A chapter from Alice in Wonderland

Maybe you can explain this to me.

Sandy Berger was a top White House aide in the Clinton White House. He was our national security adviser. Which means, of course, he knew our most secret secrets.

Sandy Berger stole classified documents. From our National Archives. You no doubt have read about this.

Sandy Berger was barely punished for this theft. Can you explain that to me?

Berger was getting ready to testify before the 9/11 Commission in 2003. The commission members had questions for him. About how the Clinton administration handled terrorism.

Now, this is a pretty important subject. For obvious reasons. Not so much to point fingers. But to learn what we did wrong, perhaps. Or what we might have done better. Or what we overlooked.

Berger went to the Archives to review Clinton administration documents. He stuffed a bunch down his trousers. Once outside he hid them under a trailer at a construction site. He retrieved some and scissored them.



It was all just an “honest mistake” said Sandy. (Talk show guys call him Sandy Burglar these days.) An honest mistake? He mistakenly stole classified documents? He mistakenly stashed them? He mistakenly cut them to shreds?

His former boss, Bill Clinton, laughed about it. Literally. Said so. Said Sandy was simply a messy guy.

Sandy did get fined for this. Fined $50,000. And he did have to fulfil 100 hours of community service.

And yet this lying thief will be allowed to view classified material again. Next year. Yes, he could be hired by the next president to be a national security advisor. A lying thief! A guy who thinks nothing of destroying classified documents. Documents that might tell us something about Osama before 9/11. Documents that might tell us about malfeasance by top officials.

Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does no national figure care enough about our security to stand up and shout “This guy is a danger to this nation. He has disgraced himself and his former office. The public deserves to know more!”

Now you might buy the simplistic argument that this is small potatoes. It is just politics. If so, put yourself in Sandy’s shoes. What would it take for you to do what he did? He risked years in jail. Would you do that for some trivial papers?

Common sense should tell us these were mighty important papers. For him to take such a risk, they had to be.

Here is another indicator of their value. Berger was recently called before the Bar. To answer questions about this. He avoided facing those questions. He did so by handing in his law license. Yes, he tossed away his law license. In order to avoid answering questions about his disgraceful behavior.

Have authorities made him take a lie-detector test? They are supposed to. Required by his guilty plea on the original charge. They have not made him take the test.

What is going on? Can you offer an explanation? Can anyone offer one and keep a straight face?

The case is as simple as a crime could be. This man held one of the most critical security positions in the U.S. He violated the trust placed in him. He betrayed you and me. He betrayed us by stealing documents that might save or condemn a lot of people. He has never had to answer questions about his crime for the record.

This episode is like a chapter from Alice in Wonderland.

Altogether now: Big media, public figures, columnists, politicians - YAWN.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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