Friday, April 01, 2005
Sandy Burglar: Clinton administration national security adviser Sandy Berger will plead guilty to a misdemeanor for taking classified documents out of the National Archives in his pants.
However, I think if some analyst or middle-manager at the CIA had done the exact same thing, they'd be facing a felony. The articles don't quote any experts on whether Berger will see any jail time -- he faces up to one year in jail.
He should serve at least a month, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
*UPDATE* After reading some of today's news reports and various bloggers takes on the issue, I'm of the opinion that I wasn't nearly outraged enough.
As a commentor noted, the plea deal calls for Berger to lose his security clearance for three years and pay a $10,000 fine -- and no jail time. The judge can choose to ignore the plea deal -- and he should.
I was under the impression that Berger's thefts had no real impact on the contents of the National Archives. Initial reporting led me to mistakenly believe that Berger had merely taken copies of documents and the Archives had the originals. Now this appears not to be true. While the underlying documents Berger pilfered were the same, notations in the margins by a variety of people were unique -- and now they are lost to us.
Berger was covering up for the Clinton administration -- instead of allowing us to learn from our mistakes in countering terrorism.
One of the Democratic Party's major problems in the last election, was that the majority of Americans just don't trust them to defend the nation -- Sandy Berger proved them right. As NRO's Jim Geraghty wrote:
Now... what about this deafening silence that we have heard on this from Berger's associates, since this story first surfaced? Will we be seeing any criticism of him from former President Clinton, Madeline Albright, Hillary, John Kerry, or any other prominent Democrat? Is the perception that this is no big deal, standard operating procedure for that White House, and is something to be swept under the rug?
Do any Democrats want to confront the unpleasant truths of how the Clinton White House handled terrorism?
Because there were some facts out there that were so damning, Sandy Berger was willing to break the law to make sure the public never saw them.
I don't think we should make a big deal about Berger's security clearance only being suspended and not revoked for life -- because he'll never get another government job that requires one as long as he lives -- any Democratic administration (heaven help us) would be completely nuts to hire him.
*UPDATE* Correction/clarification can be found here.