Okay, so maybe Sandy Berger’s booty didn’t have handwritten notes.
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.Okay, so maybe only copies were destroyed.
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.One problem: we only have Mr. Berger’s word that all of the copies were destroyed. How many copies were there again?
Another problem: a copy of a classified document has the same information on it as does the original (obviously), so, guess what? It’s just as classified as the original; it’s essential considered the same as an original document, falls under the same rules and is handled in the same manner.
Yet another problem: it’s illegal to destroy classified material in an improper manner and without proper authorization. Cutting up classified material with scissors is definitely an improper manner. (Being a former national security adviser does not mean that one has proper authorization. One can’t merely do what one wants with items involving national security due to past office. One reason among many: a former NSA isn't all the way in the loop as to the current importance of all classified information.)
Now, I’m not saying that Sandy Berger sold the copies to Al Quaeda or Li’l Kim of North Korea. What I am saying is that he should have been handled in the same manner that the average soldier/sailor/airman/marine with a Top Secret security clearance would have been handled—whether the deed was "accidental" or not. He should have been jailed and/or stripped of his security clearance for much longer than three years; this is what would have happened to the lowly civilian analyst who had done the same thing.
Meanwhile, conservatives don't do themselves any credit when they are as impervious to facts as the loony left.
It may not be a leftwing (or rightwing) conspiracy, editors of the Wall Street Journal, but it stinks in much the same manner as former President Clinton's national security failures and oversights did. So, WSJ, while you're berating your readers for their tin-foil hatted theories, you might want to note that Berger's proposed sentence doesn't do much to make us normal folk believe in equal justice, especially those of us who have actually held security clearances.
Previous Berger Burglary Posts:
UPDATE: Linked to the Beltway Traffic Jam.