Friday, April 01, 2005

Sandy Berger Should Be Sent to Prison

I live life on a pretty even keel. I like to think of myself as an optimist but with a firm grasp on reality. What I’m trying to get at is that it takes a lot for me to feel outraged.

But today I sit here in disbelief reading about the criminal acts of Sandy Berger. For months everyone knew he took classified documents out of the national archives as he prepared to testify before the 9/11 commission. He claimed he took them out by accident and then when he got home he accidentally destroyed them. Oh boy, does this man have accidents. Former President Bill Clinton backed him up. The press didn’t pursue the story.

Now the Washington Post has a story saying Berger will plead guilty to a misdemeanor and goes on to shed some light on what actually happened:

The terms of Berger's agreement required him to acknowledge to the Justice Department the circumstances of the episode. Rather than misplacing or unintentionally throwing away three of the five copies he took from the archives, as the former national security adviser earlier maintained, he shredded them with a pair of scissors late one evening at the downtown offices of his international consulting business.

So here we have the 9/11 Commission trying to figure out how the attacks happened and what could be done to prevent new attacks in the future. It was a commission trying to answer questions vital to this nation. It was a commission that needed the full cooperation of all witnesses.

And here we have Sandy Berger committing criminal acts in order to cover his ass, or Bill Clinton’s ass, or someone’s ass. We’ll never know as these documents have been destroyed. And then he lied to investigators and tried to cover up what he had done.

I wish this was the only outrage to the story but there is so much more. The press ignored this story even though the basic facts were known. Why wasn’t it pursued? They pursued the Bush national guard story for five years, but couldn’t pursue this one for five days.

But the biggest outrage is the potential plea agreement that may be reached. According to the Post, “he has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and accept a three-year suspension of his national security clearance”.

What? Are you kidding me? This man commits a crime in order to hide information from the 9/11 Commission and all he has to do is pay $10,000? And he will get his security clearance back! Please, this man belongs in jail.

We’ll see how this plays out but I can’t help but think we’ll be hearing plenty more about this story in the next few days.