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Disturbing Berger Details

Count me as one of those who has never understood the disparate treatment of the Berger document theft and the supposed outing of Valerie Plame. (I contend that when you enter and exit work through the front gates of Langley daily that your employment there is not exactly the most closely guarded government secret.) Actually, I do understand the difference in the way the two matters were treated. It has to do with politics and media bias, but that is a whole 'nother ball of wax. I just think it is insanely ridiculous that the two matters were treated so differently.

Anyhow, since Kevin is covering the Libby trial today (and doing an excellent job of it, in fact) I am going to take the opportunity to revisit Berger, being prompted by a John Fund piece at the Wall Street Journal that included some information I had not previously seen.

Prosecutors accepted Mr. Berger's assurance that he had taken only five documents from the archives, even though on three of his four visits there he had access to original working papers of the National Security Council for which no adequate inventory exists. Nancy Smith, the archives official who provided the materials to Mr. Berger, said that she would "never know what if any original documents were missing." We have only Mr. Berger's word that he didn't take anything else. The Justice Department secured his agreement to take a polygraph on the matter, but never followed through and administered it.
I have read over and over again from Berger/Clinton apologists that Berger did not take any original documents from the archives. That does not appear to be the case. What I find even more disturbing than that is that "no adequate inventory exists" for some of the documents. These are classified documents -- working papers of the National Security Council -- and there is no adequate inventory? I find it almost impossible to get my brain around that fact, but will save that rant for another day. Fund goes on about the risks Berger took and about the lies that were told to the 9/11 Commission.

The issue is still relevant. Officials of the 9/11 Commission are now on record expressing "grave concern" about the materials to which Mr. Berger had access. A report from the National Archives Inspector General last month found he took extraordinary measures to spirit them out of the archives, including hiding them in his pockets and socks. He also went outside without an escort and put some documents under a construction trailer, from where he could later retrieve them.

After archives staff became suspicious of Mr. Berger during his third visit, they numbered some of the documents he looked at. After he left, they reviewed the documents and noted that No. 217 was missing. The next time he came, the staff gave him another copy of 217 with the comment that it had been inadvertently not made available to him during his previous visit. Mr. Berger appropriated the same document again.

There are conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job, and there are people who believe Bush lied about WMD then gave that as the main reason to invade Iraq knowing none would be found. I have a feeling those same people would find it impossible to believe that Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor destroyed documents which exposed a failings of the Clinton administration on the issue of fighting terrorism prior to 9/11. We may never know what was in those documents, but there are still at least a few people interested in getting answers.
The Inspector General's report found that the papers Mr. Berger took outlined the adequacy of the government's knowledge of terrorist threats in the U.S. in the final months of the Clinton administration--documents that could have been of some interest to the 9/11 Commission, before which Mr. Berger was scheduled to testify. The Washington Post buried news of the Inspector General's report on page 7; the New York Times dumped it on page 36.

But the report did catch the attention of Rep. Tom Davis, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who last month, while he was still committee chairman, finished his own probe of the Berger affair. This week he and 17 other top Republicans wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to detail the deficiencies the committee has found in the Justice Department's handling of the Berger case. They specifically asked him to administer the polygraph examination that Mr. Berger agreed to but was inexplicably never given.
Philip Zelikow and Daniel Marcus, respectively the executive director and general counsel of the 9/11 Commission, told Mr. Davis's investigators that they were never told Mr. Berger had access to original classified documents for which no copies existed. Had he known, Mr. Zelikow says, he would had "grave concern."

As it was, the 9/11 Commission was not informed of any investigation of Mr. Berger's alleged tampering with documents until only two days before his testimony, and then in only the most vague terms. Not only were the 9/11 Commission not told that Mr. Berger had access to original documents; they were affirmatively led to believe that the commission got all the documents that Mr. Berger took. Both Mr. Zelikow and Mr. Marcus understood Justice to mean that there was no way Mr. Berger had taken any other documents. An investigator for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee bluntly told Fox News last week: "The Justice Department lied to the 9/11 Commission about Sandy Berger. That is a fact." A Justice Department spokesman still insists it "has no evidence that Sandy Berger's actions deprived the 9/11 Commission of documents." But that raises the question: How hard did Justice look for such evidence?

I don't imagine the new majority in Congress will be looking for the answers to these questions either.


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Comments (34)

If I'd handled classified d... (Below threshold)

If I'd handled classified documents so carelessly when I was in the Air Force, destroying them at my whim, I'd have been in Leavenworth for 10 to 20. Copies or not, the things were classified.

Lori...when are you going t... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Lori...when are you going to revisit..Hillery's murder of Vince Foster?

Whatever you do please do not revisit comments made to the American people prior to the Invasion of Iraq...after all Congress voted to allow Berger to invade Iraq if he felt he had to do it...
Please do not revisit Colin Powell at the UN in front of the whole world...
Please do not revisit the elections of 2006...

yep...go to your trump card...Berger..
I should hope that every Republican running for office in 2008 point to Berger..
If there is a single reason for our problems in Jan 2007 it is the Berger cover-up....(oh yeah and Hillery killing Foster)
I can understand the MSM ignoring Berger..but for Drudge and FOX to play along...
God Bless your courage to stand alone....

Plame worked for the Direct... (Below threshold)

Plame worked for the Directorate of Operations (the COVERT wing of the CIA). This means on applications and questionaires she would list a front company as employer instead of "CIA". (sheesh! Thick!) And, yes, Berger should be in the pen. But there's gentlemen's agreements in place for people who "serve".

It seems the dhimmi's have ... (Below threshold)

It seems the dhimmi's have a habit of making records (and people for that matter) disappear. The military managed to lose all of Hanoi John's records except the phony awards or he is a bigger liar than we already know he is. Selective memories, selective records and hundreds of left over operatives in the FBI/CIA that are not loyal to their oath so they aren't loyal to the country. All of the leaks of top secret national security information should prove that to even Nogopostal. The NYT's needs to start a new game. Name that traitor (spy) in the government.

A government employee that will leak data for political purposes will allow your family to be killed and never turn their head. It happened on 9-11 as we are learning day to day. The proof was there, stolen by Berger and destroyed.

"But theres Gentlemens agre... (Below threshold)

"But theres Gentlemens agreements in place for people who serve."

For those who serve what? Al Quaeda? There own corrupt benefits?

Grow a brain please!

Thats "thier"... (Below threshold)

Thats "thier"

Nogo, perhaps it is appropr... (Below threshold)

Nogo, perhaps it is appropriate for Lori to also revisit some of your concerns. Be that as it may, it is very, very appropriate to uncover what Mr. Berger was up to.

Remember our President "ser... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Remember our President "serves" us. By the way in 2008 when women not "gentlemen" elect the Democratic President....Bryan...Please give your expertise on what an application and questionnaires for the CIA contain....at the very least you can provide a link to justify your opinion..."This means" ...ah what...
Don't get me wrong...I spew BS too...but I will at least link to a BS site that purports to support me.....
What I suggest is that you have the balls to stand on a corner of your city for at least two hours with a sign assigning blame to Berger...
But of course there is a difference between net ridicule...and standing on the corner..ridicule ...you are just a hamster running on a wheel going nowhere

ScrapIron during his derang... (Below threshold)

ScrapIron during his deranged ranting, makes an interesting point which I completly agree with;

A government employee that will leak data for political purposes will allow your family to be killed and never turn their head.

Like ScrapIron, I am also following the Libby trial with great interest to see how many roaches scurry out of the corners.

It's good to finaly see some light shined on this issue since Bush et al attemped to bury it through misdirection and obfuscation for three years.

So Scrappy, if Libby is found guilty, what do you think we should do to him? How about the others in the Bush admin that the trial uncovers? Trials for them?

914, You still got it wrong... (Below threshold)

914, You still got it wrong, Dill Weed. (And I said "serve", not serve; note them thar "scare quotes". Like I said: "Thick!"

Seriously...if there was an... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Seriously...if there was anything to the Berger thing...(remembering that we have an Attorney General that believes the Geneva Convention is "outdated") that if they could bust him they would?
Yep...think what ya want,,,there are still those who seriously believe 9/11 was an inside job...
I don't give a sh** about this...
How many tours...how many deaths..how many wounded..how many lucky to have had their lives changed forever..will it take to satisfy your fantasies?

Nogo,I don't know wh... (Below threshold)

I don't know why, but I am going to address some of your silly questions.

On Hillary-Vince Foster -- I have never claimed Hillary did anything to Foster so I don't know where you are coming from on that one, but you referenced Foster more times in that one comment than I have in my entire blogging career. Sounds to me like you have a bit of a Foster fixation there, not me.

As for what Bush told the public about Iraq and WMD before the invasion -- since John Kerry, Bill Clinton, the UN, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and scores of Democrat congressmen, and pretty much every other country on earth including freakin' France said the same things (some actually went further than Bush), then I don't know why you would single Bush out. Actually, I lied there -- I know exactly why you singled Bush out.

You made it obvious from your comment that the actions of Berger are of no concern whatsoever to you. You have no problem with a National Security Advisor stealing and destroying classified documents. We could not differ more in that respect. I would think you would want to know why the matter was swept under the rug, since the ones doing the sweeping were the Bush Justice Dept.

I don't know whether or not you read the entire post or if you just saw the subject and posted your rant. Since you don't reference anything from the post, I will assume you didn't read it. The point of the post, which you would know if you read it, is that much of what we have been told by people like you, was a lie. We (the general public) were not the only ones lied to. The liberals' beloved 9/11 commission was lied to also.

We were told that no original documents were taken. Read the quote in Fund's piece from the person in charge of the documents. They are not even sure which documents were taken. There was no inventory of some of the docs. The fact that doesn't bother you tells me more than I ever wanted to know about your attitude toward national security. Deflect all you want. If you want to talk about Vince Foster, then start your own blog and knock yourself out. That is your thing, not mine. I would like to know what Sandy Berger thought it worth taking the risk to steal and destroy. The fact that you couldn't care less just shows me how uninterested you are in the facts that led up to 9/11 and the issue of national security in general.

"I should hope," to use nog... (Below threshold)

"I should hope," to use nogo's phrase, that every American would see the problem with a former Secretary of State acting like a cheap silverware thief at the behest of a former U.S. president.

But sadly that's not the case.

And as many others here nogo acts like psuedo-editors-in-chief of Wizbang ignore the subject of the post and whine, complain and otherwise offer nothing of substance to the discussion.

nogo: right over your head,... (Below threshold)

nogo: right over your head, too! ZOOOOOM! Maybe you're all not political dilletants, after all, just saddled with smooth brains. Nogo, read the sentence about filling out forms, etc: now read again. Would you tell your EMPLOYER that you work somewhere else????

A point of information...I ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

A point of information...I place those that believe 9/11 as an inside job in the same category as those
who have no stake in the needless deaths in an occupation of Iraq that has nothing to do with saving our sorry asses from a bomb in our front yard...

nogo, i'm having a hard tim... (Below threshold)

nogo, i'm having a hard time following your first post. what does the death of Foster have to do with Sandy Berger's criminal actions? And congress voted to allow BERGER? to invade Iraq?

You seem to imply that Powell lied during the UN session. Is that what you are making an accusation of?

I don't think that anyone is saying that all of our problems are Berger's. However, I think that it is appropriate to question why he was given a slap on the wrist for stealing classified documents and then destroying them. It is quite likely that those destroyed documents contained information that would have been very relevant to the 9/11 commission. but we'll never know now.

i see this tactic a lot (from both sides) ignore the argument, and try to change the subject to something designed to make the original poster/questioner on the defensive. as far as i am concerned, when you do that, you're basically saying that you have no rational refutation, and have to rely on smoke and mirrors. is that what you are doing here, nogo? smoke and mirrors?

Ke I'll answer for Nogo.</p... (Below threshold)

Ke I'll answer for Nogo.


Several commenters are tryi... (Below threshold)

Several commenters are trying to explain to nogo why his remarks are irrelevant and/or inapt. Dilbert.com addressed this very issue on November 22, 2005, with the following post:

"A few days ago I invited the readers of my blog to tell me why I'm stupid. The results are in.
If you are new to the Internet, allow me to explain how to debate in this medium. When one person makes any kind of statement, all you need to do is apply one of these methods to make it sound stupid. Then go on the offensive.

1. Turn someone's generality into an absolute. For example, if someone makes a general statement that Americans celebrate Christmas, point out that some people are Jewish and so anyone who thinks that ALL Americans celebrate Christmas is stupid. (Bonus points for accusing the person of being anti-Semitic.)

2. Turn someone's factual statements into implied preferences. For example, if someone mentions that not all Catholic priests are pedophiles, accuse the person who said it of siding with pedophiles.

3. Turn factual statements into implied equivalents. For example, if someone says that Ghandi didn't eat cows, accuse the person of stupidly implying that cows deserve equal billing with Gandhi.

4. Omit key words. For example, if someone says that people can't eat rocks, accuse the person of being stupid for suggesting that people can't eat. Bonus points for arguing that some people CAN eat pebbles if they try hard enough.

5. Assume the dumbest interpretation. For example, if someone says that he can run a mile in 12 minutes, assume he means it happens underwater and argue that no one can hold his breath that long.

6. Hallucinate entirely different points. For example, if someone says apples grow on trees, accuse him of saying snakes have arms and then point out how stupid that is.

7. Use the intellectual laziness card. For example, if someone says that ice is cold, recommend that he take graduate courses in chemistry and meteorology before jumping to stupid conclusions that display a complete ignorance of the complexity of ice."

Nogo seems to be the type of comment-writer that dilbert.com had in mind. Anyone responding to him on this site can now just refer to the Dilbert rule by number, which will save everyone a lot of time and trouble.

Our congress/senate gave ap... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Our congress/senate gave approval to our President to invade Iraq if he felt it was necessary...He said it was...
I urge you to place pressure on your Republican elected officials to support our President's resolve for victory...
It is clear, with so many of us having family members in harms way, we would never place the lives of our relatives above our petty beliefs...
2006 elections were the result of stupid American voters being fooled...by 2008...regardless of those relatives killed/wounded/damaged...American voters will support those who shout MORE MORE MORE
after all..even though the Iraqi purple thumb govt does not meet now...they will soon...
Besides Iraq is so 2002-2006 ....IRAN is the nation of threat whose smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud...

Some simple questions to th... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Some simple questions to those those that diss me...
Are our troops in more danger now than in May 2003, and is any of this danger our President's fault?
Ya all give sprout cliches...
1. When was the last time you attended the burial of a troop killed in Iraq who lived in your town?
2. When have you lobbied your city/state to extend extra benefits to families who suffer economic hardship because a husband/wife is in Iraq?
3. When did you volunteer at your local V.A. Hospital?
4. When was the last time you spoke to a troop with multiple tours in Iraq?
5. When did you last serve in the military?
6. Why aren't you standing on a busy corner of your city with a sign saying "I support our President and our Surge"
....Where is a little bit of your courage that you expect of our brave troops...
...didn't think so...but that's ok..
irony is the fulcrum of our lives....

Gee nogo, when's the last t... (Below threshold)

Gee nogo, when's the last time you did any of that? Since people like you "care" for our soldiers more than anyone else, I would think you would be donating half your income to Walter Reed every year.

Steve,Good number ... (Below threshold)


Good number 5 buddy.

Diss you, NoGo ? That does... (Below threshold)

Diss you, NoGo ? That doesn't begin to cover it....

Lorie"Count me ... (Below threshold)


"Count me as one of those who has never understood the disparate treatment of the Berger document theft and the supposed outing of Valerie Plame."

Of course you wouldn't, dear. One is a Democrat and the other a Republican.

I imagine that you were all for the Clinton impeachment but thought that Nixon should have been canonized rather than driven from office.

You are forever the partisan, strianing and sifting for anything you can stretch to nail a Democrat while you swallow the Leader's dismantling of the Constitution.

That a National Security Ad... (Below threshold)

That a National Security Adviser of ANY President would use his security clearance to purloin classified documents relating to one of the most tragic events of our history, the lead up to 9/11, is a felony, but even more so--it's an outrage that instead of our being sure we've analyzed ALL of the evidence re our pre-9/11 capabilities, we may never have that analysis, due to this cretin.

Hey puke,First, I am... (Below threshold)

Hey puke,
First, I am not your dear. Second, you "imagine" wrong. Third, if thinking that stealing classified national security documents that might give some insight into what led up to 9/11 is partisan, then that is the darnedest definition I have ever heard of it.

As I said, not only am I against the theft of classified docs, but I am in favor to punishing such a crime, not sweeping it under the rug as it appears the Bush justice department may have done. So, who is the partisan one here? I am suggesting investigating why the crime was treated as it was, which might make the Bush administration look bad, but you can't see past the fact that Berger worked for Clinton and was covering his butt so you will do anything to apologize for him or at the very least, change the subject. I never defended Nixon, but you have no problem defending Berger, (or at the very least criticizing me for wanting to find the truth). That just about says it all.

Commercial over. Back to 24 now.

You are forever th... (Below threshold)
You are forever the partisan, strianing and sifting for anything you can stretch to nail a Democrat while you swallow the Leader's dismantling of the Constitution.

Posted by: aRepukelican at January 29, 2007 09:16 PM

Has the "leader" pulled out your tongue or is he going to send you to some internment camp? If not, the allusions to Kimmy are at best pathetic puke boy.

You can't expect any better... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

You can't expect any better from the liberals especially most of those on this forum. The liberals are simply hypocritical and dishonest when it comes to ethics and national security. I don't take their words seriously at all. The liberal left is simply not honest enough to admit who they are. More civil liberals on this forum will simply hide behind the cloak of "civility" to avoid condemning the obviously contemptible behaviors of the dem/liberal leaders.

The liberal left is truly in a moral sewage.

BTW, I would expect the lib... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

BTW, I would expect the liberals to continue to cover up, to make excuse for Bergers or they will divert to change the topics. Don't expect any better from them. Look at their actions. If they are honest and decent, Hanoi Jane and John Kerry would have been run out of town. Harry Reid would also resign by now!

The dems are simply beyond contempt. Expect them to do and say anything to deceive people and to keep their political power.

one person kows exactly ewh... (Below threshold)

one person kows exactly ewhat was taken/destroyed etc: sandy berger.


Allow me to summarize the d... (Below threshold)

Allow me to summarize the difference between Libby's and Berger's problems.

Libby made statements to a grand jury that conflicted other statements. The event being investigated was apparently not a crime since Richard Armitage has been fingered as the source and isn't facing charges.

Berger, former National Security Adviser, stole, repeatedly and willfully, classified documents.

If you don't believe that media bias exists, please explain the reason for the difference in the media coverage of the two events.

Mike, it's called BDS, and ... (Below threshold)

Mike, it's called BDS, and it's lethal, mentally.

We should hope that Preside... (Below threshold)

We should hope that President Carter is appointed to investigate Berger's actions.

I suspect he'll find the jooooooooos are responsible

For an unsympathetic but de... (Below threshold)

For an unsympathetic but deeply factual view on Sandy Berger's malfeasance, see

SANDY BERGER SHOULD BE IN JAIL (Nimble Books, January 2007)








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