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SANDY BERG(L)ER?

The fact that former Clinton pal Sandy Berg(l)er stole highly classified documents has the blogosphere abuzz. (update: Big Time)

But note the difference in how the story was reported by the AP then picked up by the New York Times.. Watch my bolding.

AP: Clinton Adviser Probed in Terror Memos

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, is the focus of a Justice Department investigation after removing highly classified terrorism documents and handwritten notes from a secure reading room during preparations for the Sept. 11 commission hearings, The Associated Press has learned.

Berger's home and office were searched earlier this year by FBI agents armed with warrants after he voluntarily returned documents to the National Archives. However, still missing are some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration.

Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed handwritten notes he had made while reading classified anti-terror documents at the archives by sticking them in his jacket and pants.

The story continues for 28 paragraphs.

Now let's see how the "newspaper of record" reports it ON PAGE A17!

Clinton Aide Took Classified Material

WASHINGTON, July 19 - 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.

Mr. Berger removed at least two versions of a memorandum assessing how the government handled intelligence and security issues before the millennium celebrations in 1999, his lawyer, Lanny A. Breuer, said. He also removed notes he took about classified documents, the lawyer said.

"In the course of reviewing over several days thousands of pages of documents on behalf of the Clinton administration in connection with requests by the 9/11 commission, I inadvertently took a few documents from the archives," Mr. Berger said in a statement.

He said, "I deeply regret the sloppiness involved," and added that he had not intended to keep any document from the commission. The investigation was first reported by The Associated Press.

Mr. Berger returned all of the documents and notes to the archives in October, within a week of his learning they were missing, his lawyers said. [What about the ones still missing NYT? -ed]

Federal agents investigated Mr. Berger's handling of the materials, [YEAH when they raided his house and found more classified material that had been missing! -ed] a senior government official said this evening. The official said the inquiry's results were being reviewed Justice Department prosecutor, who will decide whether any laws were broken.

There you have the NYT story in its entirety. 6 paragraphs down from AP's 28.
Basically they just ran his lawyer's press release.

No mention of him stuffing the documents in his pants.
No mention of the FBI searching his home.
No mention that some highly classified material is still missing.
No mention that he had other classified material in his home.
No mention that he KNOWINGLY took the documents.
No mention that the FBI searched his home after staffers caught him stealing the documents.

All the wires ran headlines that mentioned that he was being investigated. The Times just said he took the memos, as if the whole thing was over.

Then the Times ends with this hard hitting conclusion: "..the inquiry's results were being reviewed Justice Department prosecutor, who will decide whether any laws were broken." As if to say that his inadvertent behavior might have technically been against some silly law.

I think the Times needs a new motto: "The Daily News, Sanitized for Your Protection."

and BTW I OH SO stole that subject line from Michelle Malkin who has been on a roll this week. I vote we make Bergler's nickname stick.

UPDATE: 'Barry D' in the comments should be shot. ;-)

UPDATE 2: The Times wrote another story on Berger. I examine it here... Advice: Don't hold your breath while you read.


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference SANDY BERG(L)ER?:

» Backcountry Conservative linked with Sandy Berger Pilfered Classified Docs?

» Legal XXX linked with The Ham-Berger-lar?

» Suburban Sundries Shack linked with Mmmm...Berger

» PoliBlog linked with Berg Reaction: Left v. Right

» Chasing the Wind linked with My Socks Normally Bulge Like That

» Ed Driscoll.com linked with Trousergate

» Infinite Monkeys linked with My wife thinks he had Kerry's hairdresser

Comments (19)

This is truly the only time... (Below threshold)

This is truly the only time that anyone has ever asked "What does Sandy Berger have in his pants?"


Is that an affadavit in you... (Below threshold)
SDH:

Is that an affadavit in your shorts or are you just glad to see me?

I vote we make Bergler's... (Below threshold)

I vote we make Bergler's nickname stick.

I'm in.

No mention of whether he ha... (Below threshold)

No mention of whether he had sex with those documents in his pants, either.

Mr. Berger returned all ... (Below threshold)

Mr. Berger returned all of the documents and notes to the archives in October, within a week of his learning they were missing, his lawyers said.

So, when he took them, Mr. Berger didn't realize that meant they would be missing. Someone had to tell him that a week later. This explains a lot if you think about it.

Not surpising since NYT.com... (Below threshold)
RH:

Not surpising since NYT.com regularly runs prominent Kerry/Edwards ads on its website -- just scroll down and you'll see what I mean. These aren't just little ads in a sidebar, they're big ads smack in the middle of the site.

I've wondered about that "k... (Below threshold)
ted:

I've wondered about that "knowingly". It seems such an odd thing to say when trying to minimize something, and in the presence of one's lawyer. I wonder if either he misspoke or was misquoted and it was "unknowlingly". Bad either way, as the circumstances don't support 'unknowingly'

No, no. The documents accid... (Below threshold)
Dacotti:

No, no. The documents accidently fell into his pants while he was receiving oral sex from an intern. He just didn't realize they were there when he was putting his clothes back on. Maybe we should go search that blue dress again just in case.

Sounds good, but can we als... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Sounds good, but can we also tie him to the ham-Berg(l)er?

A later version of the stor... (Below threshold)
Dexter Westbrook:

A later version of the story has this paragraph:

"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."

That's why the word "knowingly" was used. Berger is saying, I stuffed the papers in my jacket and trousers on purpose, and accidentally took others in a portfolio. The use of the word "knowingly" makes more sense in that context.

As far as the NYT story goes, there are two factors at play here. The first versions of the AP story were sent starting at close to 8 p.m. Eastern time. The NYT doesn't want to use AP copy on such a major story, so they call in a reporter or reporters to make calls and "match" the story. First thing they do is call Berger and his lawyer, who give them a sanitized version.

The second factor is, the rule at the NYT is, if we don't break the story, then it ain't news. This is a practice that's followed at other big papers too. They play up their own "scoops," and downplay those by others. You'll notice the LAT and the WaPo also downplayed the AP story.

National Security Adviser o... (Below threshold)
Sergio:

National Security Adviser of the Trou Administration: either dropping them or stuffing them with secret documents.

Tonight the Times is attrib... (Below threshold)

Tonight the Times is attributing the "pants" part of the story to "Republican senators": "Republican senators said Mr. Berger had apparently put some papers in his trousers. " Um, so did his own lawyer. Selective reporting to create a false impression. (Story I'm quoting is here: http://nytimes.com/2004/07/20/politics/20CND-BERG.html?hp .)

What about the original AP ... (Below threshold)
jaumbe:

What about the original AP story that said he also stuffed things in his socks? This isn't mentioned in other stories. The sock mention is much more damning.

The only thing he put in hi... (Below threshold)
Barry D:

The only thing he put in his socks were the footnotes.

Right, socks, forget about ... (Below threshold)
Sergio:

Right, socks, forget about them.

Hey, wasn't Socks the name of Clinton's pet cat?

And Sandy Berger is basically a Clinton pet.

Can I then infer that maybe it was Clinton who suggested the sock stuffing to Berger?

Quick, time for Berger to do a Dan Rather interview, and get all this cleared up.
Tout d'suite, as John Kerry would say.

Dexter,The WaPo an... (Below threshold)
Greg D:

Dexter,

The WaPo and LA Times downplayed the story because it hurts Democrats, not because they didn't break.

Or do you really think that, if it had been Condi Rice, they would have given the story the same treatment?

"I vote we make Bergler'... (Below threshold)

"I vote we make Bergler's nickname stick"

DONE!

The only thing he put in... (Below threshold)

The only thing he put in his socks were the footnotes.

LOL!

Tim,His real name ... (Below threshold)
A fine scotch:

Tim,

His real name is Samuel Berg(l)er. That makes him "Sam Berg(l)er".




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