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Thread: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Clinton’s Former Aide Drops Windfall in the Lap of Bush Campaign

    DEBKAfile Special Report from Washington

    July 20, 2004, 2:35 PM (GMT+02:00)




    Former president Bill Clinton’s national security adviser, Sandy Berger, is under criminal investigation and subject to FBI searches of his home and his office since he was caught – probably by hidden cameras – purloining copies of highly classified terrorism documents and his own handwritten notes from a secure reading room at the National Archives in Washington. This event took place, according to the Associated Press, during preparations to testify at the Sept. 11 commission hearings after Clinton asked him to review and select the administration documents to be turned over to the panel.

    This year, Berger has been informally advising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

    Even after Berger voluntarily returned documents, two or three drafts are still missing of a sensitive, after-action report criticizing the Clinton administration’s handling of al Qaeda millennium threats and identifying American vulnerabilities at airports and sea ports.

    The former national security adviser was also found in possession of a small number of classified papers containing his handwritten notes from the Middle East peace talks during the 1990s. They are not the focus of the current criminal probe.

    The FBI searches occurred after National Archives employees reported they saw Berger place documents in his jacket and pants and then noticed some documents missing. Three still are. Berger admitted to “sloppiness” and “inadvertently” taking copies of classified documents. They were all immediately returned, he said, except for a few that he had “apparently accidentally discarded.”

    The Berger affair is pennies from heaven for the Bush presidential campaign with important bearing on the inquiries into intelligence performance prior to the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War. It is also of deep significance for Israel.

    For months, President George W. Bush and vice president Dick Cheney have been under unremitting attack in official probes, films and books for bad decisions and “flawed intelligence” in the war on terrorism and for misrepresenting the grounds for going to war in Iraq. In the privacy of the Bush White House, presidential aides grumble that the Clinton administration’s failure to properly handle rising threats from Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in the 1990s left these ticking bombs in Bush’s lap. Clinton was said to have ignored the many warnings reaching him, including a specific threat against New York’s World Trade Center. However, Bush has always forbidden his campaign staff to point the finger at his predecessor in the White House for the ills of today, just as Clinton refrains from criticizing the incumbent.

    The actions of his former aide have changed these rules.

    Presidential challenger Kerry will have to think twice before attacking Bush on national security issues lest he lay himself open to reminders that a former Clinton aide and his own adviser was caught red-handed misappropriating classified materials that revealed how a Democratic president mishandled the threat of terror.

    Berger was closely involved in more than one Labor-led Israeli government’s controversial handling of the peace process during the Clinton years. A founding father of Israel’s dovish Peace Now movement, the adviser was a friend of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak. He was less close to Shimon Peres, preferring to deal with his aide Yossi Bailin, the current leader of Israel’s far left Yahad party.

    According to DEBKAfile’s sources, Berger removed his notes from Middle East peace talks from the National Archives in view of the unfortunate sequels of the Clinton presidency’s two central, mutually supportive policies. On the one hand, Clinton pushed hard for accommodations between Israel, the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors, while at the same time nurturing American ties in the Arab and Muslim world. He hoped to gain the trust of Arab and Muslim leaders for peace with Israel while persuading the Jewish state to be forthcoming with concessions. However, Clinton’s expectation of a Middle East peace triumph at the White House in the wake of the 1993 Oslo Accords melted down in the ensuing blight of the Palestinian suicide terror confrontation that continues to beset the region.

    The consequences of his second policy line were still more sweeping.

    In deciding to go to war in 1998 on the Muslim Albanian side of the Balkans against the Christian Serbs, Clinton may have been influenced by the atrocities committed there but he was in essence pursuing his global strategy. He chose to elide the fact that Iranian Revolutionary Guards and al Qaeda cells - most Saudi-dominated - were fighting alongside Albanian and Bosnian Muslims – as did his advisers, especially Berger and secretary of state Madeline Albright. Islamic extremists and Arab terrorists as well as the Saddam regime prospered unnoticed in the Clinton years. Al Qaeda was allowed to build up in the Balkans a central logistical base for operations in Europe, from which the Hamburg cell later derived back-up for plotting the 9/11 attacks against America.

    Berger is the second Clinton-era official to face prosecution for withdrawing classified materials from secure premises. Former CIA director John Deutsch was pardoned by Clinton hours before he left office and saved from paying the price for taking home laptops with classified materials in 1996. Earlier, Deutsch resigned.

    The case of Sandy Berger differs because the charges against him arise from the request of a former president in connection with an official probe. There will always be a question hanging over the precise nature of this request. Did the former adviser copy and “discard” documents at Clinton’s behest or his own initiative? In the absence of answers, a cloud of suspicion will hang over the affair and almost certainly influence American opinion before and after November’s presidential election.

    Other related links....

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2690459

    http://www.suntimes.com/output/terro...ws-berg20.html
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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    I saw this story on MSNBC this morning. Interesting. There have also been numerous reports this week that cast doubt upon the credibility of another informal Kerry adviser, Joe Wilson. Intelligence reports now indicate that Saddam's Iraq did attempt to acquire "yellow cake" and Wilson has admitted that his CIA wife did at least suggest him for the job investigating the "yellow cake" issue, contrary to Wilson's prior assertions.
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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    A sensitive after-action report on the foiled Millennium bomb plot, portions of which allegedly were pilfered by former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, sounded the alarm that al-Qaida operatives had entered the U.S. and were preparing to strike.

    In testimony before the 9/11 Commission in April, Attorney General John Ashcroft detailed the highly classified March 2000 document, saying it contained a set of sweeping recommendations on how to combat the al-Qaida threat that were completely ignored by the Clinton White House.

    "The NSC's Millennium After-Action Review declares that the United States barely missed major terrorist attacks in 1999 – with luck playing a major role," Ashcroft told the Commission.

    "Among the many vulnerabilities in homeland defenses identified, the Justice Department's surveillance and FISA operations were specifically criticized for their glaring weaknesses."

    "It is clear from the review," declared Ashcroft, "that actions taken in the Millennium period should not be the operating model for the U.S. government."

    The Millennium plot review warned the Clinton administration "of a substantial al-Qaida network and affiliated foreign terrorist presence within the U.S., capable of supporting additional terrorist attacks here," the Bush attorney general said.

    "Furthermore, fully seventeen months before the September 11 attacks, the review recommends disrupting the al Qaida network and terrorist presence here using immigration violations, minor criminal infractions, and tougher visa and border controls," he explained.

    Ashcroft's comments suggested why a former Clinton national security official (i.e. Berger) might not want the information contained in the Millennium review to ever see the light of day.
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Smoke and mirrors. Berger briefed Condoleeza Rice on Al Qaeda and the threate of imminent attacks when Bush Jr. was moving in to the White House. Advice her boss most likely told her to ignore or not to worry so much about.

    He just sounds like a bumbling, disorganized fool in this article though, just like any other politician on either side of the coin.

    Not sure what all the hub-bub is about over this. He wasn't even charged with anything.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Quote Originally Posted by CrackerJack
    Smoke and mirrors. Berger briefed Condoleeza Rice on Al Qaeda and the threate of imminent attacks when Bush Jr. was moving in to the White House. Advice her boss most likely told her to ignore or not to worry so much about.

    He just sounds like a bumbling, disorganized fool in this article though, just like any other politician on either side of the coin.

    Not sure what all the hub-bub is about over this. He wasn't even charged with anything.
    Not yet because it's still ongoing. But then when you purposely pilfer from the National Archives, and then, "accidentally discard" highly classified terrorism documents that deal solely with the former adminstration inwhich you served.... then what are people to think/presume? No big deal?

    What was in those documents that he felt he needed to go out on a limb and basically do such a STUPID act (and yes, a crime) by stealing and then destroying some of them?

    Maybe some one can explain that to us all?
    Last edited by GAC; 07-20-2004 at 09:48 AM.
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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    The talk radio stations I tuned in this morning were all over this story, too. The hosts seem convinced that there was something nefarious behind Berger's actions.

    I'm not, because the content of the documents is surely preserved elsewhere, which limits the value of the originals. Weren't these documents also microfilmed or copied for the 9/11 committee?
    /r/reds

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted
    I'm not, because the content of the documents is surely preserved elsewhere, which limits the value of the originals. Weren't these documents also microfilmed or copied for the 9/11 committee?
    The NA says they are. Which makes me wonder why Berger did what he did? Employees there stated that they watched him stuff documents into his pockets/pants, and that he was being watched on camera.

    And this guys was a security advisor?
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC
    Employees there stated that they watched him stuff documents into his pockets/pants, and that he was being watched on camera.
    In that case, I hope the media makes a Freedom of Information Act request for that video. Having those images splashed all over the news for a few days is probably a fitting punishment for this crime.

    What it does not warrant is a lengthy investigation or messy hearings.
    /r/reds

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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    (From The Note)

    David Gergen, a former advisor to both Democratic and Republican presidents, vouched for Berger on NBC's "Today," calling him a "hero" in the war on terror, a man of "utter integrity" and saying it is "suspicious that this would leak" just before the release of the 9/11 Commission's report.

    "It's not even clear to (Berger) that this investigation is still under way," Gergen said, "& no charges have been brought against him."

    When NBC's Katie Couric followed up and asked Gergen if he was suggesting that this story might be coming out now as a "distraction" to the 9/11 Commission's report, Gergen said, "It has those overtones. Let's let more facts come out."

    Gergen said that he doesn't think the Berger story "reflects on Sen. Kerry." He did say, however, that "what would hurt the Kerry campaign would be if Sandy would have to withdraw" from his role as an advisor to the Kerry campaign.

    more…
    http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/TheNote/Morning...

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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Well that settles it then! Gergen, a former Clinton advisor, says what Berger did was innocent.

    Case closed
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC
    Well that settles it then! Gergen, a former Clinton advisor, says what Berger did was innocent.

    Case closed
    I don't think I said that. But I can tell you it is not unusual for people to mistakenly take classified materials. But you can go ahead and listen to the Republican talking points put out to the media for the next three days if it pleases you.

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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBloodedAmerican
    But I can tell you it is not unusual for people to mistakenly take classified materials.

    I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that he mistakenly stuffed them into his jacket and pants?
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that he mistakenly stuffed them into his jacket and pants?
    I don't think I said that either. These were all copies of memos. So the 9/11 commission were able to review them as far as we know.

    Accident's do happen, I am sure an investigation is on going. Just like the "inadvert" leaking of a deep cover CIA agent.

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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    My, oh my... funny when the shoe is on the other foot!
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    Re: Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger Took Terror Files

    I don't think losing (or theft) classified information or leaking CIA agents names are at all funny.


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