Friday, December 22, 2006

Sandy Burglar

Pajamas Media has a scooped copy of the OIG report on Sandy Berger's unauthorized removal of classified documents from the National Archives. As you read through it, you will probably attempted to mentally fill in the redacted blanks -- the blacked out passages between the declassified text -- and for most, the mystery will deepen rather than become clearer. There was little or no operational finesse in the document thefts which occured, and Mr. Berger's crude methods relied solely in exploiting the courtesies provided on account of his "stature". The question is motive. His search through the archives was as at the formal request of Bill Clinton, ostensibly to help prepare for 9/11 Commission testimony. Yet at some point after Clinton's request, if it it were not present to begin with, a secondary purpose insinuated itself into Berger's archival visits: to steal or make copies of certain documents as he pretended to review them. What was "it" that Sandy Berger was looking for? This is the core of the mystery. About all that can be deduced with confidence is that only Berger, who generated most of the originals, knew what to look for, whatever it was.


Blogger dla said...

I know that some folks just love Ol-Slick, but the Berger-thefts are just another reminder of the harm to this country from the 8 year reign of the dark Lord Clinton.

And what I find a bit scary is the thought of the Queen of Darkness occupying the Whitehouse.

12/22/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

That's the Democrats, they play to win. It was the same thing about the war, they had a multi-year campaign to turn the country against the war, it didn't just happen by itself.

Watching the republican politicans against the democrats is like boy scouts versus a motorcycle gang.

12/22/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Funny, I remember how folks like Ann Coulter were accusing the Demos of working hand in hand with the terrorists.
Al Qaeda elected the loons

Which is worse, a corrupt government that enables our enemies, or a paranoid government that tramples our liberties?

12/22/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Not as exigent as the war, but on the economy, the "new" thinking from the Dems was trial-ballooned in the NYT today, by ace economics columnist Paul Krugman.

Yep, you guessed it: "Oops, deficits don't matter after all".

12/22/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Slowly the veils fall from our eyes regarding our enemy…

12/22/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

That's the Democrats, they play to win. It was the same thing about the war, they had a multi-year campaign to turn the country against the war, it didn't just happen by itself.

Wu Wei I don't often agree with anything you say but there is truth in that statement. Republicans play by a set of rules that insure the Democrats victory. It goes farther than even mere partisan politics. Consider the battle between the left and right and witness that almost all opinion outlets are controlled by the left even though a majority of the country when polled believe in very conservative ideals. The contrast points to the effectiveness of the lefts war against the rest of us.

Asymmetrical war conducted on the battlefield of politics. No wonder the Democrats are often sympathetic to the terrorists.

Ann Coulter knows how to win…why doesn’t our Political Class?

12/22/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dla said, "Which is worse, a corrupt government that enables our enemies, or a paranoid government that tramples our liberties?"

What we really need is a paranoid government which tramples our enemies.

12/22/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Flavius Maximus said...


12/22/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Given that The Burgler stole multiple copies of the same document, I can only assume that what he was looking for - and presumably found - was what we call a "working paper" version of the document that had proposed alternative language and/or handwritten notes that would reflect badly upon him and the Clinton Administration.

Since the crime we have seen how Slick Willie reacts to any suggestion that he was less than utterly diligent on countering terrorism - by virtue of his reaction the ABC docudrama, "The Road to 9/11."

This all adds up to "Methinks the lady doth protest too much."

Amid all of the absurd conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the prosecution of Scooter Libby for a crime that never occurred, we have every indication of a real conspiracy to cover up the facts.

12/22/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The "limited hangout" ploy, that is, the story revealed in order to look bad enough that it will be "bought", is that the stolen papers showed that the Millenium Plot was busted by luck (a sharp lady at the Canadian border) rather than by the 'proper model of anti-terrorism work, exemplified by the Clinton administration'.

Can you say "diversion"?

12/22/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Today is the anniversary of both the Pan Am crashed in Lockerbie, and the Shoebomber Plot, which was within a struck match of doing it again on a London/Miami flight.

Nah, we're not at war. Sandy Berger, Richard Reid, just a couple of guys who goofed.

12/22/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buddy said "...busted by luck (a sharp lady at the Canadian border) rather than by the 'proper model of anti-terrorism work, exemplified by the Clinton administration'. Can you say 'diversion'?"

The question I put to you is why?

a) To preserve the Bubba Legacy?
b) The construction trailer was tipping over and Sandy Berger needed to prop one side of it up with some documents from the National Archives
c) To negate the boos and catcalls Senator Clinton received during her appearance at The Concert for New York City on October 20, 2001 (which was edited out by MTV).
d) A & C above

12/22/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dla said, "And what I find a bit scary is the thought of the Queen of Darkness occupying the Whitehouse."

At least she will actually bomb NoKos, moolahs, pallies, imans, sunnis, rooskis, frogs, and suicide camel jockeys every 28 days. This president's idea of action is to call for nine more blue ribbon study group reports when the two pending ones come in with the same recommendations Baker cooked up.

12/22/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

What if it was something that wouldn't enrage the American voting public, but would enrage whoever is holding the "consultant" purse strings in a country floating on oil wealth which is known to have bought and paid for every other retired politician in DC?

Don't we think that Bubba and Berger knew that Saudi has been funding Wahhabi terrorists for years and years, and whatever they were scribbling back and forth to each other would have named rich and powerful Saudi names in connection with terrorism?

Turki just fled DC. Bandar fled DC a year and a half ago. Suddenly it's getting REALLY hard to convince anyone Princely from Saudi Arabia to agree to live in America under American law as we're jailing and deporting them on an increasingly regular schedule, and it becomes obvious that oil wealth will not buy anyone a "get out of jail free" card any more.

12/22/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I think you are on to something. My own guess that Berger was trying to get a backfix to see if something that would have been visible to someone with the right background knowledge was discernible from the record. Someone was worried that a slip, but not an obvious slip, was showing. There was an iceberg, if you knew where to look for the tip.

My own speculation, and it is nothing but speculation, is that the key to the Berger incident lies in discovering what it was he was trying to hide. Berger was sent to look for it because he had a hand in the hiding.

My guess is that the documents he purloined are innocent enough at face value. And if you took him to court accusing him with simply the theft those docs without the context, you wouldn't have anything at all but a technical crime. But the key to understanding the context is probably also classified. Sandy Berger knows where all the pieces of the puzzle are hidden. Finding one by itself is not too helpful.

That much is implied from the structure of the problem. In way, casting the investigation as narrow documentary theft problem protected Berger unless the investigators had the wit to use the threat of prosecution to pry out the larger secret. But with someone of Berger's "stature", his powerful lawyers and the fact that all the places to look were secret, you would need more than the ordinary shamus to sweat it out of him. I wish I knew what it was, but there is insufficient data to hazard any guess.

12/22/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

perhaps a sort of protection deal for one Osama bin Laden? Nothing more than a quid pro quo, one end of which involved some certain foot-dragging on certain initiatives--such as indirectly hinted at in the ABC script?

12/22/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

A national Security Advisor, just ex-officio, inspecting and stealing documents, means that between the time the documents were released to the archives, and the time they became hot enough that the NSA-ex had to personally, secretly, reverse that release, something BIG changed.

12/22/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger moneyrunner said...

I have a fairly easy to follow summary of the report on my website. It makes fascinating reading.

12/22/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The first and most interesting thing about the declassified reporting is that the descriptions of all 3 9f Berger's alleged violations are blacked out. Simply naming what he was tried to do would threaten national security. The next thing to observe is that the investigators concluded that Berger did not attempt to disburse the contents of the purloined documents. The third, but by no means the least thing to notice is that some of the documents to which Berger sought access were part of a mysterious "W" file, to which Berger alone of all the Clinton officials had the clearances to.

What we have then is a set of closely held papers generated by mostly by Sandy Berger himself. And he was trying to do something criminal other than "disburse" their contents. Any guesses what that something was?

12/22/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Over eight years of extraordinary malfeasance, Bill "Big Turnip" Clinton permanently devalued the nature of America's Presidency. We have had good, even great, Chief Executives; we have had racists (Andrew Johnson) and incompetents (Buchanan, Harding; but prior to WJC we never elected one personally lawless, a perjuror and rapist, irredeemably corrupt (nuclear engineering protocols to Chinese Communist Intelligence, last-minute pardons for Marc Rich's 7-figure deposits in Swiss bank accounts). Part and parcel of The Turnip's blackmail and extortion was Hillary's "confidential" FBI dossiers found under her bed, the Wife of Bill's (aka WOB) "cattle futures", Whitewater, travel-office ventures... the list goes on. She'll be a real wowser in '08.

We give high odds that Vince Foster and Ron Brown were murdered (recall the small, round hole in Brown's back-skull characterized as a "hairline fracture" [!]), but the real murder was of American political culture.

Through 2008, Democrat Congressional majorities will do everything possible to sabotage the economy, demoralize and underfund the military, impose ever more self-serving constraints on campaign speech and financing, invariably to the advantage of coccooned left-ideological incumbents.

Judicial appointees swear to "uphold the Constitution", but from Breyer and Kennedy to Souter and The Dame, "fundamental law" is just words, meaning whatever Humpty Dumpty chooses. Federalist Papers warned of this, but from Marshal on our rarified legal establishment has "progressively" eroded basic liberties rather than citing Tenth Amendment strictures against exactly such usurpations. Call it cynicism, but we think this process is already so entrenched, so well-advanced, that it will be politically --and socio-culturally-- impossible ever to reverse.

Two centuries from now, America as an Idea will represent an historical anomaly. Lincoln's Union will long since have fragmented, because like tapeworms, insatiable bureaucratic Statists quite soon destroy their body politic. They contribute nothing, impoverish and ravage everything they touch... major Chinese dynasties deliquesce like clockwork every 400 years, and our Novus Ordo Seclorum is on track to join 'em soon enough.

12/22/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

I have to agree with the observation that Berger's so-called "stashing" of stolen secret documents at a construction site looks EXACTLY like making an espionage-type "dead drop". See

At this point there is grounds to suspect Berger of espionage in wartime, which is a death penalty offense. He didn't hide stolen classified documents at a construction site for his own convenience. He did it for someone else's convenience and, in wartime, it would be wise to find out just who or what that "someone else" is.

The most obvious and logical explanation for Berger's stashing of stolen classified documents at a construction site is that he was working for someone else, i.e., his behavior suggests a treasonous conspiracy in wartime. Who, or what, was Berger conspiring with?

This one should be done by the book, late for sure, but done by the book. Follow the leads where-ever they go. Assume nothing - in particular, do not assume Berger's good faith, truthfulness or assertions that he acted alone.

People in high places swore up and down that Alger Hiss was innocent, could not possibly have been the agent of a foreign power, etc.

The obvious explanation here is that Berger was conspiring with other high officials of the Clinton admnistration to conceal evidence (probably but not necessarily documents in the National Archives) damaging to the Clinton administration from the 9/11 Commission. I suspect in particular Commissoner Jamie Gorelick, former Deputy Attorney General.

I would love to see the cell phone records of Berger, Gorelick and Ben-Veniste for the six months before and after the Berger was inside the Nation Archives and potentially had documents removed from there. THERE is the most likely starting place to find evidence of conspiracy.

But it is also possible that foreign powers were involved, notably through blackmail of officials of the rather corrupt Clinton administration, who need not have known just who they were being blackmailed by ("I didn't know it was Syrian intelligence that was blackmailing me!"). This potential national security angle is one of the reasons why it is so important to conduct a thorough investigation now that we have reasonable grounds to believe that Berger was working with others in this matter.

12/22/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I guess it's just a fact that those FBI files changed the rules of the game completely for the entire time they were in office, and for the rest of their political careers and the careers all those whose files were taken.
Don't forget the pardons for the PR Terrorists.

12/22/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wildly guessing of course, but the papers were not too hot to release to the archives. Later they were too hot to stay there.

Of course 911 intervenened in the time space. But so also did the politics of 911--the 911 Commission's job, from each side of the partisan divide, was to shift "blame".

So the docs in question could be as innocent as mere political coloration; something magnified by the coming press spectacular, something that in the end amounts to not much.

Or not.

12/22/2006 08:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to go with your foreign powers option, because although Bill's legacy was everything for that bunch, that type of thing can be ameliorated with his patented BS ability, and it doesn't seem that Bergler would take that great a risk unless something more life-threatening was in play.
How would Burglar ever guess he could be let off so easily if caught?
That being the case, the perceived risk was enormous.

12/22/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Corrupt" is such a vague word, almost gentle in its calling to mind on little picadilloes and self-dealings.

But pyrthroes' post reminds us to think about the meaning when we use the word.

12/22/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"his patented BS ability"
Actually, I don't buy that one either, since when you hear (esp now, in retrospect) some of the stuff he was allowed to get by with by the MSM and neutered GOP, most of us would be able to concoct a cow turd as good or better.

12/22/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

But the real sinker in this pitch was the way Berger got off so lightly by a Republican administration. Why did Berger walk? The normal possibilities are: 1) prosecutorial incompetence; 2) he gave up something bigger in exchange; 3) he had a hostage.

I think he had an informatio hostage. That is, if they went after him the investigation would open up areas that were better left in the dark for both the Clinton and the Bush administrations. It is always a danger in espionage cases but in this case who knows what trump cards Sandy Berger had.

12/22/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wildly guessing of course, but the papers were not too hot to release to the archives. Later they were too hot to stay there."
Everybody makes mistakes:
Maybe they missed something scribbled in the margins, and later caught it while inspecting copies?
Along that line, remember Burglar made more than one trip.

12/22/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yes, and they were spaced out over several months--as if each trip triggered the need for more cleaning. And he didn't fall under suspicion until the third trip of four, the fourth being the 'gotcha' after the third had raised suspicions.

Note that the catch was due to a low-level employee eyewitness reporting that "something white was in his socks". Meaninhg that Berger may've thought he was safe--but then a goofball accident messed up the play. Lucky that employee made noise fast, I'd say. But then I'm a paranoid. I still think Linda Tripp saved Monica's life.

12/22/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

metaphorically, I mean. (*cough*)

12/22/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her dad only only called Bill a misogynist *once.*

12/22/2006 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

and yet, so many love him still. it's madness.

12/22/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Roger Simon spares no punch, on the character of Berger.

12/22/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody know how this turned out?
(I can imagine)
If Mary McCarthy is Guilty, Will She Be Punished?
There’s a real chance the answer is no.
(April 25, 2006)
A bill set to go to the floor in the House tomorrow could make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to punish leakers without relying on the criminal justice system to prosecute them.

The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2007, a far-reaching measure that outlines the intelligence community’s top priorities, contains a section ordering the Director of National Intelligence to study “the feasibility of revoking the pensions of personnel in the intelligence community who commit unauthorized disclosures of classified information.”

12/22/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The common theme to many of McCarthy's political contributions is the presence of Clinton's NSC chief, Sandy Berger.

Berger achieved fame for stuffing top secret documents down his pants and stealing them from the National Archives. He later destroyed those documents that incriminated the Clinton administration for their failures to address the terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.

Another figure who plays prominently in the political networking by Mary McCarthy is Richard Clarke. Clarke obtained fame by trashing the Bush administration to the news media following the 9-11 attacks and defending the efforts of Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger and everyone else involved in national security during the Clinton years.

So to sum things up, the Washington Post was just awarded a Pulitzer Prize for reporting by Dana Priest that jeopardized the war against terrorism.

Priest's husband is involved in raising public opposition to the war against terrorism and working with to advance a politically liberal foreign-policy agenda.

One of the sources for Ms. Priest's writings has been ex-Clinton administration NSC official, Mary McCarthy, who has given almost 10 percent of her net income to Democrat candidates and causes in recent years.

The Clintonites are so desperate to regain power that they are willing to sell out our national security to do it. And the reporters who serve as agents for this effort are rewarded for executing their role in the effort.

Right has become wrong. Good has become bad.
And the people who are hurting America are being rewarded
- Melanie Morgan WND

12/22/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mary McCarthy, CIA leaker, terrorist sympathizer, Dem insider, subverter of the new GOP admin from the inside, associate of Berger and Richard Clarke.

What a loverly lovery way to fight a war.

12/22/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger directorblue said...

Unbelievable. I got upset enough that I did a little thought experiment: What if Condi Rice had stolen 9/11 documents prior to her testimony?

12/23/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard said, "But the real sinker in this pitch was the way Berger got off so lightly by a Republican administration."

It follows a pattern. Kim Il Jong is still breathing after the Administration accepted the unacceptable nuke test. Putin is busily slapping together the old Evil Empire again, yet we continue to give him economic aid. There are many other examples. Not all of them could possibly have something on Bush to blackmail him with. The only conclusion possible is that Bush is a weak leader who "doesn't like confrontation".

12/23/2006 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

This is the standard Democratic approach - break the law, scandalize yourself (the National Security Advisor stealing classified docs from the National Archives!!) and then just lie about it. Tell the rubes it depends on the meaning of "is" which are they are too dense to grasp.

It works everytime. Remember when Janet Reno was dragged into a surface investigation of Clinton / Gore fund-raising in the '96 election? Unfortunately, some used the wrong back-up tape and all the email records of the Office of the Vice President were deleted. To anyone who has any idea of how redundantly recoverable a mission critical Lotus Notes system is, this is absurd. One of Notes' great strengths is robust back-up and replication.

Just like the Sandy Berger story, Al Gore's "tape drive" story was blithely, eagerly accepted and propagated by the press.

And for several years now, "The 9/11 Commission Report" was studiously ignored by libs, Dems and the media. Just the facts in that book are damning enough for anyone with eyes to see, so we can only imagine was Berger committed these crimes to cover up.

12/23/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Has anybody suggested we waterboard the fat thief? We could set an over/under on the percentage of time when compared to KSM.

Beyond the venting, what if Burgler's activity was cover?

12/23/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

3case: "IF"???

12/23/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burger was trying to hide the obvious: OBL is a US agent, and 9/11 was an inside job.

12/23/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger cathyf said...

Ok, I read the whole redacted report (my brain is still recovering from the swiss-cheese effects of the redactions, so bear with me... ;-)

The description of the document format for the Millennium Alert After Action Report (MAAAR) was that these were attachments to emails. The report went through several revisions, and the process was that they emailed the revisions around. Berger and some archivist (name & gender carefully redacted) used a search to go through the email backups, and then manually looked through the "hits" to further weed out irrelevant emails. The relevant emails were printed out and collated, and Berger took notes on them and organized them. The process was that the printed-out emails and notes would then be sent for security review, and eventually passed on to the 9/11 commission. At least four versions of the MAAAR were among hundreds of emails and many other documents which were judged to be relevant to the Graham-Goss Commission and the 9/11 Commission and were sent over to them.

Berger made 4 trips to the Archives -- in May, July, September and October. In his October trip, all of the paper documents that he dealt with were these printouts of emails -- according to the report there were about a thousand initial hits, and it was a pretty grueling slog to sift through them all. But in the May and July visits, and in part during his September visit, he dealt with a different sort of document. These were file boxes full of individual NSC staffers' files, called Staff Member Office Files (SMOFs). The Archives had catalogued each box, but not the contents of the boxes. When the boxes were packed up, each one had a list of the titles on the file folders. But, #1, the lists were just of the folder names, with no indication of what or even how many items were in the folders. And, #2, the boxes were packed during the transition between administrations, and as anyone who has ever moved is completely unsurprised by, the error rate on those folder lists is quite high -- the archivists say that typically there are large numbers of folders that make it into boxes that aren't on any list, or that are found to be in the wrong boxes.

During Berger's May trip, nothing that he did raised any suspicions of any Archives personnel. During his July trip, he did things that started bothering the Archives staff -- mixing up documents so that they lost their original ordering, making large numbers of private cell phone calls where he asked the archivist to leave the room, making frequent trips to the mens room.

The "sexy" aspect of the case, the whole socks incident, went like this: during one of the bathroom trips, one of the staff people saw Berger fiddling with his socks and thought he saw papers. Berger claims that he only took documents out in his pockets, and that he constantly has to mess with his shoes and socks because they are always coming untied and falling down. (Perhaps he needs some instructions on reversing the direction of his first half-hitch in his bow so that he stops tying his shoes in a granny knot. I can't fault him for that -- I was frustrated by shoes that wouldn't stay tied until I was 25 and a boy scout co-worker watched me tie my shoes and told me I was doing it wrong!) But anyway, as any law-enforcement person can tell us, it happens all the time that someone will do something that raises suspicions, the suspicions cause further investigation, which results in catching someone in doing something wrong, but then after all the dust is settled everyone realizes that the thing that first aroused the suspicions was in fact totally innocent. If the socks thing was totally innocent but was the event that caused the discovery of the not-innocent things, then the correct response is to note the coincidence with amusement and also to note that it's certainly not the first time that these things have happened that way nor will it be the last. The socks incident happened during the September visit to the Archives.

During the September visit (dumpster dive? :-) Berger came across one of the revisions of the MAAAR. He took that with him. No one at the Archives detected that it was missing. After the September visit, the archivists compared notes with each other and all agreed that Berger's behavior made them uncomfortable, but they didn't think that they had enough actual evidence, and uneasy feelings are hardly enough to accuse someone of such stature. They did not notify any security people, at the Archives, or the NSC, or anywhere else. So they came up with the plan of numbering every document that they gave to Berger during his next visit. During that October visit, it sounds like all of the documents that they dealt with were printouts of those emails that they were sifting through. At one point, they printed out a pile, and one email had a revision of the MAAAR as part of it. The staffers numbered the printouts, and that one was #217. When they were finished with that pile, the archivist took it out of the office, and realized that #217 was missing. Given the number of documents they were dealing with, the archivist became doubtful that it was really missing, and thought maybe that they had made a mistake and not actually given Berger that document. So he printed out a second copy of the email, brought it to Berger, called his attention to it, and that somehow it wasn't in the earlier pile like they expected it. That document also disappeared, and so that was the archivists' smoking gun.

Through the archivists' amateur trap that they set up, they detected that Berger took 2 other documents during that October visit, both of which were printouts of emails which contained 2 other revisions of that MAAAR. He admitted to investigators that he took a walk outside, it was already dark, and he took the four printouts of the after-action reports (only three reports, since two of those printouts were identical #217's) and most of his handwritten notes (also a security violation -- the notes were required to go through security review) and he hid them under a nearby construction trailer. (The "dead drop" that others have noted) The Archives staffers called their own security people and the NSC within a day or two. The next step is that they confronted Berger. He first denied that he took anything, then called them and told them that he had found some documents which he "accidentally" took. They sent security officers to his office, and he gave them one of the four MAAARs that he took in October, his October notes, and the (only?) MAAAR that he took in September. This was the first proof that the archivists had that Berger had taken anything before his October visit. He claimed that with the other three documents (all three of which were MAAAR revisions) he had "shredded" them (cut them up with scissors) and thrown them in the office trash. He claims that he had looked in the dumpster, but saw no sign of them.

A whole series of questions are immediately obvious:

1) On whose behalf were the documents taken? As others have pointed out, the whole "dead drop" thing is classic espionage technique. Was it just for Berger (as he claims?) For Clinton? A foreign government?

2) Why did he want all the versions of the after-action reports? The obvious thought is that he wanted to know just what he could lie about to the 9/11 Commission. (In other words, he needed to know what was or was not in the reports so he could keep his, and probably Clinton's, story straight.)

3) Did Berger take anything in May, July or September? (Other than the one thing we know about in Sep.) If he took anything from the file boxes, the archivists make very clear that we would never know what it was because of the lack of cataloguing on their part. And that obviously anything Berger grabbed which was an uncatalogued original with no copies would have been successfully hidden from the 9/11 Commission as well as any other review now or in the future.

The report categorically states that: "Archives employees contend Mr. Berger did not remove documents to disburse their contents and/or commit espionage." I maintain that, logically, this is not a statement which Archives employees have the requisite knowledge to make. Further, I argue that this statement could be proven wrong (by the surfacing of incriminating evidence) but it could never be proven true. Logically, you can't "prove" the absence of something, and the only evidence we have that Berger did not do this or that thing is his word that he didn't. Sure, there is presumption of innocence and so in the absence of incriminating evidence we presume innocence, but the only thing more than that which we have to go on is Berger's word. And I don't think any of us give a lot of weight to Berger's word at this point.

12/23/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Man of Sandy Berger's stature certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Case Closed.

12/23/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Yo Cathyf, thanks for your excellent brief on 41 page doc.

Occam comes into effect: why would the Top Spook, Clinton's Natl Security Advisor, STEAL classified documents?

Of all the people in all the world to decide to abuse his stature to obstruct the record leading up to the 9/11 Attacks ... the Top Spook of the Clinton Administration, the National Security Advisor?

12/23/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Occam can no longer be used by infidels:
Muslims Only, no matter how they slice it.

12/23/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Suppose that Berger with his umpty-ump clearance was Clinton's bagman, carrying payoff monies from Yassir Arafat, Saddam (Oil-for-Peace) Hussein, various Saudi interests, latterly from Marc Rich and other deep-pocket scamsters? Such a "Pax Clintonia", wherein Big Bill agreed sub rosa to tread lightly over Islamofascist atrocities, catering meantime to billion-dollar crooks like Marc ("pardon my indiscretions") Rich, in return for 8-figure deposits in "Big Turnip's" numerous Swiss bank accounts, would be entirely in character.

Black-bag payoffs would have to go by courier, and who better than a National Security Advisor on ultra-classified missions to Kofi Annan's terrorist clearing-houses in Geneva? Recall how Imelda Marcos' fashionnaire embezzlements were funneled through Tippy-top Secret "counter-intelligence" projects, subject to eyes-only scrutiny by shoe-salesmen in the know... anyone dismissing such possibilities does not know their Turnip. Red Chinese and Saudi leg-breaker extortions went barely ten-percent to Democrat National Committee coffers.

The best was MzBill's (aka The WOB) collection of light-reading-- purloined FBI dossiers on Persons of Interest, stuffed beneath her mattress and advertised for bids to Larry Flynt's pornographers. Finger-waggin' good, eh, Bill? What a cheerful breakfast conversation that would be: Turnip safely back from orgies at the Marriott, the WOB rehearsing her latest NOW staffer's appetites and attributes... "Larry really wants this one," says The Wob, dipping into her cesspool. "Fuhgedabudit," grunts The Turnip, "I got a Real Deal goin' wit' Kofi-baby and Saddam-the-Man. Ten-mil, and they can do the Khobar Towers."


12/24/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The nice thing about it is is (meaning of?) that there was no conflict between the money driven goal and the desire to avoid getting involved in anything militarily risky.

12/24/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I agree with Buddy, Doug and Wretchard.

It looks like Berger was trying to hide some action or inaction regarding Millennium Alert After Action Review (MAAR) and it’s principal terrorist Ahmed Ressam. It also looks like the security enforcement system was rather soft on Mr. Berger (a very bad image to project to future leakers of classified data). I also note the FBI really did not get to the bottom of the issue of the missing emails:

“...Any emails for which there was not a duplicate copy could be reviewed again for responsiveness. This might give years which might be missing. This review would involve looking a couple thousand emails. Currently, there is a problem with the email server and it is not accessible.

See page Report of Investigation, additional clarification page 25

The email issue is mention several times in the Report. But, as far as I can tell it’s not fully solved (the report lists the emails but not the contents and neither attachments nor if they are authentic).

I think Burger was probably trying to cover-up security blunders by the Clinton Administration (the Sudan offer to deliver Osama Bin Landen and the accusation that Wienberger made inferring the Clinton Administration was responsible for the 9/11 attacks).

Now, it could be something more straightforward such as:

1. Cinton’s failure to properly interrogate Ahmed Ressam.

2. Conversely, Cinton’s overly aggressive interrogation of Ressam (something illegal).

3. Clinton’s failure to act on information gained from Ressam.

4. A combination of any of the above.

One thing is sure. Someone knows what Sandy Burglar got and why he got it (and why he got off with a slap on the wrist).

12/24/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

The word that struck me as most accurate about Bill Clinton was "prestidigitator."

Every time I saw him "doing something," I always wondered what his other hand was doing, the first offered only as decoy.

12/25/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Norman Rogers said...

For all you careful readers out there:

All of the reports of the crimes of Mr. Berger asserted that no materials were lost from the National Archives because Mr. Berger was "only provided with photocopies" (digital recreations of scanned documents).

Yet, YET -- if you read the report it appears that the first few times he WAS provided with original documents. It was only after the staff suspected him of pilferage that they gave him copies of documents with the backs bearing annotations to help determine if Mr. Berger returned all that he was given.

Did I get this wrong? Is there a possibility that Mr. Berger was indeed able to destroy some originals?

12/25/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger RichatUF said...

The denials are for:

B2 -- Internal personnel regulations

B5 -- Inter/intra-agency material

B6 -- Personal privacy

7C -- b(7)(c) Personal privacy invasion

I didn't notice any other cites.

Interesting on pages 21 and 22 of the PDF the FOIA denials go from being blacked out to whited out, could be a mistake, but I thought a document had to be consistent in the use and the type can be requested.

12/25/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger RichatUF said...

from above:

from doug

The common theme to many of McCarthy's political contributions is the presence of Clinton's NSC chief, Sandy Berger.

info on M. McCarthy

Previously (from 1996-2001) she had served) as a Special Assistant to the President (Clinton and Bush) and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs on the National Security Council Staff. Prior to moving to the White House, Dr. McCarthy served on the National Intelligence Council as National Intelligence Officer for Warning, and Deputy NIO for Warning.

wrechard said

But the real sinker in this pitch was the way Berger got off so lightly by a Republican administration. Why did Berger walk?

It was in the DC circuit, a serious proscution would have removed it from there. Another point, to your "information hostage"-that the costs of pursuing the investigation outweiged the benefits. The politics of the 9-11 commission investigation, the invasion of Iraq, the (then ongoing) 16-Words SOTU 'scandal',the Franklin-AIPAC investigation, the Wilson-Plame business

As you say-its an iceberg...

As to the Millenium Plot and the AAR-I find it hard to believe that it was just cluelessnesss he was trying to hide that the former NSA for the Clinton Administration would be pilfering classified materials.

The Rassam LAX plot wasn't discovered until later in 2000, well after he had been arrested and the Montreal Cell busted (fuzzy on the dates here)-the operating theory was he was going to bomb targets in Seattle, and he (Rassam) didn't disabuse the FBI of the notion until later. It was much later that the USS The Sullivans and HMS Invincible plots were discovered (those were not uncovered until after the Cole bombing).

Maybe the AAR or one of the orginal emails had some magic words like "German Intelligence" or "Hamburg Cell" or "Abu Nidal" scribbled in the margin notes-all speculation

12/25/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

This is disgusting crap!

America spent $10,000 to investigate my, my family and my high-school friends and activities when I enlisted in 1964...

I got a Top Secret Crypto clearance, and worked the KorComm problem on the Korean DMZ.

If ME had done anything like what Burger-burglar did, America would have put ME into a cell at Ft Leavenworth for 20 years AND fined me $20,000! Even if I so much as inadvertently left one of the cabinets unlocked a couple minutes between shifts of workers Topside...

But HE comes along and, partisan politics trumping everything, and national-security/federal-law be damned, CARTS SECRETS out of the building, supposedly to get picked up by an uncleared trash-collecter!

Despicable! Shame on our government!
Shame on Burger and Clinton!

12/26/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...


I was unclear. I agree that it was providing cover by document destruction. My curiosity is whether there was something else, unrelated to what was directly involved in the roecrds destroyed, being manipulated. I base my thought ion the idea that nothing with the Clintoons is ever as it appears on the surface, so why should Berglar's episode in the Nat'l Archives be any different, particularly given his obvious ineptitude. This episode is almost like the magician being TOO distracting....

12/26/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

3case: I see what you're underlining...

Clintoon sets up Berglar so that IF he can get all the incriminating documents, GREAT! Clintoon skates...

But IF Berglar spazzes the task, Clintoon's HIDDEN AGENDA cuts in, and Clintoon WINS by manipulating THAT!

Makes sense to me, Sir.

12/26/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger sf said...

So many aspects of this deal are off-the-charts unusual that it's hard to pick just one or two to examine further. I'm curious as to how the plea deal was negotiated:

It's my understanding that the government's attorneys offer to let a suspect plead to a lesser charge if they have a weak case on a more serious charge, or as a quid pro quo to get a suspect to help them convict a higher-level conspirator. But neither aspect seems to have applied here. Since the Archives staff had Berger on videotape, plus the marked docs disappearing, the case was quite strong. And clearly, Berger didn't cooperate to nail a more senior participant.

So why the deal? There has to be some record of the negotiations related to the offer of a deal. Who negotiated for the U.S. attorney's office? Would these records fall under the Freedom of Information Act?

Find out who negotiated the deal for the government and you'll know a lot more about why Berger got off so lightly, and without providing any real information.

12/30/2006 02:56:00 AM  

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