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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Do you care if national security criminal Sandy Berger is re-embraced by The Triangulatrix?

This is a story about a buffoon who became one of our nation's top national security officials, and then became a confessed national security criminal. His probation ended last week, and he still can't be given access to classified documents or information. But he's once again part of the "triumvirate" of senior officials advising She Who Would Be President on foreign policy matters.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger

Do you care?


On Thursday, September 8, 2005, former Clinton Administration National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger pleaded guilty to one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1924, "Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material." Section 1924(a) provides:

Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Because the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year, a violation of section 1924 is considered a "Class A misdemeanor" under 18 U.S.C. § 3359(a)(6), that being the most severe category of federal misdemeanor. (Crimes punishable for more than one but less than five years are Class E felonies.)

Under the terms of the judgment of conviction signed on Tuesday, September 13, 2005, Berger was fined $56,905.52 and "placed on probation for a term of 2 years," with his probation conditioned on his not committing "another federal, state, or local crime," and on his performance of 100 hours of community service. In addition to other standard conditions of probation (such as not associating with persons engaged in criminal activity, permitting visits by probation officers, and so forth), U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson also approved an unusual plea bargain term as a further condition of Berger's probation: "Defendant shall have no access to any classified material for a period of three (3) years."

Law professor Jonathan Adler sums up Berger's conviction and underlying crime(s) this way (h/t InstaPundit):

Berger repeatedly stole and destroyed classified documents, resulting in the temporary loss of his security clearance. Berger has never provided a plausible explanation for his actions. By voluntarily giving up his law license, he avoided a cross-examination from bar counsel, so we still do not know precisely what he was doing and why. Indeed, the only assurance that Berger did not destroy unique copies of classified national security documents — such as copies of reports containing notations in the margins and the like — comes from Berger himself, something that the 9/11 Commission was not told when it was preparing its report (as I noted here).

Betsy Newmark also has more recent links and quotes about the scope of Berger's thefts and document destruction.


Berger proceeded to show the world just how very, very seriously he took the conditions of his probation. According to the Washington Post, less than 48 hours after his sentencing

Berger was clocked going 88 mph in a 55-mph zone while driving eastbound on Interstate 66 in Fairfax on [Saturday,] Sept. 10, according to court records. Berger told court officers that "he was speeding because he was late to a meeting, and he was not aware of how fast he was traveling," according to a probation violation report filed in federal court.

The charge comes as some judges in Fairfax have begun cracking down on excessive speeding and other reckless driving violations, sentencing violators to jail time in some cases, defense lawyers said.

Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia; it carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine, although those limits are rarely approached, experts said. At the very least, Berger is likely to be fined and to have his driver's license suspended for several months if he is found guilty, according to traffic lawyers not connected to Berger's case.

An October 5th memorandum from the District of Columbia's Chief United States Probation Officer pointed out to Magistrate Judge Robinson that her options included revoking Berger's probation and re-sentencing Berger to a full one-year custodial term in a federal prison. But apparently, the quality of Magistrate Judge Robinson's mercy was not strained: According to the WaPo story, she "admonished Berger ... for the traffic charge during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia but left him on probation as recommended by the federal probation office, according to court records."

The WaPo article closed by reminding us all that "Berger stepped down as an adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) after the investigation [into his document theft] was disclosed last year [i.e., in 2004]."

As it turned out, Berger was only fined $250 when he pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charge in November 2005. But that guilty plea establishes that within 48 hours after being sentenced to probation for a crime punishable by a year's imprisonment, he proceeded to commit yet another.

According to my check today of the U.S. District Clerk's online docket sheet for Berger's criminal case, he appears to have satisfactorily completed the balance of his two years of supervised probation — that supervision having ended last week on September 7, 2007. But the special condition of his probation — the prohibition on his having access to classified materials — still has another year to run.


Although the accusation that Berger had committed an intentional, shameful abuse of the public trust was sufficient to shame John Kerry into disassociating himself from Berger in 2004, even Berger's guilty plea and conviction are obviously insufficient to similarly shame front-running 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). And beating John Kerry in shamelessness is an impressive accomplishment.

Last month, Newsweek's Michael Hirsh revealed, as part of a story about younger Clintonistas who were "defecting" to Barack Obama's campaign, that Berger was indeed functioning as a close adviser to Sen. Clinton (second ellipsis by Newsweek, boldface mine):

Younger former Clintonites ... are also wary of what one describes as Hillary's "closed circle," including her husband and a triumvirate of senior officials from his presidency — Holbrooke, Albright and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger. "There is a sense, consciously or subconsciously, that we don't want to just go back to the same team: Holbrooke, Sandy, Madeleine ... the same people having the same arguments about who's going to be in the room," says the midlevel Obama adviser. The Obama campaign has played on those fears, telling recruits they can rise faster with the Illinois senator. "The Obama pitch is, 'You'll never be in the inner circle' with Hillary," says Gene Sperling, Senator Clinton's top economic adviser.

In a follow-up online-only story this week, Hirsh wrote:

The more experienced Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has relied largely on her husband and a triumvirate of senior officials from his presidency — former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger (who tries to keep a low profile after pleading guilty in 2005 to misdemeanor charges of taking classified material without authorization).

Oh, how droll is that parenthetical — "tries to keep a low profile"? As of today, a Google search of Hillary's campaign website reveals only one reference to Berger, and that's in a blog comment quoting Berger from 1998 on the likelihood of Saddam having and being willing to use WMDs. By contrast, there are more than two dozen references to Madeline Albright.


Sen. Clinton is, of course, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and serves on its Airland, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, and Readiness and Management Support subcommittees. I presume that as a senator with those assignments, she has regular and routine access to classified documents and information. I also presume that, as a presidential candidate, she has regular and routine meetings with her senior staff to advise her on political aspects of her foreign policy positions.

Golly, I hope she's being careful not to let a shred of classified information slip into her discussions with the Triumvirate. Receiving classified information from Sen. Clinton over the coming year, even if unintentionally and inadvertently disclosed by her, would be a violation of Berger's probation. Him having voluntarily put himself into a situation in which he was likely to be privy to such unintentional and inadvertent disclosures would certainly be something a federal judge considering probation violations could and should consider. And even though he's no longer under active supervision, a violation of this continuing term of his probation could still send him back to prison for a year.

Brave, brave Sandy! I say that because surely he knows that if Hillary were to have a slip of the lips, then honest and ethical Hillary would be the first person to blow the whistle and report the probation violation to the court system and the press.

Wouldn't she?


Sen. Clinton's shamelessness with respect to convicted national security criminal Berger is, of course, entirely unsurprising, given who she chooses to remain married to. And I wrote as far back as July 2005 that the political rehabilitation of Sandy Berger had begun even before his formal sentencing, when the WaPo published an op-ed that Berger co-wrote with Bush-41 National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.

Blogging today on Outside the Beltway, Dr. James Joyner wonders whether

maybe we've reached the point where such things [as Berger's conviction and continuing court-ordered non-access to classified documents] don’t matter. Clinton’s husband left office with remarkably high public approval despite impeachment and conduct which led to him being stripped of his license to practice law. Meanwhile, the current administration continues to run war policy despite a string of scandals and near-record low approval ratings. Perhaps fealty to the law is no longer high on the list of public expectations for executive office.

Dr. Joyner's comparison is inapt. Whatever "scandals" surround it in the eyes of its partisan opponents, the only high-level official of the Bush-43 Administration who's been convicted of anything in a court of law is Scooter Libby — and he doesn't still work for Dick Cheney, and hasn't since he was indicted, and almost certainly never will again, even if his appeal succeeds in overturning that conviction. But Dr. Joyner's right on his implied main point — which is that it's only public opinion that can effectively disqualify someone like Sandy Berger from returning to extraordinary public power and influence.

I guarantee you that somewhere in the bowels of the Clintonista Research Room, right now there is someone running Technorati searches on Hirsh's Newsweek articles about Berger; someone's checking Google News; and someone's probably writing questions for the next focus group session or telephone poll to see just how strongly the name "Berger" skews the needle in the window of the public approval meter.

If lying down again with this dog gives her visible fleas that the voters may notice, then The Triangulatrix will drop him in the proverbial New York minute. Otherwise, she won't. If there's no furor now, he'll stay in the inner circle through the election. If she wins and there still hasn't been a public furor, or a very big one anyway, then you can bet the ranch that the U.S. Senate will again be asked for its advice and consent on Samuel R. Berger. In my post of April 2, 2005, which was entitled Beldar on Berger: If he comes back, blame politicians, not the prosecutors, I wrote (emphasis in original):

It's not a felony conviction. The buffoonish schtick — "he stuffed the documents into his pants and his socks, fer pete's sake, har har har!" — is what will stick in the public memory, not the federal criminal conviction for a confessed and indisputable breach of a public trust. And the groundwork has been laid for what suddenly seems to me to be a very likely PR campaign by the once-and-would-be-future Clintonista spinmeisters:

"That crazy Sandy, what a wonk! Yeah, he had that slap on the hand, but hey, he took his medicine like a mensch, Senators — and look at his career in context! Can you let this silly misstep from years ago, during the crazy post-9/11 hysteria, disqualify him from distinguished service in the Hillary Administration? Will you deny the public the benefit of his expertise and his insights for such a trivial matter? Why, that would be crass partisanship, Senators. The President and the public have forgiven him; indeed, the President pardoned him on her first day in office. Onward and upward, Senators!"

... The Constitution requires the Senate either to consent, or to withhold consent. But with respect to Sandy Berger, that future political judgment on the Senate floor ought to be — may not turn out to be, but ought to be, if principle can indeed prevail over spin — preordained by this week's legal judgment in a court of law: GUILTY.

He is guilty. Forever, undeniably — guilty. Pardoned or not, rehabilitated or not, penitent or not, buffoonish or not — self-admittedly guilty of deliberately, intentionally, cynically, cravenly betraying the public trust and the national interest of this country. And then he lied about it to the public, before finally confessing as part of his guilty plea.

Bookmark this post for 2009 — just in case. You might want to email a link to it to your senators then.

Or you might want to leave a blog comment now. Or write a letter to your favorite newspaper's editor, or maybe to the Probation Office for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Or phone in to your favorite talk radio program. Or mention it to your co-worker at the water cooler or your neighbor over the back fence. Because The Triangulatrix doesn't care herself — but she will care if enough of us care.

Posted by Beldar at 06:48 PM in 2008 Election, Law (2007), Politics (2007) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Do you care if national security criminal Sandy Berger is re-embraced by The Triangulatrix? and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» http://instapundit.com/archives2/009264.php from Instapundit.com (v.2)

Tracked on Sep 12, 2007 8:15:03 PM

» Berger's Back from baldilocks

Tracked on Sep 13, 2007 1:08:20 PM

» Sandy Berger is back as one of Hillary Clintons top foreign policy advisors from Sister Toldjah

Tracked on Sep 13, 2007 2:32:49 PM


(1) Charlie (Colorado) made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 8:35:39 PM | Permalink

Um, you sure that word isn't "triangulatrix"?

[Charlie, I agree, and I'm changing my original "Triangulatress" to your suggested "Triangulatrix" (a la executor/executrix) throughout. Thanks! — Beldar]

(2) red made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 8:53:24 PM | Permalink

Norman Hsu will not blow the whistle on Berger either.

Bush should have fired the top 50 officers at the CIA on September 12th 2001 and he should have made sure that this walking National Security Nightmare spent the same number of years in jail that an Army captain would have for malfeasance in handling the highest security documents.

We are in Danger.

(3) Denny Gill made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 9:00:19 PM | Permalink

Mrs. Clinton's dependence on Socks Berger and Normy Shoe-Shoe is all anyone really needs to know about where on the integrity meter her needle is hovering.

(4) Lou Minatti made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 9:00:21 PM | Permalink

Sandy Burglar?

(5) Carol Herman made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 9:14:08 PM | Permalink

Hillary's post menopausal. Well past her prime. And, in fact, as a presidential hopeful,she has fewer friends than Obama.

Obama? Well, it's not surprise to me that blacks, especially rich one's, like the billionnairess, Oprah; have their hearts set on REVENGE! (Too many "nice people" hired blacks for jobs that weren't considered "suvival" opportunities.) Hatred's been building up.

But I think they'll have to be satisified with the OJ jurors. The jury's out if more than that can be dropped onto their plates.

Affirmative action is another thing Americans tried; that's run its course.

My major worry is that, now, the Bonkeys know how to steal about 10% of the vote. SO it makes the 51-49 ratio "continue."

And, yes. They've got the Sandy Berg(l)er's on their team. So, where's the end to the mischief?

You could ask bigger questions, ya know? FDR left no paper trail. Never wrote things down;

And, he had the personality, that if you met him, he smiled so much, you were sure he "agreed."

Now, there's a book out there: CHRISTMAS TIME 1941. That tells the story of Winston Churchill's 3 weeks, staying at the White House. Following December 7th; were the talk was about the war. It's the place where things start.

Eleanor did not particular like Winston. And, when they were motoring about ... where on one excursion ... Winston was taken to Mt. Vernon; Winston was chattering away; when finally Eleanor interrupted with this:

"Look Winston, just because Franklin says 'yes, yes, yes,' doesn't mean he agrees with you. It only means he's paying attention."

So, Bill Clinton didn't even develop "that" art! Of making people believe whatever it was they wanted; wouldn't later be found to be true. Or false. Because the paper trail was SCANTY.

There's also Daisy Stuckley's recollections. And, letters. She was a close friend of FDR's. And, a distant cousin. SHe's the one who gifted FDR, Fala.

And, in one of her saved letters; Franklin wrote to her that "he had just met Winston Churchill. And, what struck him, is that Winston reminded him of an English version of Mayor LaGuardia.

Well, FDR did write to women who loved him so. But no one really suspected hanky panky. Because he had polio. People assume that this "knocks you out of commission."

Again, nobody's written the truth down. But you could assume anything you like.

That Hillary's a candidate? No doubt. That her major thrust, now, is to collect as much money as she can? You bet'cha. T'is the season.

Heck, even Newt Gingrich says he's about to dabble in the idea of running; till he amasses $30-million.

Reminds me about congress; where the zeroes add up to billions. And, then? You're talking money.

(6) jumbo made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 9:16:57 PM | Permalink

Good research, good information. Nicely done, Beldar.

As a retired career prosecutor with the Department of Justice, I remain truly amazed at not only the public apathy over Berger's felonies, but DOJ's disinterest as well. It was a slam-dunk case, and his motive was plain; yet no one in any authority at DOJ seemed to think this was a matter of real concern. "Well, he's humiliated, that's the real punishment", seems to have been the reasoning for letting this national security matter slide off the table.

I truly cannot understand. He was trying to alter history - and apparently did, inasmuch as he was successful in destroying some of the records he smuggles out in his BVDs.

Just imagine what must have been in those documents: a man who had been National Security Advisor, who had at one time been privy to any and all intelligence this country could get, was so desperate to destroy some documents (for most of which duplications of the printed matter had been made) that he was reduced to personally jamming papers into any place he thought would not be checked: socks, cuffs, inside shirt and pants, etc.

That was the act of a panicked man; or a man acting on behalf of panicked people. Obviously there was something damning and undeniable handwritten on the documents he chose for destruction.

But we'll never know what it was that stampeded Sandy Berger into going into a secure room which was under near-constant observation; a room in a place where he knew he would be searched going in and coming out.

That's the real indicator of how big this theft was: he had to know there was a good chance he would be caught and charged with a federal felony. And yet it was a risk he had to take. My God, what was in those papers?

(7) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 10:06:38 PM | Permalink

Revision note: To more correctly reflect the actual timing, I've re-written the sentence mid-post above which originally read: "Although Berger's disgraceful criminal conviction for an intentional abuse of the public trust was sufficient to shame John Kerry into disassociating himself from Berger in 2004, it is obviously insufficient to similarly shame front-running 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)."

(8) mrkwong made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 10:14:50 PM | Permalink

Mr Berger probably should be in jail for his sock-stuffing escapade, but as far as I'm concerned when it comes to traffic enforcement the Commonwealth of Virginia is a veritable nightmare - reason enough for me to avoid the place entirely so much as possible - and he has my sympathy for being hauled up on reckless for 88.

(9) htom made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 10:39:04 PM | Permalink

Do I care? Yes. Does this make any difference? No. Would I -- or any of a huge number of other people who have security clearances -- be spending ten-to-twenty years in a federal high-security prison if we were convicted of what he did? Yes.

I thought that the scheme was that when you were given great power you were supposedly held to higher standards. Still sounds like a good scheme to me.

(10) Chris made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 10:53:46 PM | Permalink

Great post but one nit to pick with you.

"In addition to other standard conditions of probation (such as not associating with persons engaged in criminal activity, permitting visits by probation officers, and so forth),..."

Shouldn't those standards automatically preclude the man from associating with Hillary? I mean, she's been engaged in some form of constant criminal activity going back to at least the cattle futures days. But I digress.

(11) Al made the following comment | Sep 12, 2007 11:16:39 PM | Permalink

Hsu was a wanted criminal. So a Hsu-Burgler connection would revoke probation. Yes?

(12) jane made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 12:24:31 AM | Permalink

Berger must know "things" and have docs about the Clintons and their WH which he's tucked away in his codpiece for a rainy day.

It's starting to rain already and he wants to share an umbrella with Hillary.

(13) Mica Vim Toot made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 1:32:21 AM | Permalink

So I'm scrolling down through comments here and after reading the first two lines of comment #5 I know, I just know, who it is I'm reading. I stop reading and scroll down to the end and see yes, of course. Carol Herman.

Is no blog safe from her?

Vim Toot!

(14) Ralph L made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 2:19:12 AM | Permalink

"the U.S. Senate will again be asked for its advice and consent on Samuel R. Berger"
which hasn't happened yet, because the President's staff doesn't need it.

(15) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 2:46:19 AM | Permalink

Ralph L, thanks for the comment. Some office-holders who are commonly described as members of the president's national security "team" do require Senate confirmation, but you're absolutely correct that the National Security Advisor, a/k/a "Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs," doesn't (although that's been threatened/proposed).

I suppose that makes it more likely than otherwise that Berger would merely reprise his role as National Security Advisor in a Clinton-44 Administration rather than serve as a cabinet officer or in another position requiring Senate confirmation.

(16) Ralph L made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 3:26:33 AM | Permalink

As a former holder of a security clearance, I would prefer Berger be run out of town on a rail. He may just be in it for the money his connections can bring, though his persona is unfortunately more comic than sinister.

I'd like to know why the Archives staff didn't call him on it sooner, in addition to why the DoJ went easy on him.

(17) Steve J. made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 3:51:53 AM | Permalink

Berger's Plea
Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Apr 6, 2005. pg. A.10

So we called Justice Department Public Integrity chief prosecutor Noel Hillman, who assured us that Mr. Berger did not deny any documents to history. "There is no evidence that he intended to destroy originals," said Mr. Hillman. "There is no evidence that he did destroy originals. We have objectively and affirmatively confirmed that the contents of all the five documents at issue exist today and were made available to the 9/11 Commission."

The Berger File
Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Apr 8, 2005. pg. A.12

Some people won't let a bad conspiracy theory go. We're referring to those who loudly assert that former NSC adviser Sandy Berger was trying to protect the Clinton Administration when he illegally removed copies of sensitive documents from the National Archives in late 2003.

On Wednesday, we quoted Justice Department prosecutor Noel Hillman that no original documents were destroyed, and that the contents of all five at issue still exist and were made available to the 9/11 Commission. But that point didn't register with some readers, who continue to suggest a vast, well, apparently a vast left- and right- wing conspiracy. The Washington Times, the Rocky Mountain News and former Clintonite Dick Morris have also been peddling dark suspicions based on misinformation.
The confusion seems to stem from the mistaken idea that there were handwritten notes by various Clinton Administration officials in the margins of these documents, which Mr. Berger may have been able to destroy. But that's simply an "urban myth," prosecutor Hillman tells us, based on a leak last July that was "so inaccurate as to be laughable." In fact, the five iterations of the anti-terror "after- action" report at issue in the case were printed out from a hard drive at the Archives and have no notations at all.

"Those documents, emphatically, without doubt -- I reviewed them myself -- don't have notations on them," Mr. Hillman tells us. Further, "there is no evidence after comprehensive investigation to suggest he took anything other than the five documents at issue and they didn't have notes." Mr. Berger's sentencing is scheduled for July, and Mr. Hillman assures us Justice's sentencing memo will lay out the facts and "make sure Mr. Berger explains what he did and why he did it." Meanwhile, conservatives don't do themselves any credit when they are as impervious to facts as the loony left.

(18) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 6:01:29 AM | Permalink

Steve J, thanks for the comment and the quotes. I don't think there's any doubt that the DoJ's official position is, and has always been, that Berger didn't steal or destroy anything unique.

But that's not a unanimous position. And rather than being based on an "urban legend," Prof. Adler's quote was sourced to this February 21, 2007, article from the WaPo, considerably more recent than the WSJ reports you've quoted, and based upon assertions made by Paul Brachfeld, inspector general of the National Archives and Records Administration, plus additional information released just this year.

DoJ lawyer Hillman's statements that you quote frankly puzzle me. Berger admitted to destroying at least one document that he stole. How could Hillman have read that one to see whether it was identical to others still at the Archives? And saying "there is no evidence to suggest" is a careful statement, one that lawyers immediately recognize to be different than "there is compelling evidence disproving." The absence of proof, as it's sometimes said, is not proof of absence.

We do know that the DoJ thought it important to negotiate for, and extract a concession from, Berger regarding the revocation of his security clearance and the requirement that he avoid access to classified information for three years. That certainly reflects a prosecutorial judgment that Berger was a continuing threat to national security. Why he will stop being a threat in another year is less clear. But the practical answer to that question is that three years is presumably all they could get through the plea; for some reason (perhaps relating to the presidential election cycle, or perhaps not) Berger was unwilling to agree to more; and on balance, using their discretion, they concluded (and the sentencing magistrate judge mostly agreed, although she upped the fine) that these were reasonable terms. As I wrote in 2005, I won't blame them if Berger claws his way out of his political grave with Hillary Clinton's help — I'd blame the public who would put up with that.

I don't claim to be anything close to an expert on the subject, although I remember being shocked to read that the National Archives didn't create indices to separately catalog documents with unique marginalia. I'll let my readers decide for themselves whether there are open questions about what Berger took, and why, and whether concealing that was part of his motivation in agreeing to surrender his law license for a mere misdemeanor on which he'd done no jail time. It doesn't really affect my conclusions here: Even if Berger did no more than what he admitted under oath in open court (after lying about it to the press), he's a national security criminal who deliberately abused the public trust.

(19) red made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 7:35:11 AM | Permalink

SteveJ said ..... Mr. Hillman assures us Justice's sentencing memo will lay out the facts and "make sure Mr. Berger explains what he did and why he did it." Meanwhile, conservatives don't do themselves any credit when they are as impervious to facts as the loony left.

Typical of the loony left to seize and distort one microscopic detail of a large issue.

'Oh, the documents did not have annotations!!!'

So you are perfectly comfortable with a document of extreme national interest, upon which 911 commision research was based being taken from this highly secury archive? One of several duplicate documents from which decisions will be made about security efforts to protect thousands of lives being taken from its secure repository and stuffed under a construction shack and you are ok with that?

Why were those particular documents taken? Why were they destroyed? Your blase unconcern for national security has been seen frequently by Democratic administration figures (John Deutsch) and is precisely why 911 happened. In a nutshell, this is why Democrats cannot be trusted with national security.

(20) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 7:59:11 AM | Permalink

Revision note: Added sentence to main post linking Betsy Newmark's blog, partially in further response to Steve J's comment above.

(21) Bruce Hayden made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 8:26:21 AM | Permalink

I hate thinking that I may be falling prey of a conspiracy theory, but it sure looked to me like Sandy Burglar fell on his sword protecting the Clinton Administration from the 9/11 Commission. That act of loyalty should result in a payoff of some sort or another, such as his old job back.

I frankly don't think though that Hillary will be able to pull that off - the last thing she will probably need is for a lot of people to be spelling the last name of her NSA as "Burglar". So, maybe a less visible position, maybe not exactly working for the government, but Hillary directly.

(22) anduril made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 9:20:35 AM | Permalink

Is it not also relevant to note at this juncture that Berger, before working in the Clinton NSC, was a lobbyist for Chinese interests of some sort? Maybe he'll be helping out with fundraising.

(23) dan dressel made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 9:21:25 AM | Permalink

An interesting part of the probation arrangement:

In addition to other standard conditions of probation (such as not associating with persons engaged in criminal activity, permitting visits by probation officers, and so forth),

Would association with Sen. Clinton's fundraising machine be considered a violation of this order? Especially if the rarely mentioned but still pending Peter Paul case, along with the Hsu scandal, get to the point of conviction?

I don't know enough about how probation works, but I would think their conviction and Berger's association with the campaign would be a violation.

(24) Charlie (Colorado) made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 9:38:45 AM | Permalink

Yay, I coined a word. I also liked the phonetic association with "tricks".

(25) Mahone made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 10:18:38 AM | Permalink

The leniency with which Sandy (the burglar) Burger was treated is mind blowing. The media is more than partially to blame for the public’s lack of awareness of the depth of Burger's crime and it's implications about what Billy Boy Clinton was covering up. If the media doesn't bang the drum, shout, and night after night use the news to point accusatory fingers at a criminal politician, it's a non-event to the Joe & Susie Public. Of course, if someone in the Bush administration had committed these same criminal acts – accessing the National Archives, then stealing and destroying national documents in an effort to protect the reputation of a president who was lax on national security – the major networks would be ringing the bells for impeachment and pompous senators would be holding hearings, perhaps parading for the cameras and showing mock indignation until Saint Peter blows his horn. Can anyone doubt this?

Once the Clinton's and their Machiavellian mob are in power again (and assuming the continued apathy and ignorance of Americans, it now looks inevitable) I fear that only something on the order of an MNOI (Much Needed Oswaldian Intervention) can stop them from permanently rendering this county and its economical and political system null and void. And here is the irony that lies bitter in the mouths of real Americans: while liberals eschew the south and look down their fine Bostonian noses at it, they elect and support the Clintons – a southern huckster, shirt-chasing politician and his shrewish, ice-blooded corrupt lawyer wife! The Clintons struck a bonanza by dressing up the pox-ridden tattered whore of southern populism in a white dress and selling her as a virgin and selling her to yankees who were horny to believe. Oh, Huey Long, how you must be laughing in hell.

The Clintons, Pelosi, Burger, and so on, represent the rot in the American soul, and as a group epitomize how my generation went brutally wrong; they are the embodiment of the axiom that 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Under the guise of peace, love and freedom, they mouthed platitudes about freedom, helping minorities, saving the children, the homeless, etc. etc. etc., and ascended the political ladder. The other vital ingredient of their power grab was the creation of a whipping boy: the rich. (Most democrats I've spoken with at depth still visual a republican as a fat cigar-smoking banker, wealthy capitalist, i.e., an archetype that was in operation in the first part of the last century and bears no similarity to today's working-class republicans, many of whom are republicans by default simply because they can't stomach the emotional illogical rants and failed socialist policies of the democrats). This is another grim irony that the general public is unaware of: the leftists in America, in the senate and the house, Hollywood, and elsewhere, are by far richer than conservatives. The leftist power structure in America is the embodiment of what it purports to hate.

These political monsters use tyranny and deceit in their quest for personal power. Bill Clinton, who typifies the group, has no moral core, and is at best no more than a affable sociopath who uses his political power to expedite his sexual lust. Hillary is . . . evil in a shirt.

I wish to God that George Bush and the republican party would get tough just for once and bring the jack boots down on these leftist crooks by using their own propaganda techniques, media saturation (the “big lie” technique pioneered by the Nazis), and so forth, to host them with their own petard. But, alas, George W. is pretty much a vagina, so I fear I wait in vain.
For America, as most of know and love it, the sands are running out. The vile reptile, Hillary, has uncoiled, and is winding her way slowly toward Washington – seeking once again to make the White House her lair.

(26) Jim Howard made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 10:36:07 AM | Permalink

It's obvious that Hillary needs Sandy in the tent peeing out. He knows too much to be left out in the cold.

Of course there is still the possibility that Sandy might someday decide to take a nap on railroad tracks.

(27) ech made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 10:41:04 AM | Permalink

Years ago, I had access to classified information. One of my jobs involved writing software for the fourth generation of a system for one of our customers. I used a bunch of subroutines from version 3 of the software in my code, so when I did the documentation of the code, I took a copy of the version 3 documentation and did a cut and paste of the flowcharts of the code I reused, filled out the paperwork to show I had destroyed this copy of the document and put the remains in the burn bag. About a year later I left that job and moved back to Houston.

I got another job and about 3 years after destroying the document, I got a call from my old employer: Where was the version 3 software design document I had checked out? hte reocord didn't show me turning it it (despite the fact I had gotten a clean debrief when I left the job). I was very, very worried.

I could have faced the exact felony that Mr. Berger did. I could have had my current clearance revoked, which would have meant I might be fired. I'd be unemployable at many aerospace companies since I would have had a clearance revoked. I explained what I had done and that I had filed the paperwork. A very long 2 days later I got a call that they had found the original of my cut-n-paste job, and found the form that I had filed reporting that the document had been destroyed. I was off the hook.

Berger got off light. Since he's a politico, he can get his clearances back by fiat from the White House. I'd have been SOL and unable to get a job that involves classified and public trust. He should have been offered a felony charge and permanent loss of clearances.

(28) SSSailor made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 10:41:05 AM | Permalink

Sandy Burger, Buffoon?
He swims with sharks. All those docs are not destroyed! Some where there exists an insurance account containing the poison pills or Sandy would visit with Vince Foster or sadly attempt a Norm Hsu.
One can only hope it gives Hill n Bill nightmares.
I should think that the Hunt is On!

(29) sherlock made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 11:53:42 AM | Permalink

"Those documents, emphatically, without doubt -- I reviewed them myself -- don't have notations on them," Mr. Hillman tells us.

How did Mr. Hillman review the documents that Berger shredded?

How can he make such a statement?

(30) vnjagvet made the following comment | Sep 13, 2007 8:17:13 PM | Permalink

Intellectual and political arrogance has been Hillary's hallmark throughout her public and private career.

Yet again it is on display for all to see in her handling of the Berger and Hsu affairs.

(31) Steve J. made the following comment | Sep 14, 2007 12:46:17 AM | Permalink

implications about what Billy Boy Clinton was covering up.

August 6, 2001
Presidential Daily Briefing

"Bin Laden determined to attack U.S."

(32) CK made the following comment | Sep 14, 2007 12:50:46 PM | Permalink

I don't believe Burger went to the archives without prior arrangements being made to
A. reduce chance of discovery, and to
B. control the response of the archives if cought.
The risks of discovery were too great. ie: the police were never called. Someone AT archives made that decision. Is it too late to check this out in depth?

(33) Carol Herman made the following comment | Sep 14, 2007 10:12:19 PM | Permalink

Let's take this one step further.

Because "if" Hillary got elected to the presidency, she'd discover how many MORE AMericans hate her; than ever suffered from BDS.

In other words?



Let's say "Hitler" won. Was a putz. And, was a leader of a small country. Ditto, Japan. So what do you really think could have happened here?

Look how many men volunteered to serve in WW2! Drafting citizens was not a problem.

Getting women to "help" by going into factories; was not a problem, either. Even though the 1940's world, was a "stay at home, moms" world, too. They just went to work because their men were away.

And, this country was gangbusters!

We had rationing. I was a little girl. So I remember playing with the WPA money.

And, now?

I happen to think the Bonkeys are actually a small-potatoes party. Nothing like what they formerly were.

Yes, you could say that the GOP doesn't have, or so far hasn't had, the good luck to bring lots of people into the GOP tent.

Well, it's like religion.

Some people moved off the pews. Doesn't make them athiests. You need a word? Agnostics. No need to peel out bucks to belong to a church group.

And, from here, I notice Guiliani swimming in mainstream waters.

And, Fred Thompson just came out and said "he doesn't belong to a church." Has a belief in his heart. Good enough for him. (Was good enough for Abraham Lincoln, too.)

SO, if there's a mishap? Or if the BOnkey's STEAL the White HOuse in 2008? You don't see the problems?

Hillary doesn't have George W. Bush' courage. SHE. CAN'T. TAKE. IT!

ANd, everybody and his uncle will be out to bite her.

Not that it's going to happen!

Again, the Japs didn't win. And, hitler didn't, either. But we made a great effort.

Now? We're expecting arabs to figure out what's good for them. (And, yes, I think they're sacrificing, heavily. And, that they will come through for US.)

The American Military in Iraq are loved by the kis. (I've seen Michael Totten's pictures. And, Michael Yon's pictures.)

Just because something's not covered by the fish wraps?

Hey, I'm HERE. And, this is not the enemy-legacy-media, ya know.

Yesterday, when the President addressed the nation, what did I do? I went to Little Green Footballs, and followe the live-blogging. Didn't even put on my TV. (Saving the money, because I cancelled my DISH.)

And, as stupid as this sounds to some of you ... I really believe that Hillary would rue the day she won; because everyone who has suffered through the Code Pink craziness, with their BDS, will give her back a taste of this crap. In spades.

Other than that? The left's gonna find a way to toss her out of the apple cart. How? Dunno. But Howie Dean was popular; way more popular than she. But he didn't carry enough weight. And, that was part of what made following politics in 2004, "interesting."

Ach, just to show you ignorance, Burg(l)er was sent to retrieve papers! FDR NEVER PUT ANYTHING IN WRITING. How stupid was Bill Clinton when his pants were zipped up?

I already know how stupid he was when they were around his ankles. (Wanna laugh? Drudge reported the Monica Lewinsky story, and added the bon mot "that the First Lady DID NOT KNOW!) She must'a been deaf to the sounds of her husband, "thrusting."

(34) Allan J. Favish made the following comment | Sep 16, 2007 5:11:39 PM | Permalink

Was Berger's conduct related to the alleged PDB that nobody wants to discuss: link.

(35) Steven Nowak made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 8:58:14 PM | Permalink

Dear William:

As a non-attorney, I can view reality from a different angle.

Though my pencil is sharp, my witts are at least a no. 2 pencil.

Your courage and leadership is present and illustrated.

My attaboys is the fact that I am trying to procure real-time live internet broadcasting from the server (hosting side) with my own software and hardware protocol.

God Bless and keep up the good work.

Steven Nowak

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