One incident is particularly suggestive. By his fourth and final visit to review documents and prepare for testimony before the 9/11 Commission, the Archives staff had grown suspicious of how Mr. Berger was handling the documents, so they numbered each one he was given in pencil on the back of the document. When one of them--No. 217--was apparently removed from the files by Mr. Berger, the staff reprinted a copy and replaced it for his review. According to the report, Mr. Berger then proceeded to slip the second copy "under his portfolio also." In other words, he stole the same document twice.So, unlike initial claims, his thefts were systematic. The question remains: what was he trying to cover up?
This gives the lie to Mr. Berger's story that he was taking the documents for his own convenience, to assist with his preparation for testimony to the commission. If that were the whole story, one copy of document 217 would surely have been sufficient. That document was an email pertaining to a draft of the Millennium After-Action Report on the attempted bombing of Los Angeles International Airport. The episode suggests that Mr. Berger had some other motive for removing No. 217, even if he was ultimately unsuccessful in doing so. But neither his April 2005 plea agreement, nor the Congressional report, nor the report of the Archives' Inspector General shed any light on what that motive might have been.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
The Sandy Berger Mystery
The Wall Street Journal sheds some light on Sandy Berger and his theft and destruction of classified documents related to the handling of bin Laden under the Clinton administration: