Slap On The Wrist For Sandy Berger

John blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon Apr 4 10:39:09 MDT 2005


Kerry Spot    [ jim geraghty reporting ]
[ kerry spot home | archives | email ]

SANDY BERGER: I LIED, I DELIBERATELY DESTROYED DOCUMENTS ON
TERRORISM POLICY

The Powerliners are not happy with the Sandy Berger plea deal. But
I'm a little surprised that Burglar - I mean, Berger - admitted so
much. From today's Post:

Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, a former White House national security
adviser, plans to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and will
acknowledge intentionally removing and destroying copies of a
classified document about the Clinton administration's record on
terrorism. ...

The deal's terms make clear that Berger spoke falsely last summer
in public claims that in 2003 he twice inadvertently walked off
with copies of a classified document during visits to the National
Archives, then later lost them.

He described the episode last summer as "an honest mistake."
Yesterday, a Berger associate who declined to be identified by
name but was speaking with Berger's permission said: "He
recognizes what he did was wrong. . . . It was not inadvertent."


That all sounds pretty damning. But then you read the actual
consequences:

Under terms negotiated by Berger's attorneys and the Justice
Department, he has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and accept a
three-year suspension of his national security clearance. These
terms must be accepted by a judge before they are final, but
Berger's associates said yesterday he believes that closure is
near on what has been an embarrassing episode during which he
repeatedly misled people about what happened during two visits to
the National Archives in September and October 2003.
What? Just what do you have to do to get your clearance pulled
permanently? Start the clock, he can go back and start deleting
memos that make him and his colleagues look bad starting in 2008
or so!

The details of this story are even more damning:

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.


Although one element of this story apparently is a bit of an urban
legend:

On Sept. 2, 2003, the associate said, Berger put a copy of the
Clarke report in his suit jacket. He did not put it in his socks
or underwear, as was alleged by some Republicans last summer.
Now... what about this deafening silence that we have heard on
this from Berger's associates, since this story first surfaced?
Will we be seeing any criticism of him from former President
Clinton, Madeline Albright, Hillary, John Kerry, or any other
prominent Democrat? Is the perception that this is no big deal,
standard operating procedure for that White House, and is
something to be swept under the rug?

Do any Democrats want to confront the unpleasant truths of how the
Clinton White House handled terrorism?

Because there were some facts out there that were so damning,
Sandy Berger was willing to break the law to make sure the public
never saw them.

[Posted 04/01 04:38 AM]





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