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December 20, 2006
A Little Song, A Little Dance, National-Security Documents Down Your Pants

The Inspector General of the National Archives has released his report on the security breach committed by Sandy Berger. Unlike the characterization given for the theft of classified data from the Archives by his political allies, the IG clearly accuses Berger of intentionally stealing the documents for their later destruction:

Inspector General Paul Brachfeld reported that when Berger was confronted by Archives officials about the missing documents, he said it was possible he threw them in his office trash.

The report said that when Archives employees first suspected that Berger _ who had been President Clinton's national security adviser _ was removing classified documents from the Archives in the fall of they failed to notify any law enforcement agency. ...

"In total, during this visit, he removed four documents ... Mr. Berger said he placed the documents under a trailer in an accessible construction area outside Archives 1 (the main Archives building)."

Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.

Bill Clinton and other former members of his administration claimed at the time that Berger habitually mislaid documents, and that his theft of the documents from the classified area of the Archives was just absent-mindedness. This shows that Berger deliberately lifted the documents. He put them in his pants, took a break without escort, and then hid them under the construction trailer. After he returned to the locked room to officially check out, he then went back and retrieved the documents -- which have all disappeared.

And what were these documents? Copies of reports that dealt with the Clinton administration's handling of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, copies that likely had unique handwritten notes from the high-ranking officials to whom they were published. They had direct bearing on the counterterrorism efforts of the administration -- especially regarding Sandy Berger -- at a time when the nation demanded an accounting of the failures that led to 9/11.

Berger got a $50,000 fine and 100 hours of community service for this theft. Had this sequence of events been known at the time he pled guilty, the sentencing would have been seen as the sham it is. Even at that point, all he admitted was that the theft was "not inadvertent". This strongly suggests that it was planned in advance for a specific purpose, and it's too late for the Department of Justice to lean on him to discover exactly what that was.

Will Hillary have Sandy Berger on her national-security team for the 2008 election? His three-year revocation of clearance will expire just a few months before the election ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 20, 2006 5:44 PM

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» Berger Hid Classified Documents Under Construction Trailer from Sensible Mom
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