Sandy Berger's Little Mistake

by Bob Wilson

Sandy Berger the former Clinton Administration National Security Advisor, said he made a "mistake" and was just "sloppy" when an FBI investigation revealed that he had stolen Top Secret memos and documents from the National Archives relating to the events surrounding al-Qaida attacks on America during the 1990s and in the year 2000. Archive security notified the FBI when they discovered documents missing, and saw Berger stuffing papers into his pants, socks, and a leather briefcase.

Upon investigation, Berger admitted that he had "made a mistake," and took them. Unfortunately, Berger says he "lost" some of the documents, but that he returned some of them after his the FBI searched his home. Amazingly, he even returned some documents that the Archive hadn't yet noted were missing! He apologized and said he had just been "sloppy." This, from the former "National Security" advisor to the previous President of the United States, and security advisor to the current Democratic candidate for president.

A "mistake" is not a crime in most instances. Theft of Top Secret documents is a Federal crime that is supposed to carry extremely serious consequences. Being "sloppy" isn't a crime. Clinton's affairs might be described as "sloppy." Lying under oath about them IS a crime worthy of impeachment, depending apparently upon one's definition of the word "is." Mr. Burger would have us believe that he was simply unaware of the procedures surrounding the security of Top Secret documents. He says he should have known that stuffing them in his pants and walking out might be a breach of security. For his "mistake" Mr. Berger has resigned as John Kerry's advisor on national security affairs.

The truly amazing fact is that, in the context of political scandals, Watergate pales by comparison! The Watergate scandal that resulted in Nixon resigning from office was essentially trivial in comparison. Nixon was (and still is) vilified for pondering a cover up of a break-in by low level political operatives into the files of a left-wing political supporter of the Democratic presidential nominee. They were looking for evidence of Communist ties to the McGovern campaign, and this transgression lives on as the Democrat's ultimate immortal example of Republican "dirty tricks."

Democrats are defending Mr. Berger by attacking the "timing" of the revelation that he was, ah, "sloppy." They stand behind his contention that he didn't really commit a crime, by stuffing Top Secret material in his pants and removing them from Federal custody. The Democrat spinmasters say that the revelation that Mr. Berger had "mistakenly" stuffed certain documents in his pants relating to how Clinton handled terrorism prior to 9/11 is just Republican trickery and an attempt by Bush to divert American's attention from his failures in the unjust war in Iraq.

So, ultimately it comes down to whether you accept the Democrat's spin that Mr. Berger was just "sloppy" and "mistakenly" stuffed Top Secret documents relating to terrorism threats into his pants prior to the 9/11 Commission investigation, or whether you have at least a minimal grasp of the obvious. With that, you would have to conclude that Sandy Berger attempted to keep information about terrorism, and the previous administration's approach to it, from the American people and the 9/11 Commission. Of course, you "middle-of-the-road" folks might just choose to believe that Sandy Berger was merely gathering material for a book.