Thursday, December 21, 2006


I've said before that the media silence on the Sandy Berger stolen documents story is utterly amazing. It continues to become even more amazing, as more incredible revelations have floated to the surface.

Berger, who was Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor, was sent by Clinton to analyze documents for the vaunted 9/11 Commission in the National Archives pertaining to the Clinton Administration's handling of Al-Qaeda. And Berger was discovered to be spiriting classified documents out of the archives. Stuffed down his pants, no less.

In the aftermath (though he pleaded guilty to stealing and destroying classified document), he said it was all an "honest mistake" (as in, "Whoops! These classified documents accidentally fell into my underwear.") Now, the results of a National Archives internal investigation into the matter have been released. See if it sounds to you like an "honest mistake."
[Inspector General Paul] Brachfeld's report included an investigator's notes, taken during an interview with Berger. The notes dramatically described Berger's removal of documents during an Oct. 2, 2003, visit to the Archives.

Berger took a break to go outside without an escort while it was dark. He had taken four documents in his pockets.

"He headed toward a construction area. ... Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the Archives and the DOJ (Department of Justice), and did not see anyone," the interview notes said.

He then slid the documents under a construction trailer, according to the inspector general. Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.

"He was aware of the risk he was taking," the inspector general's notes said. Berger then returned to the Archives building without fearing the documents would slip out of his pockets or that staff would notice that his pockets were bulging.

The notes said Berger had not been aware that Archives staff had been tracking the documents he was provided because of earlier suspicions from previous visits that he was removing materials. Also, the employees had made copies of some documents.

In October 2003, the report said, an Archives official called Berger to discuss missing documents from his visit two days earlier. The investigator's notes said, "Mr. Berger panicked because he realized he was caught."

The notes said that Berger had "destroyed, cut into small pieces, three of the four documents. These were put in the trash."

After the trash had been picked up, Berger "tried to find the trash collector but had no luck," the notes said.
This was the Clinton Administration official designated to ensure the 9-11 Commission received the documents they needed for their investigation. How is this not the headline story on every news network? How is Michael Moore not doing a documentary on this?

If you've ever doubted media bias, ask yourself one question: How would the media treat it if Condoleeza Rice were caught smuggling Abu Graib photos out of the building at the outset of an investigation? I'll tell you how: it would be the scandal of the century.

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