Thursday, July 22, 2004

Sloppy Berger - normal fare under Clinton

With the Sandy Berger scandal just starting to gather steam, George Neumayr has an article in The American Spectator, depicting how Berger epitomizes the Clinton administration's attitude to highly classified information and its' handling.

FBI files

Recall when ex-bar bouncer Craig Livingstone, elevated to a security position in the Clinton White House by Hillary Clinton, "inadvertenly"(Berger's word for cramming notes into his clothing) lifted 900 FBI files on political appointees from the Bush Sr. and Reagan administrations. This was mere "sloppiness," of course, as innocent and accidental as placing security information in one's tube sock.

CIA Files

When one of Clinton's CIA directors, John Deutch, inadvertenly took home a CIA-issued computer with top secret information on it, Sandy Berger rushed to his defense, and succeeded in persuading Clinton to pardon him.

State Department Files

After the State Department lost a computer once, the Clinton administration explained it away merely as an official forgetting to close a door to a "secure" conference room.

When a spy placed an eavesdropping device in the State Department, that too was an accidental oversight. Apparently he just walked through the front door. The FBI reported after the incident that its officials had seen a Russian spy loitering near the Foggy Bottom entrance.

Nuclear Files

Hazel O'Leary, Clinton's Energy Secretary, had figured out his security ethos early on, and just dispensed with security badges for visitors to nuclear labs. Placing security badges on foreign visitors, she famously explained, was discriminatory. Then it was learned that nuclear secrets had been nabbed by Chinese Communists. Sandy Berger's response? "We're talking about breaches of security that happened in the mid-1980s."

If that is how they handled our own classified material, one can only wonder how they handled foreign intelligence.

In light of the Clinton administrations blase attitude and misshandling of highly sensitive intelligence, I would imagine friendly countries would be reluctant to share their classified material with us as well. And in the intelligence business you need all the sources you can get.

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