse? Did it have any impact on the 9/11 commission's

>investigation? Did he swipe the document for political

>purposes? Could the act have damaged national security?

>Whatever the motives or impact, was the act criminal?

>

>First, was it typical? Many former officials—even if their

>security clearances have long expired—obtain permission to

>enter the vaults and read classified documents dealing with

>matters from their heyday. They do this not only to prepare

>for official investigations, as Berger did in this case, but

>also to research their memoirs. Two U.S. archivists, who asked

>not to be identified, told me that they don't know of any

>cases in which ex-officials sneak documents home (and sneak

>them back in) but that they'd be surprised if it never

>happened.

>

>In this respect, some of the recent news accounts are just

>odd. A few stories noted that archive officials saw Berger

>stuffing documents in his pants pocket, jacket pocket, and

>even in his socks. This seems unlikely. First, if these

>officials saw this going on, why didn't they report it or

>confront Berger directly at the time? Second, whenever anyone

>examines classified material in a vault at the National

>Archives, a security official watches what's going on all the

>time. Berger could not have surreptitiously tucked away some

>secret papers while nobody was looking. Third, the two U.S.

>archivists tell me that the archive's guards almost never

>inspect ex-officials' briefcases when they leave the vaults or

>the building. Berger had a portfolio for papers. Surely if

>he'd wanted to take some papers out, he could have stuffed

>them into it.Obviously the Faux News "odd" spin - Neal

> (Berger's lawyer said he'd put some notes in his

>pocket—more plausible, though also, it should be noted,

>improper. Section 202 of the National Archives' "Information

>Security Manual," which is not on the agency's Web site,

>states that anyone allowed access to the vaults must agree to

>"a review of his or her notes to make sure they do not contain

>classified information.")

>

>Second, did this have any impact on the investigation? Did

>Berger (as at least one Republican charged) block the 9/11

>commission from seeing any documents that might have been

>embarrassing to the Clinton administration? Clearly not. The

>commission saw everything, including the papers Berger was

>examining, well before Berger did. So much for Doug's

>shrill hiding evidence conspiracy theory

>

>Third, Berger was an adviser to John Kerry's campaign. (He

>quit over this fracas.) Republicans are accusing him of

>swiping the documents and handing them to Kerry as political

>ammo. This makes no sense. As a member of the Senate

>Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry could obtain the

>documents—which had also been supplied to the 9/11

>commission—of his own accord. More than that, Kerry's chief

>national security adviser, Rand Beers, was a staff member of

>the National Security Council, working on terrorism, under

>Presidents Clinton and Bush. He saw these documents, probably

>helped write some of them; he could certainly tell Kerry about

>them.

>

>Fourth, could the removal have affected national security?

>This question does raise genuine, if somewhat abstract,

>issues. Officials have been known to drop secret documents in

>public places. One could imagine Berger stopping off at a

>bookstore on the way home, setting the portfolio down, then

>forgetting about it—especially if he really is as disorganized

>as his lawyer suggests. This is why rules on unauthorized

>removal of classified documents exist. Berger isn't a security

>risk, but some stranger at the bookstore—or someone riffling

>through his garbage cans (if Berger really did throw the

>documents away)—might be.

>

>Fourth, in any case, was the removal illegal? Breuer told CNN,

>"He knew it was a violation of archive procedure. It's not

>against the law."

>

>Well, that's not quite the case. As Breuer acknowledged, the

>Justice Department has been investigating the incident since

>October. It seems highly unlikely that the probe will lead

>anywhere. But if John Ashcroft is determined to indict Berger

>on the matter, there are statutes he could cite.

>

>Most pertinent is Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 793:

>"Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information." Much

>of this law deals with the intentional dissemination of

>classified materials that the violator knows could endanger

>national security. But it deals with less willful sins as

>well. For example, there's subsection (f).

>

>Subsection (f) pertains to anyone "entrusted with, or having

>lawful possession or control" of, a document, photo, plan,

>map, or any other information "relating to the national

>defense." If this person, "through gross negligence, permits

>the same to be removed from its proper place of custody … or

>to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed," he or she

>"shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than

>10 years, or both."

>

>This isn't some technicality of which Berger could claim

>ignorance. Anyone (including a presidential designee) who

>wants access to the secret archives must sign Standard Form

>312, a "classified information non-disclosure agreement,"

>which clearly states that failure to follow regulations may

>violate 18 U.S.C. 793.

>

>So, under a viciously strict reading of this statute, Sandy

>Berger could go to jail for 10 years.

>

>The odds are extremely slim that even a politically vindictive

>attorney general would push the matter this far. For one

>thing, there's the key phrase "through gross negligence." It

>is not at all clear that this phrase describes Berger's

>action. Breuer's explanation—that the documents got "enmeshed"

>in his private papers—isn't entirely implausible; certainly it

>falls within the shadow of a reasonable doubt. For another,

>there's no evidence and not the slightest reason to believe

>that Berger passed the documents to anyone unauthorized to see

>them. Although that's not an explicit criterion for enforcing

>the law, it's hard to imagine a prosecutor, judge, or jury

>imposing its penalties on someone who was, arguably, merely

>careless.

>

>So, what does this amount to? At minimum, a stupid, careless

>act. It is conceivable that Berger deliberately slipped the

>papers into his portfolio so that, say, he could have a chance

>to read them more carefully at home. It is also

>conceivable—though less so—that he accidentally mixed the

>archive's papers into his own. (If he did mix them by mistake,

>he almost certainly would have spotted them before a month had

>passed, and in such cases, 18 U.S.C. 793(f) requires a "prompt

>report" of the removal.)

>

>Either way, two things are clear:

>

>First, this whole to-do should have no bearing on the

>presidential campaign; the leaking of the Justice

>Department investigation reveals a desperation on the part of

>the White House or the Republican National Committee to enmesh

>Clinton and Kerry in a cloud of blame just before the release

>of the 9/11 commission's report.

>

>Second, Sandy Berger should forget about being appointed to a

>national security post ever again.

>

>Poor little Repiglicans, thinking something like this that

>has nothing to do with John kerry personally will distract the

>American people from the steady stream of illegal Bushit

>coming out of the Junta's Oval office

>

>http://slate.msn.com/id/2104138/

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Everyone seems to assume that it is the Republicans who started this through a leak.

 

But consider some other possibilities. Especially since the whole Democratic choir from coast to coast was singing off the same page within approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes: The perfidious Republicans leaked this to distract the nation from the high purpose and manifest virtue of JFK/JE and their own unavoidable, irredeemable, indeed, probably congenital wickedness.

 

1) Clinton is quoted as saying that when "we" learned of Berger's little escapade some time ago, "we all" just laughed out loud, thinking of how messy Sandy's desk was. Well, here we have a sense that more than one of the people in the Clinton circle knew of this. It is not a state secret that, while the Clintons would clearly prefer the Democrats to do well this fall, there would be few tears if Kerry lost on his own, as the way would be clearer for Hilary's White House run. And so, a Kerry advisor takes the fall, to the embarrassment of the campaign.

 

2) What if, just perhaps, a Bergerphobic Democrat, say Richard Holbrooke, Berger's main competition for Sec. of State, let this amusing little cat out of the bag? A second path to power cleared of a little underbrush.

 

3) Or perhaps your basic mid-level Democratic operative, raised in the dirty-tricks school of politics so dear to the James Carvilles of this world, just places a little phone call, deep-throat style. The reasoning? Things like this rarely remain secret forever, and Better now than late October, would be the justifications if found out.

 

At any rate, since this is a parlor game at the moment, let's not concede the board to one team alone. There's fun folks on both sides!

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The one thing missing is that whether these are copies or originals makes no difference as to security classification. Copies are classified the same as the original and must be numbered and page numbered. Any notes taken from going over the documents also take their classification from the documents until reclassified by someone who has authority over the documents.

 

The part that bothers me about all this is that when you are working with classified docs, especially docs like these that are code word classified and are therefore way beyond Top Secret Crypto, you have to sign for receipt of them and when you leave the installation you have to return them and sign that you have returned them. In addition it is very rare that anyone would be allowed to take a portfolio in there with you. If you did that and any coats and jacket pockets also should be searched before leaving and any papers also should be checked. The fact that he got the documents out tells me that someone fell down on the job. The further fact that he did this on more than one occasion (he returned the original docs when asked about them except for the ones he "inadvertently" destroyed) and then he went back and got more docs is really scary as to how he got away with this.

 

The other point is that there is a methodology for destroying code word classified docs in the laws unless this has changed a lot and I doubt if it has changed much. It used to be that you had to shred the docs, then feed the shredded docs to a confetti maker, then double bag, seal and sign the bags with the confetti. These bags were then taken under armed guard to special incinerators where they were fed and signed to be fed into the incinerator. Once they were burned you had to sift the ashes to insure that the whole thing was completely burned and sign that you had done that. These signed copies were then filed along with a list of the documents that you burned. I can't see that Berger did this with the "inadvertent" destruction of docs so that is a further black mark, copies or not.

 

This whole mess brings up so many questions and there are so many holes in what actually happened that I don't know where this will all lead. One additional question is that despite Berger stating that the 9/11 Commission got all the docs they asked for, what about docs that they didn't know about that should have been checked. Also if these were drafts of a final document, it might be worthwhile to see what made the cut for the final document and what in the future might be vital info and didn't make the cut. The whole thought process of producing a Millenial Plan for the security of borders, seaports, river ports, airports, other transportation facilities, etc could be a vitally important research doc in the future and all the parts that went to make up the whole would also be important.

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rhomp2002,

 

Your explanation and clarification of working with classified documents is consistent with my experience. In addition, my rumor mill indicates that his "theft" took place over a period of time.

 

There were suspicions that he took documents and, prior to his next visit, some documents were marked. When the marked documents were not returned, the FBI executed a search warrant and found some of the marked documents in his possession.

 

I think it's important to point out that we're not just talking about Top Secret documents here. These were code word documents with a higher security classification than that assigned to our nuclear weapons program.

 

What he did was a MAJOR security violation. If I had made this same "mistake" I'd currently be in a federal prison awaiting prosecution. His actions are no less damning that those of recent spies, such as Walker and Hansen, who are currently behind bars.

 

IMO, his breach of security is on the same level as spying. And, there's no question that he was fully aware and informed of his responsibilities before being granted a clearance. He has broken the rules and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Unfortunately, this can only benefit Bush and is a major blow to Democrats. I'm glad he's no longer with the Kerry camp because he'd only hurt the campaign.

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the democratic party should run berger out of town; it angers me he told clinton months ago but failed to tell kerry! was he blind to the danger of not telling kerry? from the beginning, he should have told kerry first. clinton should have told kerry as well when he saw kerry keeping berger as an advisor (if clinton assumed berger told kerry, too, he should have advised him to avoid "the hot potato" or if clinton felt berger did not tell kerry, it was his duty to warn him of the political danger).someone should have had the brains to warn kerry.

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Let's see, why are these documents so important? Because they might show the American people the failures, as well as the successes of the Clinton Administration. So why is everyone so upset about Berger taking them? Because they are classified and confidential and no one is supposed to see them.

 

OK, I get it now.

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Your snide comments are missing the point totally. These documents, if they are the Millenial inspection of seaports, airports, etc, were to be used to develop a total security system (really part of the Homeland Security System) and for that reason they are classified and code word classified at that. If a terrorist got hold of this kind of information it would tell him exactly how he could work it so his terroristic activiies would work just the way he intended them to.

 

I mentioned above that the chart of the differences in the draft of this kind of document would show the thought processes that went into the final document. In addition a point that I missed was that if people read the documents and made comments on them, those comments also might show the thought processes involved. The whole thing is a total mess and Berger of all people should be aware of the potential problems involved here.

 

These things are not classified code word just for the hell of it. There are reasons for that and definite procedures for handling the documents and also definite procedures for declassifying them. If you have the top code word classification, it could really take over 50 years for the classification to work its way down.

 

This is not a small problem. This is a real problem for Berger, the Democrats, the National Archive and anyone else who is responsible for the security of the country, particularly if Berger in his "inadvertent" destruction of the documents he lost really did not destroy them and they fell into the wrong hands.

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> These

>documents, if they are the Millenial inspection of seaports,

>airports, etc, were to be used to develop a total security

>system (really part of the Homeland Security System) and for

>that reason they are classified and code word classified at

>that. If a terrorist got hold of this kind of information it

>would tell him exactly how he could work it so his terroristic

>activiies would work just the way he intended them to.

 

I'm not sure what right-wing media reports you are relying on for that conclusion about the contents, but I think we need to do something about that new Michael Moore movie, which has a lengthy segment on how unprotected the Oregon seacoast is. A smart terrorist could land there, head across the country to Sandy Berger's house, and break in to find any secret documents that might have been written five years ago at Berger's request. A really smart terrorist might just kidnap Berger himself and make him talk -- but there aren't any really smart terrorists, are there?

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