Sandy Berger "inadvertantly" took home classified materials relating to terrorism, and most of the focus seems to be on the actual reports that somehow ended up in his briefcase. More interesting to me are the handwritten notes "he knowingly removed [] by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks".

His lawyer says:

Breuer said Berger was allowed to take handwritten notes but also knew that taking his own notes out of the secure reading room was a "technical violation of Archive procedures, but it is not all clear to us this represents a violation of the law."
I'm not a classified-information-handling lawyer, but I've been instructed in the procedures for handling classified equipment and data, and what Mr. Berger did is absolutely indefensible. Not only is notetaking not allowed, but just about everything that comes into contact with classified information becomes classified itself until and unless it is declassified.

For instance, if you put a floppy disk into a classified computer system the floppy disk is immediately classified. It must either go through a detailed inspection and declassificiation procedure or it must be destroyed. It's not hard to bring data into a classified perimeter, but it's designed to be hard to take it out, and a lot of disks are destroyed after use to save time and money. Likewise, bringing a notebook into a classified area will instantly classify the entire notebook at the highest level of classification the notebook may have come into contact with. The same goes for digital cameras and cell phones with cameras -- you quickly learn not to bring those things into classified areas because you generally won't get them back.

Unless you stick them in your socks.

Sandy Berger knew all this far better than I do -- he was the national security advisor for four years. He purposefully sought to circumvent the rules for handling classified information for his own benefit and to give advantage to whomever he was sharing the information with.

Berger served as Clinton's national security adviser for all of the president's second term and most recently has been informally advising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Clinton asked Berger last year to review and select the administration documents that would be turned over to the Sept. 11 commission.

Sandy Berger has disgraced himself.



Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Site Info