Ed Driscoll

Mr. Sandman

As I noted yesterday, AP seemed to spend far more time condemning the reasons behind Sandy Burglar Berger’s arrest rather than his actual crime.

In contrast, Glenn Reynolds, Jim Geraghty, and the fellows at Power Line have each written damning posts about Berger’s crime. Power Line’s John Hinderaker writes:

The idea that this was “an honest mistake,” as Berger now claims, is ridiculous. Obviously, he was trying to destroy documents that showed the negligence of the Clinton administration–of which he was a key member–in dealing with the threat of terrorism. Key documents relating to our government’s inadequate reaction to the threat of Islamic terrorism prior to Sept. 11 are now gone forever, successfully purged from the historical record by one of Bill Clinton’s most loyal servants. This plea bargain appears, on its face, to be a disgrace.

As Jim Geraghty says, “Just what do you have to do to get your clearance pulled permanently?”

Update: Much more here.

Another Update: In a follow-up post, Hinderaker adds:

So Berger removed five copies of the Clarke report, carefully destroyed three of them “late one evening,” and returned the other two to the Archives. Obviously he reviewed the notes on the five documents and destroyed the three that contained information damaging to the reputation of the Clinton administration. I do not find reassuring the Post’s suggestion that these were “copies only” and that it “remains unclear whether Berger knew that.” Obviously all five copies of the Clarke report were “copies.” But they contained unique notes, and Berger certainly thought that they were the only “copies” of those notes in existence, or it would make no sense to destroy them. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that he was wrong.

One aspect of Berger’s sentence that seems almost humorous is the fact that his security clearance is suspended for three years. He wasn’t going to need it during President Bush’s second term, in any event, and he’ll have it back in time for the new Democratic administration that, he hopes, will begin in 2009. What a penalty for attempting, apparently successfully, to destroy a portion of the historical record relating to the anti-terror activities in the months leading up to September 11.