Sandy Berger, President Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor, is expected to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. today to charges of removing classified material from the National Archives.
According to the New York Times Mr. Berger will pay a $10,000 fine as part of the agreement. He will also relinquish his security clearance for three years. Of course, the negotiations for this extremely lenient sentence have been going on for months behind closed doors, in "secret" so to speak.
CNN.com says that old Sandy said it was “an honest mistake,” that he insisted he had removed the classified material inadvertently. Drinking too much tequila and pissing on your buddy’s stereo is an honest mistake, stuffing classified material in your jockey shorts is not! Not returning all the documents you stole in the first place is not an “honest mistake” either. Changing the channel when Oprah is on is inadvertent, stuffing your socks full of classified material is not.
I personally hold a security clearance. I have for well over 20 years. I’d bet the farm that if I tried something like this I’d get locked up for the rest of my freaking life and I wouldn't lose my security clearance for a measly three years, I'd lose it for the rest of my natural life or longer! I’d also bet that if I failed to return all the stuff I stole, the government would ransack my house, rip apart my car and strip search me and every person I ever met to find what I stole.
According to the Clintons, this is all part of the vast right-wing conspiracy. They must have hypnotized Mr. Berger and put that evil thought in his mind to go the National Archives and remove documents specific to the Clinton Administration's handling of anti-terror efforts, which were virtually non-existent before 9/11.
Why do high ranking government officials get special treatment? This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is a national security issue. I could show you plenty of examples where “regular” people got royally screwed by the government for doing less than Samuel Berger did, but for some reason this guy gets away with it!