Friday, October 13, 2006

The Sandy Berger mystery 

Former Clinton administration National Security Advisor and John Kerry campaign advisor Sandy Berger is back in the news. The Congress has finally gotten curious about the classified documents that he smuggled out of the National Archives and shredded, presumably so the 9/11 Commission wouldn't see them. Andy McCarthy's column this morning raises a lot of questions about the media's utter lack of interest in the story, especially compared to the indictment of Scooter Libby. How he managed to avoid using the word "pantload" even once is beyond me, and a tribute to Andy's professionalism.

Andy, like others, wonders about Berger's lenient treatment, especially compared to the prosecution of Scooter Libby:

Sandy Berger needn’t worry about ten-year penalties, though. He needn’t concern himself with a prosecution for false statements or obstruction of justice. He needn’t sweat for two years over whether he will be charged with multiple black-and-white classified information violations.

No, Berger is home-free. Next year, when Scooter Libby starts trial on false-statement and obstruction-of-justice allegations that carry potential decades of jail time, Sandy Berger will be starting the second half of his two-year term of probation.

You see, for misconduct orders of magnitude more weighty than what Libby stands accused of, Berger was permitted by the Justice Department to plead guilty to misdemeanor mishandling of classified information. No jail time. He was fined $50,000 — and that was only because the outraged sentencing judge quintupled the $10,000 fine proposed by Berger and (astoundingly) the Justice Department.

And by 2008 — when Libby, if he were convicted, would probably start any sentence of imprisonment — Berger will even be getting his security clearance back … just in time to offer his unique skills to a prospective new Democratic administration.

Of course, everybody wants to know what Berger was keeping from the 9/11 Commission, and that is surely going to be the focus of any Congressional investigation. There is a deeper mystery, though, which I raised almost a year ago: Why was the Ashcroft Justice Department so afraid of prosecuting Sandy Berger that it pled down to a fine so small that even the judge was offended? If you are an ambitious investigative reporter with the right connections, that is a huge story that remains to be written. When it is written depends on the interests and ambitions of the Washington press corps and the willingness of critical Bush and Clinton administration officials to loosen their tongues. The Clintonites won't say anything until Hillary's career is over (think 2015 at the earliest), but the Bushies might talk sometime between November 8, 2006 and November 3, 2008, with the odds going up considerably after Hillary is nominated at the Democratic convention in the summer of 2008.

In the meantime, all your speculation is welcome.


By Blogger Gabriel, at Fri Oct 13, 11:05:00 AM:

I wouldn't expect the current crop lefty press sychophants of digging too deep into the Sandy Burglar story. The memo is and always has been, you don't take on your own kind.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Oct 13, 11:09:00 AM:

Sandy Berger is such a liar. Look at these two comments from an interview with Berger:

"In '99 and 2000, according to Robert Gallucci, the Clinton administration was unable to certify to Congress that North Korea was not pursuing a uranium-enrichment capability. And then in October of 2002, North Korea tells U.S. delegates — a delegation visiting that it had a covert nuclear weapons program." -John Gibson, Fox News.

"So two bombs worth of plutonium under Bush I, six to eight under Bush II, zero under Clinton." -- Sandy Burgler

So, the Clinton administration was "unable to certify" that the Norks weren't producing plutonium, yet Sandy Burgler can catagorically state that they produced none. What did he do, sneak into their intelligence archives?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Oct 13, 11:23:00 AM:

The Sandy Burger affair is so obvious. Berger destroyed the documents that showed that Clinton was negligent.

The entire Clinton machine was using standard tactics to gut the 9/11 Commission report just like Bill's standard tactic was to fix juries.

The fatal weakness of the Bush administration is that they don't want to appear partisan. So they let Berger walk.

If Berger faced 10 years in the slammer, he would have squealed like a pig.
What we needed was a Judge Sirica. Instead, we got Mr Rogers.  

By Blogger submandave, at Fri Oct 13, 11:27:00 AM:

Even if the unsupportable "no plutonium under Clinton" line is true, so what? These people act as if nuclear weapons development is a serial process, as if all research and technological work was halted just because they "couldn't" produce and extract plutonium.

The simplest and most likely explaination for the "plutonium freeze" is that the DPRK had already completed its work on how to extract plutonium by 1994 and therefore bargained extraction to Clinton to distract from the other research it needed to do. Once they needed to process plutonium again they revealed their secret program to create US outrage and a pretext for them to kick out IAEA monitors and abandon the 1994 agreed framework. Why is it not obvious to everyone that we got played?  

By Blogger topsecretk9, at Fri Oct 13, 11:57:00 AM:

I wouldn't expect the current crop lefty press sychophants of digging too deep into the Sandy Burglar story. The memo is and always has been, you don't take on your own kind.

Pathetic that this is so true.  

By Blogger plainslow, at Fri Oct 13, 12:02:00 PM:

Sandy Berger needn’t worry about ten-year penalties, though. He needn’t concern himself with a prosecution for false statements or obstruction of justice. He needn’t sweat for two years over whether he will be charged with multiple black-and-white classified information violations.

If our country, makes decisions based on what we know, less that, that Mr. Berger stole, and we get attacked, or are losing people today because of policies put into place, based on present info, I hope he can live with himself. We have brave men and women putting their lives on the line, and all I want from him is the truth as a citizen of this country. I’d much rather have the men and women in uniform, come back and run this country, than anyone who uses Sandy as a consultant.  

By Blogger BigDirigible, at Fri Oct 13, 12:16:00 PM:

I'm still wondering what documents Sandy B. smuggled in and planted in the archives, possibly in place of some he removed. He was wearing the same socks and pants when he went in, so why waste a trip? He wasn't caught doing this, but it would be rash to assume that he wasn't doing more damage than we happen to know about. Any documents which show that Clinton et al weren't asleep at the wheel are now suspect until investigated and shown to be original - if that's possible.

Why would he have a security clearance, anyway? Back in the days when I had one, it went with the job or office, not the person. End of job or end of office, end of clearance.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Oct 13, 12:22:00 PM:

Have we all forgotten about the FBI files that somehow were illegally obtained by the Clinton administration in 1996? Let me refresh you with this CNN article...

"June 23, 1996 (CNN) -- A political tug of war continued Sunday over hundreds of FBI background files improperly obtained by the Clinton administration. The president's staff insists there was no misuse of information, but skeptical Republicans aren't convinced."

Really? It wouldn't take much imagination to figure that the Clintons obtained dirt on Republicans that the Bushies would do ANYTHING to keep hidden. Letting Sandy Berger off lightly was a relatively costless move by the AG, except for that pesky precident of allowing people to steal national secrets without consequence.

Politics has always been a contact sport.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Oct 13, 12:25:00 PM:

I was very angry when he got off with almost no penalty and wrote all major government officials about my thoughts. But the answer just may be that since the documents were reported to be above the top secret level the government did not want to go to trial. Unfortunately that is not unusual. That was a sticking point with the terrorist detainee discussions between congress and the executive.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Oct 13, 07:14:00 PM:

The truth is much worse than you know: there is a party in Sandy Berger's pants, and everyone is invited!  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat Oct 14, 02:18:00 PM:

Sometimes I mourn the absolute lack of vigilante justice in our system, because the system itself is lame.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Oct 08, 09:37:00 AM:

AssHat Sandy did the deed for the Clintons and saved their necks, in doing so he knows he's got a job for life,Instead of going to jail for life.
Because the Clintons owe him big time. Ain't America great?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 09, 04:04:00 AM:


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