Did the DOJ try to cover up Sandy Berger’s burglary?

posted at 1:12 pm on February 21, 2007 by Allahpundit

Moran’s got a solid post up about the WaPo’s article this morning and he’s as perplexed and frustrated as I am. The more that comes out, the more oddly incurious and unforthcoming does the DOJ seem about the full extent of Berger’s crime. But why oh why would Bush’s Justice Department want to protect Clinton’s NSA?

Our story begins with Paul Brachfeld, the inspector general of the National Archives, politely suggesting that the DOJ might want to mention to the 9/11 Commission that no one knows how many documents Berger took or whether any of them were originals. Did they heed his suggestion?

They did not.

Brachfeld pressed Justice Department officials on six occasions in 2004 to make a fuller statement to the commission about Berger’s actions, to no avail. He also contacted Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, who organized an April 2004 meeting between Brachfeld and Justice officials that convinced him that “these issues had to go before the 9/11 Commission,” according to two people present.

But in a notification to the commission the following month, the department did not mention that Berger had cut up documents, that he reviewed uncatalogued originals or that Brachfeld worried that Berger’s theft was greater.

Do members of the 9/11 Commission regret the fact that they weren’t informed about this?

They do.

A report last month by the Republican staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said for the first time that Berger’s visits were so badly mishandled that Archives officials had acknowledged not knowing if he removed anything else and destroyed it. The committee further argued that the 9/11 Commission should have been told more about Berger and about Brachfeld’s concerns, a suggestion that resonated with Philip Zelikow, the commission’s former executive director.

Zelikow said in an interview last week that “I think all of my colleagues would have wanted to have all the information at the time that we learned from the congressional report, because that would have triggered some additional questions, including questions we could have posed to Berger under oath.”

The commission’s former general counsel, Dan Marcus, now an American University law professor, separately expressed surprise at how little the Justice Department told the commission about Berger and said it was “a little unnerving” to learn from the congressional report exactly what Berger reviewed at the Archives and what he admitted to the FBI — including that he removed and cut up three copies of a classified memo.

“If he took papers out, these were unique records, and highly, highly classified. Had a document not been produced, who would have known?” Brachfeld said in an interview. “I thought [the 9/11 Commission] should know, in current time — in judging Sandy Berger as a witness . . . that there was a risk they did not get the full production of records.”

The capper (which we alredy knew): the Justice Department’s wrist-slap plea bargain with Berger actually called for a lighter sentence than the one the judge imposed.

Exit question: What’s the deal? Moran thinks the DOJ is embarrassed by the incident and just wants it to go away, but why? No one would fault them for trusting an ex-cabinet member to behave ethically, even one with the taint of Clinton upon him. I think they’re more worried about sensitive national security information coming to light, either in the form of documents that Berger has or stuff he knows from his time in office. You don’t bring down the hammer on a former NSA, especially one with no compunctions about shenanigans involving state secrets.

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But why oh why would Bush’s Justice Department want to protect Clinton’s NSA?

It is all part of the compassionate conservative new tone nonsense. Never Again.

Valiant on February 21, 2007 at 1:17 PM

Berger needs a trip to the very bottom of the Atlantic via rope and stone..

Viper1 on February 21, 2007 at 1:23 PM

More likely, the Clintonistas still embedded at Justice are killed the case.

georgej on February 21, 2007 at 1:23 PM

‘just wants it to go away’-

Here is a man who at the drop of a hat would say ‘if you go after me I will tell the press everything about everything’

Limerick on February 21, 2007 at 1:24 PM

I’m so tired of lefties saying Berger only took copies I’ll bet they’ll just deny it when I point out that they don’t really know what he took, and what proof do we have that he destroyed them? His word? Maybe we could look for them in China.

Gwillie on February 21, 2007 at 1:24 PM

He also stole all of the “Get out of Jail Free” cards from the Monopoly sets at the local Toys R’ Us.

rw on February 21, 2007 at 1:25 PM

Makes the part in the Path to 9/11 that was removed more plausible.

Sven on February 21, 2007 at 1:26 PM

Maybe the Clintons are holding onto dirt from their FBI file raid and threatened to use it against the Bush Administration if they moved against the Clinton legacy. Or maybe the DOJ is just incompetent.

Valiant on February 21, 2007 at 1:46 PM

Every time more comes out about this, I find myself startled, again. I would really hope that someone could come up with at least the names of the persons responsible for the decision to soft peddal this.

major john on February 21, 2007 at 1:49 PM

You don’t bring down the hammer on a former NSA, especially one with no compunctions about shenanigans involving state secrets.

Shadow Government……………… Nothing to see here folks, move along, go about your business, nothing to see………… LOOK, American Idol is on!

PinkyBigglesworth on February 21, 2007 at 2:00 PM

I’m so tired of lefties saying Berger only took copies I’ll bet they’ll just deny it when I point out that they don’t really know what he took, and what proof do we have that he destroyed them? His word? Maybe we could look for them in China.

Gwillie on February 21, 2007 at 1:24 PM

I thought he admitted to taking originals, or at least memos that had original writing on them.

Esthier on February 21, 2007 at 2:01 PM

This is asymmetric warfare at its finest. Democrats want to eviscerate Republicans. Republicans want Democrats to like them, even to point of letting off a felon.

The Dems ran a very effective campaign as the minority party and showed Republicans how they can bottle up unwanted legislation and judicial appointments. The GOP, now in the minority, want to appear gentile.

cmay on February 21, 2007 at 2:03 PM

I am totally unnerved by the concept of “The taint of Clinton upon him”
eeeeeewwwwww!!!!!!!

bbz123 on February 21, 2007 at 2:06 PM

even one with the taint of Clinton upon him.

I like that.

I think they’re more worried about sensitive national security information coming to light, either in the form of documents that Berger has or stuff he knows from his time in office.

It must be along these lines and with the Dems wanting to stop all intelligence listening and handcuff even further our ability to watch the enemy, it makes one wonder how much the clenis tribe has to hide. How far they would go to hurt the nation just to save their own ass(es) is still an unknown. We do know that ethics and honor are a thing of the past to the left side, even when caught with their pants down they have an excuse. When caught saying damnable treasonous comments they get a pass, or at least a do-over or two.

“No one would fault them for trusting an ex-cabinet member to behave ethically..”

Maybe Burglar has figured out how to blame Bush just like most everything else has been.
We do need more names, like major john said. It’s a place to start.

shooter on February 21, 2007 at 2:13 PM

This Justice Department is not interested in putting Berger behind bars for stealing sensitive documents related to the former president’s cowardice when confronted by the world-wide terrorist threat.

They are too busy prosecuting Border Patrol agents who run down an illegal alien drug smuggler and shoot him in the arse while he flees.

One steals and lies while putting the country at risk and gets a slap on the wrist. The others protect our borders and enforce federal laws and go to jail.

This is plain nuts.

fogw on February 21, 2007 at 2:14 PM

Exit Question: Can Berger be hung around Hillary’s neck in a general election?

Mark V. on February 21, 2007 at 2:16 PM

Burger gets a pass. Libby gets gassed, Border Agents in jail for doing their job. Shadow government? Seems more like very stupid people in government. Our tax dollars pissed away.

Kini on February 21, 2007 at 2:17 PM

If there is a bright side to this, thank G_d for the new media because if this took place 13 years ago Burgler probably would not have had any time in court and it would never have been more than a paragraph on the back pages of the NYT.

Bill C on February 21, 2007 at 2:19 PM

But why oh why would Bush’s Justice Department want to protect Clinton’s NSA?

That’s the REAL question “Truthers” should be asking if they want to nail the Bush administration, although it would likely nail their side, too, which is why NO ONE IS TOUCHING IT (except HA and a few others).

Hey, did you hear that Anna Nicole’s custody trial is on TV?
Wait, Britney Smears left rehab again?
More cheesecake news from the Government-Media complex.

NTWR on February 21, 2007 at 2:31 PM

I question the timing.

BigOrangeAxe on February 21, 2007 at 2:39 PM

Bring the hammer down. The whole problem with the Beltway right now is that no one is held accountable.

Iblis on February 21, 2007 at 2:39 PM

More likely, the Clintonistas still embedded at Justice are killed the case.

georgej on February 21, 2007 at 1:23 PM

Top officials at the Justice Department are all political appointees, and the really top officials, including Attorney General, Deputy A.G., and head of Criminal Division, are all presidential appointees.

I doubt that a matter involving national security would be decided by career officials.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on February 21, 2007 at 2:43 PM

Because you demanded it! My losing entry into Bill Bennett’s Sandy Berger song contest (2.6 Mb MP3 file):

Do the Burglar

Don’t say I never gave you anything.

saint kansas on February 21, 2007 at 2:58 PM

Bush > Clinton > Bush. They come into office and sign on to the embarrassing boondoggles that previous administration tossed on their lap.

Clinton knows all of Bush 41′s presidential skeletons and Dubya knows all of Clinton’s. Bush needs to cover for Clinton to protect his father’s legacy and he will do everything in his power to see Hillary as his successor for the same reason, he just won’t make it obvious.

You can also be sure that some of the documents that Berger removed implicate Bush 43 directly. Berger knows which of the blown up Clinton schemes Bush had to sign on to.

Perchant on February 21, 2007 at 3:08 PM

File an Ethics Complainthere on DOJ’s website.

Topsecretk9 on February 21, 2007 at 3:14 PM

Add this to the 92 leak investigations that have led nowhere, and about 1/3 have the files missing…

I’m not sure what is going on here, but our Government seems to have no desire for security DURING A TIME OF WAR!!!

This HAS to be a top down thing… no way even ONE of the leaks (besides Libbys NON leak) could not have SOME consequence if it was not a concerted effort from the highest levels…

IMO Bush is part of the problem here, and I don’t understand why.

Romeo13 on February 21, 2007 at 3:20 PM

Shadow government? Seems more like very stupid people in government.

Kini on February 21, 2007 at 2:17 PM

Does it? The number of people willing to continue to chalk up what’s going on to simple stupidity is frightening.

Someone actually suggested it’s all due to conservatives “wanting to be liked?” LOL! Errr … if that’s the case, what’s with the approval rating in the 20′s?

No agendas here. Walk away. They’re all just really nice people.

Gregor on February 21, 2007 at 3:29 PM

with the taint of Clinton upon him

…. and it was Sloppy!

PinkyBigglesworth on February 21, 2007 at 3:56 PM

The more that comes out, the more oddly incurious and unforthcoming does the DOJ seem about the full extent of Berger’s crime.

Or in the words of George Costanza (or whoever he stole the line from): “This thing is like an onion – the more layers you peel, the more it stinks!”

But why oh why would Bush’s Justice Department want to protect Clinton’s NSA?

Your local Truthers can fill you in.

RightWinged on February 21, 2007 at 4:03 PM

You can also be sure that some of the documents that Berger removed implicate Bush 43 directly.

BS! You can bet that if it any of the missing documents implicated Bush (ether G.W. or W.) in any way it would have been leaked to the press years ago. If you want to play the “It’s a multi-presidential cover up” game, you could follow that line of reasoning all the way back to Carter. Why stop at Bush Sr.?

As to why the JD refuses to follow up, the only reason I can think of is that several career members of the JD would be implicated by what was in these documents and they do not want to bring attention onto the JD’s role in this scandal.

I don’t think we will ever know the truth behind any of this. I think it will disappear down the governmental black hole known as bureaucracy.

RedinBlueCounty on February 21, 2007 at 4:22 PM

I don’t think we will ever know the truth behind any of this. I think it will disappear down the governmental black hole known as bureaucracy.

RedinBlueCounty on February 21, 2007 at 4:22 PM

Ssssssssshhhhhhh…… that’s what they want you to think.

(whisper…… sssshhhhhhhaaadddddddoowwwwww)

Go back to sssslllllleeeeeeepppppppp, sssshhhhheeeepppppplllleeee, ssssssllllllleeeeeeeeeeppppppp….

PinkyBigglesworth on February 21, 2007 at 4:27 PM

I still say this ‘gentler tone’ crapola lost the last election. If this issue was made a focus by the Bush WH along with some of the other intransigience of the left things would have turned out differently. Most people just didn’t know much about this. At least Senator Melonhead Jim Webb wouldn’t have won by 3/100%, throwing power to the Dems.

pistolero on February 21, 2007 at 4:35 PM

It’s pretty straightforward.

Top Clintonesta’s in attendance at meetings made damning notations in the columns by hand. These archival “duplicates” were in fact one-off *originals* in the sense one had been handled by Berger, another by Clinton, etc. at the meetings in question. The notations made clear that the prior administration didn’t take OBL seriously, let him get away repeatedly, put “international law” before U.S. vital interests, and the rest of it.

Hello!!! Berger was an official **Clinton representative** to the 9/11 panel!!! Bill Clinton bears culpability here.

Anil Petra on February 21, 2007 at 5:33 PM

BS! You can bet that if it any of the missing documents implicated Bush (ether G.W. or W.) in any way it would have been leaked to the press years ago.

Not if it also implicates Clinton. Berger wouldn’t be aware of anything that only implicates Bush. He would have made sure to take at least one document that implicates both of them to ensure that Bush keeps the whole thing under wraps.

If you want to play the “It’s a multi-presidential cover up” game, you could follow that line of reasoning all the way back to Carter. Why stop at Bush Sr.?

You don’t have to stop there. It’s just a factor that makes Bush more susceptible than most presidents. It’s more personal for him.

They all do it though. The most recent incident I can point to is the declassification of Arafat’s involvement in the 1973 murders of two Americans. Ford would have been the president whose responsibility it was to deal with the matter. He never had to answer for why he didn’t punish Arafat because the 33 year old incident wasn’t made public until a couple of days after Ford died.

As to why the JD refuses to follow up, the only reason I can think of is that several career members of the JD would be implicated by what was in these documents and they do not want to bring attention onto the JD’s role in this
scandal.

More like: the DOJ, CIA, two presidents, Socks the cat and Barney the dog on the same document.

Perchant on February 21, 2007 at 6:33 PM

Exit Question: Can Berger be hung around Hillary’s neck in a general election?

Could he have been protecting her, also? Did Hillary sit in on any of the meetings in question?

B Moe on February 21, 2007 at 7:03 PM

“Can Berger be hung around Hillary’s neck in a general election?”

Too many words in this sentence.

It reads better as: “Can Berger be hanged?”

Much better, don’t you think?

georgej on February 21, 2007 at 7:26 PM

I misread that as “Did OJ try to cover up Sandy Berger’s burglary?”

- The Cat

MirCat on February 21, 2007 at 8:40 PM

But why oh why would Bush’s Justice Department want to protect Clinton’s NSA?

Probably because Republicans and Democrats are equally committed to ripping us off for money and power. The Republicans revealing the details wouldn’t serve that purpose.

Benaiah on February 21, 2007 at 11:01 PM

Every time more comes out about this, I find myself startled, again. I would really hope that someone could come up with at least the names of the persons responsible for the decision to soft peddal this.

major john on February 21, 2007 at 1:49 PM

I read an article a few weeks ago, don’t remember where, naming a couple of flunkies in Justice that did this. The detail of the article was pretty good.
It was when Congress finally started getting excited about this, and pressing the DoJ for an explanation. This was when the information first came out showing Burglar, as a part of his plea deal, was required to undergo a polygraph.

91Veteran on February 22, 2007 at 12:55 AM

Sure, no problem, I have one,

… and interestingly enough, since she was a member of the Clinton Administration, testified numerous times before Congress, argued for the seperation “the Wall” between intelligence agencies that kept the FBI finding out what the CIA knew about China’s involvement with the Clinton Administration due to campaign contributions and technilogical transfers, but at the same time, had the effect of the CIA not being able to tell the FBI about the (mulitple) impending attacks on the United States, that that were being planned by Al Queda,….

because it was just a “Law Enforcement issue”, and not a “war”, and we need “nuance” and “lawyering, the courts, rules, appeals, etc.”

Yeah, I got one……

“It’ll it making political hay. But I stopped reading the article after the first paragraph. The 9/11 commission was not bi-partisan it was a joke. As time goes on we will see that the likes of Jamie Garilick (SP) who was on the 9/11 commission was one of the biggest factors in building the walls that led to the intelligence failures of 9/11. Not to mention “Able Danger”

Look deep people, we asking a question of our national security, and when Jamie Garilick was asked why she wasn’t going to testify, and the lead Democrat on the panel, said, “oh, she’s not on the list”……..

“She’s NOT ON THE LIST? We have people dying in the theatre off WAR, that could have been stopped before it started, and SHE IS JUST NOT ON THE LIST??????”

WHEN WILL YOU PEOPLE WAKE UP AND ASK THESE QUESTSIONS?

WHERE IS SHE?

WHAT DID SHE KNOW, WHEN DID SHE KNOW IT, WHO INSTRUCTED HER TO DO IT????????????

If “Scotter” Libby can be tried for a crime when no crime was committed, but Jamie Garilick can disappear into the wood work, what kind of nation are we living in?

Here is a test for all you boys and girs…

Google “Scooter Libby” (not his real name), but check out the results and links….. try it, just for fun.

Google “Jamie Garilick” (her real name}, and see what happens….

Then as the final test, Google your name, and see what happens…….

Interesting, isn’t it?

What happened to Jamie?

Did someone want her connections to testimony erased?

Google any political name that comes to your head… go ahead, give it a try… you will be amazed on the number of links, but Jamie Garilick, she no longer exists.

Why?

Are you awake yet?

Did the DOJ try to cover up Sloppy Sandy Burglar……..?…… Google, only four matches, how many matches did your name get?

PinkyBigglesworth on February 22, 2007 at 3:05 AM

FYI-It is Jamie Gorlick

ScottyDog on February 22, 2007 at 2:38 PM