Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Clinton National Security Advisor swipes top secret documents 

Unless, bizarrely, TigerHawk is your first stop for news in the day (which I would counsel against, by the way), you have already read somewhere that Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor and, like Joe Wilson, a foreign policy advisor to the Kerry for President campaign, is under investigation for having pinched top secret documents while "preparing" for his testimony in front of the 9/11 Commission. Of course, if you read the New York Times for your news, you would only know this bombshell -- and it is absolutely huge -- if you got all the way to the bottom of page A17. There you would read that:
President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel R. Berger, removed classified security documents from the National Archives while vetting them in preparation for testimony before the Sept. 11 commission and has become the subject of a criminal investigation, his lawyer said Monday night.

You would also read Mr. Berger's denials, and those of his lawyer, which suggest that there is no cause to think Berger is a thieving weasel or a spy because
Mr. Berger returned all of the documents and notes to the archives in October, within a week of his learning they were missing....
A simple replacement of documents "within a week of his learning they were missing." Sounds like a good and careful public citizen to me, and all very nice for the Kerry campaign, Sandy Berger and fans of the NYT, the ven diagram of which three entities is almost entirely overlapping, I daresay.
Comforting, that is, unless one happens upon the Associated Press's article:
Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.

Berger and his lawyer said that he knowingly removed notes of classified material by placing them in his jacket and pants. This isn't an interesting enough factoid for the Times to include in its story? And why was the story on page A17? It was maybe crowded off the front page by this story? Unbelievable, but oh so believable.

The Times also does not tell us that some of the documents are still missing. Why not?

I've been watching the news for an hour this morning, and have not seen a reference to this story, except (of course) on Fox. Fox confirms the A.P. version, and says that Berger cannot account for certain of the missing documents. Fox says that he claims he must have "inadvertently thrown them out."

According to Fox, all of this was discovered when an archivist at the National Archives noticed Berger putting notes of classified material into his pants and jacket and reported it. The FBI eventually searched Berger's home to look for the still-missing materials, but only after giving Berger two months notice.

Hugh Hewitt proposes a thought experiment:
Ask yourself what would be going on in Washington, D.C. tonight, and on the network news, within the blogospere, and in the morning papers, if it had been revealed that Condi Rice was the target of a criminal investigation for removing classified handwritten notes from the government records relating to terrorism.

I have another question: What is it that the 9/11 Commission didn't see? Perhaps they should scan page A17 of The New York Times -- it seems to be where they put the important stuff.

Over to you, John Kerry.

UPDATE: Rob A. has more, particularly on the contents of the missing documents.


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