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Topic: Sandy Berger

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  1. #1

    Sandy Berger

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    Do you realize what would be happening right now if it was Condie Rice who went to the National Archives, stuffed documents down her pants and waltzed off with classified information?

    I think the DNC response would be off the scale.

    There has to be more to this story though. Either the eye witness who claims to have seen him stuffing documents down his pants is full of crap or Berger had something to hide.

    I think this raises another issue though. Has the government gone too far in classifying documents? I've argued with my roommate that I believe the classifying of intelligence is vital to having an upperhand on terrorism. My roommate disagrees. He thinks all intelligence should be declassified and given to the people which would, on one hand let our enemies know what we know, but on the other hand it would empower the citizens and create a sort of net across the country. What do you guys think?
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare

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  2. #2

    Re: Sandy Berger

    Are we talking about ALL classified information or just classified intelligence information that has been gathered?

    I'm sure there are plenty of scenarios one could come up with where gathered intelligence, if revealed would compromise our security. For instance, if we had a means of gathering that intel, such as specific monitoring capabilities, or the presence of an undercover agent, divulging this information would jeopardize these. The agent could be killed, or the surveillance apparatus could be circumvented thus rendering it ineffective.

    As for the classification of information in general, obviously the release of certain information could most definitely harm our security. For instance, if we declassified troop positions, or revealed the limitations in our government network security, our enemies would have an easy time exploiting our weaknesses.

    I think in both cases, there is most definitely a place for classification. But I do think it's often used to cover up wrongdoing, and there must be some check against that.

  3. #3

    Re: Sandy Berger

    I'm waiting to learn more about the incident before I pass judgement. But a crook is a crook and a cheat is a cheat, regardless of party.

    Regarding motivations, Berger would be motivated to keep controversial information from his adversaries - and the adversaries are motivated to smear Berger and anybody else associated with the Clintons.

    Time will tell. I hope.

  4. #4

    Re: Sandy Berger

    This is of course a highly charged issue given the election..etc.

    There's lots of speculation about this..and "unamed source" reporting.

    But, here's the basics..and this comes from Berger and his lawyer:
    He was at the national archive to do research and find related documents for the 9/11 commission hearing into Clinton era efforts and polcies when Berger was NSA under Clinton.

    While he was there, he took personal "notes"..and put them in his pants pockets and coat pockets..but had inadvertantly..collected a few original classified documents...that accidently got gathered up into his breifcase.

    He then, just waltzed out without stopping to have anything vetted before leaving.

    The rule is...at Nat Arhcives..EVEN your "own" notes you take have to be vetted and checked for clearance before leaving. Mainly because a person could have been making reference to or copying or making notes of classified information. That all has to be checked. It's not an "obscure" rule..and anybody who's a former NSA advisor would well know this.

    But, that's their position..that it was just an honest mistake.

    Now, for the "unamed source" reporting. This suggests..that the staff at the archives...noticed after Berger had visited the first time..there were some documents missing. They inquired with a former Clinton appointee to look into it. Berger, allegdgedly sent some documents back to archive office through Lindsay...but the archive people noted that the documents he sent back..were actually "different" ones than they had originally found missing. This led them to believe there were "more" documents taken than they had originally thought and they started looking into exactly what was missing.

    The next time Berger came into the archive..they watched him through the glass windows...apparently hide documents. According to one source..in his socks..and pants...and coat. That's when it was turned over to the FBI. The FBI actually went to his home and searched it. Some of the documents were handed over by Berger..but some are still missing for which berger and his lawyer claim...must have accidently gotten thrown away somehow.

    Their position is..that there are other copies of such documents that exist..and so taking them was not preventing information from being known. Other side is saying..some of those documents were originals...not copies. I would guess that there should still be some copies of them around somewhere.

    The further allegation that broke..that has yet to be proven..is that some of the missing documents don't have anything to do with Clinton era terroism...but homeland security at airports. And oddly enough, the following week after such documents were missing after a Berger visit..Kerry does a speech mentioning what a poor job Bush is doing on homeland security specifically at airports...etc. According to the speculation..unproven...this also raised eyebrows..because some of the information used in Kerry's speech..were things that this classified document..was indirectly about.

    Also allegedly..among those documents that are "Missing"..were drafts of Clarkes report during the Clinton admin on the 2000 security against AlQueda threats. Supposedly..among the documents he took.that the 9/11 commission never saw...was a draft of a scathing review by Clarke of the job they did at that time.

    Who knows? Those are just allegations at this point..that havent been proven.

    But, I will say this...the fact that a former NSA adivsor..would walk out of archive room...and not have anything vetted..is a "very" serious charge. Criminal even. It's not something you "forget" to do. And that's not an excuse. According to Berger and his lawyer...the documents he "um...hid"..were his own notes..and he was not conciously aware that he had classified documents amoung his papers in his brief case. Of course, he apparently did this..or made this "mistake" more than once. But, even at that...not having his notes vetted on the way out..is a serious oversite for a former NSA advisor who darn well knows what the rules are...and why they are there.

    During the Clinton admin..there was a whole "string" of just this kind of thing...having to do wtih documents and files..missing things..wiped hard drives..etc..etc. Just to look at them all on one page is just overwhelming.

  5. #5

    Re: Sandy Berger

    If Berger actually did anything illegal, he should go down for it. But since no one really knows the details yet (I've heard many conflicting stories), I think we should wait to pass judgment.

    The timing of this revelation (two days before the 9/11 report) is suspect, considering they've been investigating Berger for nine months.

  6. #6

    Re: Sandy Berger

    Thanks for the info.

    Another issue I see here is why would the NA let him walk out unvetted? He had a briefcase right? So when he's about to leave, with his briefcase, he just states that there's nothing in the briefcase and that's good enough for the security guys there? That seems odd.

    True Rob. And just for the record, I'm not passing judgment. I'm merely pointing out the discrepencies between the alleged "story" and the alleged "facts", both of which could be completely false.
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare

    homepage

  7. #7

    Re: Sandy Berger

    Uh-oh. Do we have another Watergate brewing?

  8. #8

    Re: Sandy Berger

    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Wright
    Uh-oh. Do we have another Watergate brewing?
    Nothing that serious, I think.

    Being in the military and having a security clearance myself, accidents CAN happen, but if it is true that he intentionally stuffed documents in his clothes to hide them, then he needs to be prosecuted.

    Anyone that deals with classified information is well aware of the protocol.

    I wonder what was in the documents.

  9. #9

    Re: Sandy Berger

    Quote Originally Posted by His Frogness
    Do you realize what would be happening right now if it was Condie Rice who went to the National Archives, stuffed documents down her pants and waltzed off with classified information?

    I think the DNC response would be off the scale.

    There has to be more to this story though. Either the eye witness who claims to have seen him stuffing documents down his pants is full of crap or Berger had something to hide.

    I think this raises another issue though. Has the government gone too far in classifying documents? I've argued with my roommate that I believe the classifying of intelligence is vital to having an upperhand on terrorism. My roommate disagrees. He thinks all intelligence should be declassified and given to the people which would, on one hand let our enemies know what we know, but on the other hand it would empower the citizens and create a sort of net across the country. What do you guys think?
    This could be a serious issue. Need to read more. As far as Condi Rice stealing documents goes, how bout this one? Dick Cheney has refused to give up his energy documents which prove there was a conspiracy against California. Or how about the 30 pages about the Saudis and 911 that Bush blacked out? Or how about the missing files on Bush's military record? When they went to retrieve the backups from microfish, they were corrupted. or how about the female translator (Simone .........) who is trying to blow the whistle on 911 and what we knew and the government has stepped in and ruled that she must keep silent because of nation security.

  10. #10

    Re: Sandy Berger

    Quote Originally Posted by wes37
    Nothing that serious, I think.

    Being in the military and having a security clearance myself, accidents CAN happen, but if it is true that he intentionally stuffed documents in his clothes to hide them, then he needs to be prosecuted.

    Anyone that deals with classified information is well aware of the protocol.

    I wonder what was in the documents.
    Whatever was in the documents, apparently all of them were seen by the 9/11 commission before Berger ever got to them. So I'm skeptical that he was trying to hide anything. Add to that the fact that many people have access to those same documents -- including people whose security clearances have lapsed.

    All this nonsense about him stuffing classified documents down his pants is pretty silly. When people use the National Archives they're watched all the time. And had he been seen stuffing papers down his pants, doesn't logic dictate that somebody would have busted him right then and there?

    Berger claims that he had a leather portfolio, had his own papers in them, and when he was gathering papers up, some of the classified documents got mixed in with his. He returned all items he was asked to return except one, which he says he can't locate. What he stuffed in a coat pocket were some notes he had taken.

    Sounds fishy, but also plausable. It would be nice if we could get the real story (whatever that might be) rather than the hysteria being whipped up by the corporate media.

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