Secrets of the SandBergler: Why is this not a bigger issue?
So here's the update, as reported by the Archives inspector general yesterday:
[*snipped, trimmed, & slimfasted*] when Berger was confronted by Archives officials about the missing documents, he lied by saying he did not take them, the report said.What was Sandy Berger's motive in stealing and destroying these documents? What was so important in them, that he felt the need to become a burglar of national records? I feel like he's gotten away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist; by stealing and shredding classified documents from the National Archives, he's basically rewritten history. And without so much as an explanation given.
Brachfeld's report included an investigator's notes, taken during an interview with Berger. The notes dramatically described Berger's removal of documents during an Oct. 2, 2003, visit to the Archives.
Berger took a break to go outside without an escort while it was dark. He had taken four documents in his pockets.
"He headed toward a construction area. ... Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the Archives and the DOJ (Department of Justice), and did not see anyone," the interview notes said.
He then slid the documents under a construction trailer, according to the inspector general. Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.
"He was aware of the risk he was taking," the inspector general's notes said. Berger then returned to the Archives building without fearing the documents would slip out of his pockets or that staff would notice that his pockets were bulging.
The notes said Berger had not been aware that Archives staff had been tracking the documents he was provided because of earlier suspicions from previous visits that he was removing materials. Also, the employees had made copies of some documents.
In October 2003, the report said, an Archives official called Berger to discuss missing documents from his visit two days earlier. The investigator's notes said, "Mr. Berger panicked because he realized he was caught."
The notes said that Berger had "destroyed, cut into small pieces, three of the four documents. These were put in the trash."