Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog

Friday, April 01, 2005
Washington Post: Berger shredded documents.

I was going to add this as an update to my previous Berger post, but this was too important to go unseen on my front page.

The Washington Post has the inside scoop of Sandy Berger's criminal act.  As part of the plea bargain, Sandy Berger admitted this:

Rather than misplacing or unintentionally throwing away three of the five copies he took from the archives, as the former national security adviser earlier maintained, he shredded them with a pair of scissors late one evening at the downtown offices of his international consulting business.

The document, written by former National Security Council terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke, was an "after-action review" prepared in early 2000 detailing the administration's actions to thwart terrorist attacks during the millennium celebration. It contained considerable discussion about the administration's awareness of the rising threat of attacks on U.S. soil.

Archives officials have said previously that Berger had copies only, and that no original documents were lost. It remains unclear whether Berger knew that, or why he destroyed three versions of a document but left two other versions intact. Officials have said the five versions were largely similar, but contained slight variations as the after-action report moved around different agencies of the executive branch.

The question is, how different were the variations?  Something interesting had to be on those documents for Berger to shred them.  Of course, we won't know what that is.  So much for it being an "honest mistake".

And what will Berger get for all of this?  A slap on the wrist:

Under terms negotiated by Berger's attorneys and the Justice Department, he has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and accept a three-year suspension of his national security clearance.

Not surprised, but very disappointed.  Berger should be behind bars, and should never receive national security clearance ever again. 

I don't see why the Justice Department accepted a plea to begin with.  Berger was obviously guilty, and they were never going to see those missing documents again.  So what did the government get out of this?

I suppose Hindrocket's rant last night was right on the money.

UPDATE:  I've been Instalanched.  Instapundit readers - or if you're being referred from somewhere else, as I've done quite a few trackbacks this morning - welcome, and I hope you'll click the "home" link at the bottom of the post and look at some of the other posts I've written this week.  Maybe some of you will become regular readers.

Previous posts:

1.  Sandy Berger is busted.

Posted at 07:38 am by Expertise

April 2, 2005   09:39 AM PST
Berger got a spanking!
Governor Rowland a REPUBLICAN got 10 months in Jail, a fine and 3 years probation after Jail. Gee, I wonder who got the better deal!
April 1, 2005   09:07 AM PST
Paul, I won't go as far you did with the suicide, but I get your point, and I agree.
Paul Coyle
April 1, 2005   08:42 AM PST
IF Berger was an enlisted man or Officer, and did this, they'd be busted, behind bars then thrown out.

Also, Berger’s non-punishment slips into the whole terrorism/war is a legal problem that is best handled by lawyers and law enforcement delusion which reached it's peak ......during the Clinton administration. Not that the Clinton administration had any respect for the law other than to protect themselves and punish their political opponents. This was ingrained. The military was totally unknown to them culturally since so few, if any, served and since they instinctually knew that their type of moral/ethical relativism wouldn’t be effective.

If Berger had any spine at all he'd sit in his car in the garage with the motor running hugging a framed portrait of Janet Reno


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