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July 19, 2004

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Captain Ed

I'd agree with the "good intentions" argument, Tom ... except for the part where he hid the notes in his pants. That, to me, demonstrates clearly an intent to deceive.

DCRob

I think it's refreshing that a Clinton Administration official is in trouble for what he put INTO his pants.

The Kid

Look at the later AP story – why did the National Archives folks call Bruce Lindsey?

Were there not local security folks available? Could they not have shouted, “Hey, buddy, is that a highly classified millennium terrorist report in your pants or are you just happy to be testifying before the 9/11 commission?”

amy

Yes , you have good point...makes me also think of the Senate Staffer who tooks doc of the Dems server ...that reavealed of course the Senate Judicial shenanigans...isn't this similar? Will look for Senate Rockafeller's outrage.

amy

sorry, RockEfeller

The Kid

I was confused about the location of the “secure reading room.” I now understand it to be at the National Archives, not in some offices dedicated to the 9/11 Commission, and Berger was reviewing documents requested by the 9/11 Commission, presumably to see if there was any document for which Clinton might want to invoke executive privilege. For that reason, the word “some” is not reassuring in the latest AP report:
The missing documents involve two or three draft versions of the report as it was evolving and being refined by the Clinton administration, officials and lawyers say. The Archives is believed to have copies of some of the missing documents.

I bring this up because Berger’s removal of the documents occurred in September / October during the 9/11 Commission’s data collection phase – the Berger-assisted/Lindsey-monitored Clinton testimony wasn’t given until spring 2004. If some documents are missing, the commission did not have a complete record of contemporaneous documents to carry on their vital work.

But Berger could not possibly have thought that he could alter the official record. He must have thought that he was getting copies as the article states.

OTOH, since he was at the National Archives, the repository of original official documents, he may have known that in some cases he was reviewing original documents, a few of which he may have inadvertently tucked into his shorts while attacking an itch in the reading room and later “accidentally discarded” while tidying up his business office. Yup, it’s easy to toss a document prominently marked SECRET/NO FOREIGN DISSEMINATION/FRUIT OF THE LOOM front and back into the trash.

At least his wife didn’t recommend him for this task.

That we know of.

Dustin

He destroyed incriminating information.

It's that simple.

No other copies of the stuff he destroyed probably exist. He would know if they did and not risk severe penalty pointlessly.

He hid the documents in a way that demonstrates he knew what he did was wrong. The nature of the documents (and the desperate measure) indicates that the wrongness is very wrong. is there is incrimination regarding 9/11, its obviously a very big deal.

Is any of what I have said a certain truth? No. But it's hard not to avoid those conclusions. This is a major development that will be underreported. Those who find out will be partisans already. It is getting frustrating. The morons who are undecided need to be educated.

Ernst Blofeld

My guess is that he was bootlegging the notes to pass to the Kerry campaign or Clinton factions it help with damage control. Suppose an issue about how Clinton handled the millenium plot comes up in the press. If the spinmeisters have the documents themselves, they're in a better position to fend off any attacks.

I don't think they'd keep the one and only single copies of documents in a reading room, so it doesn't make sense to think that he was trying to destroy evidence.

ed

Hmmm.

What's curious is that now it seems that two copies of the same document were either destroyed or thrown away. Anyone know if Sandy Berger is responsible for both?

Pouncer

I'm trying to remember if Fawn Hall was convicted and if so what penalty she paid...

TM

Apparently Fawn Hall got an immunity for testimony deal.

TM

A link to the AP story, which I think has been updated since last night to include David Gergen's comment:

David Gergen, who was an adviser to Clinton and worked with Berger for a time in the White House, said Tuesday, "I think it's more innocent than it looks."

Appearing on NBC's "Today" show, Gergen said, "I have known Sandy Berger for a long time. He would never do anything to compromise the security of the United States." Gergen said he thought that "it is suspicious" that word of the investigation of Berger would emerge just as the Sept. 11 commission is about to release its report, since "this investigation started months ago."

Yeah, yeah. We will put out, in our odd attempt to continue our parallel to the Plame leak, that Berger cooperated *after* he was caught.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Will we be reading a NY Times headline along the lines of: Kerry Adviser Stole Secret Documents?

spongeworthy

Berger was swiping the docs so he could study them at home and get his story straight. Or so he could, as Blofeld suggested, pass them along to the Kerry people.

Remember, these people can justify anything to themselves. Like Joe Wilson and his defenders--it's okay because Bush = Hitler and who wouldn't lie and steal to stop Hitler?

J Mann

Does anyone know details on the "documents in his pants" detail? I've heard that it was a couple post-its in his pants pockets, and that it was actual stapled documents. Obviously, there's a big difference.

The Kid

This is from the latest Fox News-enhanced AP report:
Former President Clinton's national security adviser is under criminal investigation for taking highly classified terrorism documents that should have been turned over to the independent commission probing the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, FOX News has confirmed.

Sandy Berger (search) is under scrutiny by the Justice Department (search) following the disappearance of documents he was reviewing at the National Archives.
[SNIP]
However, some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of Al Qaeda terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are still missing, officials and lawyers said. Officials said the missing documents also identified America's terror vulnerabilities at airports to seaports.

Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.
[SNIP]
Breuer said Berger was allowed to take handwritten notes but also knew that taking his own notes out of the secure reading room was a "technical violation of Archive procedures, but it is not all clear to us this represents a violation of the law."

So he took documents “that should have been turned over to the independent commission.” That means that the commission’s work may be flawed; it did not have all the information it should have had. It’s fortunate that this comes out now, they still have a few days to get the report right.

The Kid

It could have been a left-wing conspiracy.

I actually don’t believe that, but I was wondering what Berger had been up to recently.

Of late Berger was a key player in putting together the Democrat platform and defanging the far left. According to this report, Tim Carpenter (Kucinich's convention coordinator):
takes pride in some fresh compromise language about to be added to the platform, a sentence on the war he'd painstakingly hashed out during a late-night meeting with several key Kerry advisers, including Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser and a figure widely seen as short-listed as a Kerry administration secretary of state; and Rand Beers, currently heading Kerry's foreign policy team.

Kucinich may be happy, but the far-left sees it differently according to ">http://rwor.org/a/1247/elections_kucinich_democrats_platform.htm"> this screed:
Sandy Berger (who is former President Clinton's National Security Advisor and who served as the behind-the- scenes ringmaster of the platform process) insisted that the Democratic Party must not be seen as opposing the Patriot Act, and in particular must not list ANY specific passages they would change.
[SNIP]
Why were there only tears and no protest?! Because Kucinich sent his campaign aide to order his delegates to accept the platform.

Behind the scenes, a deal had been worked out between Kucinich and Sandy Berger. Well actually, it was not much of a deal.

Kucinich agreed to accept a pro-war platform, a pro-war candidate and not launch any challenge at the convention. And, in exchange, they got nothing. Speaking for Kerry and the party establishment, Sandy Berger said, "We didn't give up anything."

All the anti-war forces got was permission to stay inside the process. And Kucinich personally earned the privilege of addressing the Democratic Party Convention in Boston (probably in some obscure non-prime-time moment).

Did Dennis Kucinich Sell Out Anti-War Democrats? Did Berger dupe him? In ">http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/07/14/1410234"> this interview here’s Denny the K’s response to this point raised by the interviewer: Sandy Berger, who negotiated this agreement, was quoted saying, "we didn't give up anything."

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, I think, you know, you could take that literally or you could also take it as we do, and that is that we didn't insist that they had to adopt our language. If we did, we were looking at a platform fight. But we still had to marshall dozens of votes in order to be successful in even getting a minority plank. And our people who were at Miami and contacting delegates, didn't see that there was enough support to be able to do that. So, the question is, you know, do we face the reality of what we have with the political terrain being as it is, or do we move forward and create a break that could make it difficult to get a Democrat elected president?

I guess the anti-war far left lost because, well, they're anit-war - they don't know how to fight.

So Berger’s been busy keeping whackos from screwing up the Democrat platform. Seems to me that if the leaker were a Republican, July 6th would have been the day to let this balloon drop.

J_Crater

Try to imagine how this story would have been viewed if it had broken 3 or 4 days from now, just after the 9-11 Comission released it's report which surely has some part that would be embarassing to the Bush Administration. I mean this is the Sandy Berger that represented the Clinton Administation regarding foreign affairs issues before the 9-11 commission. The headlines would have read "Sandy Berger faces Retribution from Bush Administration".
Any questions left why it was leaked yesterday ?
I'm sure somebody will call it preemptive retribution.

Ben A

Pants I can accept, but socks? That seals the deal, he's crooked. No one accidentally puts papers in their socks. It also raises the central question: Will Berger be represented at trial by F. Lee Bailey?

Mitch H.

Fox has someone from the Bush/Cheney campaign claiming that Berger gave a background briefing in February from material that allegedly came from the purloined documents. For whatever it's worth.

J Mann

I can't resist anymore . . .

"Yes, Senator Kerry, I have a background briefing for you, here in my pants! I think you'll find the material quite substantial . . ."

The Wonkette virus is catching, it seems.

Paul Zrimsek

There's a Dr. Suess parody just begging to be written here: Docs in Socks.

irishlass

I'm pitching the name Hot Pants Scandal. What do you think?

BTW, I've got a running report on what the bloggers are saying at my site.

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Wilson/Plame