Friday, September 09, 2005

Berger Fine Miniscule Relative to the Crime

Sandy Berger’s fine for stuffing classified information down his drawers was increased from one slap on the wrist to two.

Berger Is Fined For Smuggling Classified Papers

A federal judge yesterday ordered former national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger to pay a $50,000 fine and give up his security clearance for three years as the penalty for smuggling classified terrorism documents out of the National Archives in 2003.

…Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson said the punishment, which also included two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, would more "sufficiently reflect the seriousness of the offense."

Oh please. I’m sure that fine will weigh heavily on Berger’s mind.

He admitted to stuffing copies of documents in his coat jacket as he left the National Archives and then destroying some at his office and pretending he had never possessed them.

Not to mention stuffing them in his BVDs. Right now this is a minor issue in contrast to Hurricane related news, as it should be. But reading this, I can’t help but compare the whole incident to the Rove uproar of a few months ago. This story has never gotten much traction from the press.

Here is a little more:

Berger fined for taking papers

His attorney, Lanny Breuer, said his client would not appeal the ruling, adding that the September 11 attacks "weighed heavily" on Mr. Berger and he took the classified documents, along with handwritten notes, from the Archives to get the facts correct on the terrorist attacks.

I’m not sure how the man can say that without choking.

Thank goodness he shredded the documents considering where they had been. Burning them might have been better, but who knows what that would have done to the atmosphere.