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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Inadvertent, My Cute Little Butt

Everyone remember Sandy Berger? He is the one who made off with several classified documents form the National Archives while supposedly reviewing the mateirals before his testimony before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees? Yesterday it was reported that this was anything but accidental.

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger removed classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 and hid them under a construction trailer, the Archives inspector general reported Wednesday.

The report was issued more than a year after Berger pleaded guilty and received a criminal sentence for removal of the documents.

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 2003, they failed to notify any law enforcement agency.

Berger, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully removing and retaining classified documents, was fined $50,000, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and was barred from access to classified material for three years.

The report said that when Berger was reviewing the classified documents in the Archives building a few blocks from the Capitol, employees saw him bending down and fiddling with something white, which could have been paper, around his ankle.

However, Archives employees did not feel at the time there was enough information to confront someone of Berger's stature, the report said.

Brachfeld reported that on one visit, Berger took a break to go outside without an escort.

"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.

Berger, with the authorization of former President Clinton, was reviewing National Security Council documents on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, Sudan, and related presidential correspondence. The review was to facilitate Berger's impending testimony before the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Most intelligence people would refer to this as a "dead drop" which is how Josh Gerstein classifies it (Hat-Tip to Professor Reynolds). A "dead drop" simply put is either literally dropping information into a public place for later pick up by an agent associated with the dropper, or the dropper themselves. That is what Mr. Berger did. Professor Reynolds makes an interesting point:

I still wonder what we're missing, here. This was extraordinary behavior for someone at such a high level.

What we appear to be missing is what precisely was taken, and what relevance they have to the possible questioning by the committees. Were these documents that would have given him, or the previous administration a black eye? Were the ones that would have literally shown the previous administration mostly at fault for ignoring al-Qaeda and the clues leading up to 9/11? And why were they destroyed? It can be assumed that their destruction arose from the fact that they would have been politically embarrassing to him or his previous boss. If that is the case, then Mr. Berger did this nation a grave disservice.

Not only did he abuse his clearance in taking these documents, he abused the trust we, the people, put in him when it came to handling them. When things like this occur, they fuel conspiracy theorists to come up with outlandish ideas. And that does more damage to the nation than the truth would.



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