Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sandy Berger's shame is our own

I do not now, nor have I ever owned or worn an AFDB; that being said, if you needed proof that the self-appointed elite in this country protect each other, the "Sandy Burglar" episode should prove it.

The NYT and WaPo give embarrassingly short stories on this. You know as well as I do that if this was, say, Paul Wolfowitz, this would be front page news every day until he went away for years G. Gordon Liddy like.

Let's review:
The terms of Berger's agreement required him to acknowledge to the Justice Department the circumstances of the episode. Rather than misplacing or unintentionally throwing away three of the five copies he took from the archives, as the former national security adviser earlier maintained, he shredded them with a pair of scissors late one evening at the downtown offices of his international consulting business.

The document, written by former National Security Council terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke, was an "after-action review" prepared in early 2000 detailing the administration's actions to thwart terrorist attacks during the millennium celebration. It contained considerable discussion about the administration's awareness of the rising threat of attacks on U.S. soil. . . .

Berger's archives visit occurred as he was reviewing materials as a designated representative of the Clinton administration to the national commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The question of what Clinton knew and did about the emerging al Qaeda threat before leaving office in January 2001 was acutely sensitive, as suggested by Berger's determination to spend hours poring over the Clarke report before his testimony.
He intentionally took highly sensitive, unique, classified documents out of a secure space. He transported them in an unapproved manner (socks). He destroyed them in an improper, non-secure manner with improper equipment (office scissors). He lied to Federal investigators.

What does this guy get?
Under a plea agreement, he would pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his access to classified government materials for three years and cooperate with investigators.
That, my friends is beyond a slap on the hand. That is an inside joke.

If John, Bubblehead, Eagle1, or I had done this; I don't want to even think what would have happened. At least a lifelong clearance loss and most likely some time in Kansas or other fine locations.

This is a huge issue. An individual given the highest trust of his nation, betrayed that trust to cover his own or his former bosses behind on a subject that has led to the death of tens of thousands of human beings worldwide. If the judge approves this travesty, he should be shunned. The personnel at the Justice Department that approved this plea should resign or be fired. But that's my world.

Oh, before I get fitted for my beanie; if you think he did this on his own, I want to play poker with you.

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