Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Posted by Mark on July 24, 2004

Missing Documents That Matter

So let me get this straight. Tom Daschle and company are all worried that Mr. Bush’s records, which the Democrats were screaming for, have been found. They are not however worried about the highly classified, code word accessible only documents a former National Security Advisor stuck in his pants.

Given that Berger walked out of the National Archives with classified material and 40 to 50 pages of notes he had taken, and that he failed to show these papers to archives officials for review before leaving, as he should have, can he be still trusted with classified material?

Archives officials say that Berger turned over the notes when contacted by archives workers about missing files, but other documents are still missing. A search of his home and office failed to locate the missing documents. Does this raise a question regarding Berger’s willingness and ability to safeguard classified information in his possession?

Berger’s attorney says his client’s actions were “inadvertent.” Inadvertence happens to be one of the conditions that can mitigate security concerns under the federal government’s adjudicative guidelines when considering violations of security regulations. Well, what caused archives officials to begin watching Berger as he worked with classified materials in their special room for reviewing documents? Officials familiar with the case told The Post that some documents were missing after Berger’s previous visit, so archives staffers coded the papers he was interested in reading to help them detect when other papers disappeared. After one of Berger’s visits, one source reported to The Post, those materials had disappeared from the files.

“Inadvertent” means not focusing the mind on the matter. Sources who tell The Post that archives officials witnessed Berger stuffing papers in his clothing may be of the view that the former national security adviser’s mind was focused wonderfully on what he was doing. Sandy Berger denies walking off with classified stuff in his pants. But getting to the truth is, in fact, what this is all about.

At issue is not Berger’s sense of injustice or embarrassment, or the gotcha game that is being played out by Republicans, or the Democratic establishment’s willingness to give Berger the benefit of the doubt because he’s one of their own.

In a time of war, the above issues seems far more relevant than George Bush’s National Guard service.

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