Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sandy Berger "Loses" Classified Information

This smells worse than the alley behind Captain D's on a hot summer day. It seems that Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor, illegally took classified information critical of the Clinton Administrations response to terror threats from the National Archives and misplaced them. He also removed from the archives hand written notes he had taken while reviewing classified documents, also illegal. Berger's home and office have been searched by the FBI and he was informed that he was the target of a criminal investigation. The document's that have yet to be found included assessment's of the Clinton Administration's handling of terror threats:

The officials said the missing documents were highly classified, and included critical assessments about the Clinton administration's handling of the millennium terror threats as well as identification of America's terror vulnerabilities at airports to sea ports.

What is more suspicious is that it seems that multiple copies of the same document's are missing:

Breuer said the Archives staff first raised concerns with Berger during an Oct. 2 review of documents that at least one copy of the post-millennium report he had reviewed earlier was missing. Berger was given a second copy that day, Breuer said.

Officials familiar with the investigation said Archives staff specially marked the documents and when the new copy and others disappeared, Archives officials called Clinton attorney Bruce Lindsey to report the disappearance.

Berger immediately returned all the notes he had taken, and conducted a search and located two copies of the classified documents on a messy desk in his office, Breuer said. An Archives official came to Berger's home to collect those documents but Berger couldn't locate the other missing copies, the lawyer said.

There has not been a reaction from Capital Hill, but let's assume for a second that the documents had been taken and lost by either someone in the current Bush Administration. What would the reaction of the press and the Democrat's be? This morning on all of the morning shows indignant Democrats would be paraded out accusing the administration of the worst sort of conspiracy/cover-up imaginable. If Dr. Rice had lost the documents, there would be immediate calls for the her to resign amid calls for multiple Senate investigations. President Bush would be denounced as a "liar" and howls of "cover-up" would be plastered on the front page of every newspaper for weeks until someone was arrested or until all the documents were found. John Kerry would take to the campaign trail saying that this proved that the President could have done more to prevent the attacks, that he allowed this to happen through negligence. Kerry would call on George Bush to make public all the documents his administration is "hiding". We would hear "Watergate!" on the nightly news along with predictions of this being the "final blow" to the President's re-election chances.

But it was Sandy Berger, National Security Advisor to Bill Clinton, who lost the documents, so none of that will happen. There will be a few newspaper articles about it all and then it will simply fade away as if it never happened.

It was irresponsible for Sandy Berger to take classified documents and even more irresponsible for him to lose them. Let's hope he finds them all soon, for the sake of the country.