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Does Omar Bin Laden’s Tell-All Reveal the Contents of Sandy Berger’s Pants?

Osama's son is releasing a memoir telling of a failed Clinton attempt on his father's life.

by
Annie Jacobsen

Bio

September 18, 2009 - 12:02 am
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Nine months later, in July 2004, the DOJ made public the fact that it was investigating Berger for unauthorized removal of classified documents from the National Archives and that the investigation was a criminal one. It further came to light that a few months prior, the FBI had searched Berger’s home and office after he admitted that he’d also stolen handwritten notes.

The point of the theft, it was speculated, was to keep the 9/11 Commission from seeing certain Clinton administration errors that had contributed unnecessarily to the terrorist attacks.

Sandy Berger’s lawyers told the Washington Post that what he had “inadvertently” stolen from the National Archives were merely copies of memos on the millennium bomb plot. “I deeply regret the sloppiness involved, but I had no intention of withholding documents from the commission, and to the contrary, to my knowledge, every document requested by the commission from the Clinton administration was produced,” Berger said in a statement. In 2004, Berger quit his position as an “informal advisor” to the Kerry campaign. In 2007, he copped a plea deal with the DOJ, agreed to give up practicing law, and publicly apologized. One wonders if Sandy Berger maybe thought the case was closed?

In this new book by Osama’s son Omar, it seems the public may learn more clues about what exactly Berger was trying to steal. In its pages, Omar (and his mother) reveal that the Clinton administration failed in a major assassination attempt of Osama bin Laden, just days after the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings. This is something that has often been speculated but never confirmed. Former insiders like Richard Clarke say Omar bin Laden’s account of the assassination failure appears to be credible. And if this is the case, it might explain a little more about what documents Sandy Berger really had stashed away.

Other tell-all details in the book include Omar’s description of his father killing the family’s pet dogs in chemical weapons tests, as well as his advance knowledge of terrorist attacks — including the bombings in East Africa which killed 224 people. Omar bin Laden has said that he doesn’t consider his father to be a terrorist. When his father was fighting the Soviets, Washington considered him a hero, Omar told CNN.

Explanations of Sandy Berger’s heavy lifting aside, one question remains: will readers find Omar and his mom — who left Afghanistan on September 9, 2001 — empathetic or just plain pathetic memoirists? And if the bin Ladens’ book is a financial success, will Omar share royalties with his second wife and their young child — people he avoids mentioning but, as was reported in the Times of London, do in fact exist?

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Annie Jacobsen writes the "Backstory" blog (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/back-story/) for the Los Angeles Times Magazine.
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