So That’s What Berger Was Stuffing Down His Pants. . .
Vol: 47 Issue: 19 Friday, August 19, 2005
For years following the September 11th attacks, the incessant chant from the Left has been; “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
The mantra questioning the administration is unfairly characterized as ‘unpatriotic’, according to the liberal left, but mantras became political currency during the Clinton administration.
Six years ago, all one had to do was start the mantra, and the rest of the nation could finish it in unison: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
“Everybody lies about sex.”
I have my own mantra, “Things that are different are not the same.” ‘Everybody’ DOESN’T lie about sex.
Bill Clinton lied about sex.
Some people actually keep their vows. And questioning the government is not unpatriotic, but putting party ahead of country is.
Having said that, it seems that, in terms of dropping the ball before the September 11 attacks, the question, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” has once again become relevant.
But as we are now learning, the question has been put to the wrong party. The correct question should be have been; “What did President CLINTON know, and when did he know it?”
Revelations about a Clinton-era anti-terrorist project called ‘Operation Able Danger’ may also answer the OTHER unanswered question of our time: “What was Sandy Berger stuffing down his pants?”
As the National Security Advisor during the Clinton administration, Berger was called to testify before the 9/11 Commission about what efforts had been undertaken against terrorism during his watch.
Berger, as a consequence of his former job, still had top-secret security clearances. At Bill Clinton’s request, Berger went to the National Archives to review the files to help determine which Clinton administration documents to provide to the 9/11 Commission.
While determining which files he would provide the Commission, Berger reportedly stuffed some of them into his shirt, and, according to the New York Post, even stuffed some of these classified memos into his socks, before walking out with the documents.
The documents involved covered what has become a key point of contention between the Clinton and Bush administrations concerning who responded more forcefully to the threat from al Qaeda.
They were National Security Council memos that discussed the 1999 plot to attack U.S. millennium celebrations and offer more than two dozen recommendations for improving the response to al-Qaeda.
And Sandy Berger took them. Not copies. The originals. As House Speaker Dennis Hastert asked at the time;
“What information could be so embarrassing that a man with decades of experience in handling classified documents would risk being caught pilfering our nation’s most sensitive secrets? “
“Did these documents detail simple negligence or did they contain something more sinister?”
And finally, Hastert asked, “Was this a bungled attempt to rewrite history and keep critical information from the 9/11 Commission and potentially put their report under a cloud?”
It is important to remember that Berger made ten visits to National Archives to review the files — at the request of former president Clinton.
The new question is much like the old one: “What did Clinton know about the contents of those now-missing documents, and when did he know it?” Add to it Hastert’s question, and Operation Able Danger takes on new significance.
It takes on even more significance when one considers that the US Defense Department did not dispute the details offered regarding Able Danger when those details were first offered, and does not dispute the details now.
“Able Danger” was a top-secret Pentagon task force that reportedly identified three of the 9/11 hijackers several years in advance, including Mohammed Atta. Operatives who worked on ‘Operation Able Danger’ allegedly reported the information to the 9/11 Commission, who neglected to mention it in their final report.
Among the 9/11 Commission members was former Clinton assistant Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, the individual all sides agree was primarily responsible for creating the ‘wall of separation’ that prevented federal law enforcement agencies from sharing information about investigations.
Lt. Col Anthony Shafer charges that “there was a significant amount of information that was totally deleted or not provided to the 9/11 commissioners,” particularly about Able Danger.
Even the New York Times has begun to shift its focus from the 8 months Bush was in office prior to 9/11 and is now looking at the eight years Clinton was in office with a critical eye. Under the headline, “State Dept. Says It Warned About bin Laden in 1996” the Times is reporting;
“State Department intelligence analysts said in a top-secret assessment on Mr. bin Laden that summer that “his prolonged stay in Afghanistan – where hundreds of ‘Arab mujahedeen’ receive terrorist training and key extremist leaders often congregate – could prove more dangerous to U.S. interests in the long run than his three-year liaison with Khartoum,” in Sudan.”
Moreover, reported the world’s most influential liberal newspaper, “The State Department assessment, written July 18, 1996, after Mr. bin Laden had been expelled from Sudan and was thought to be relocating to Afghanistan, said Afghanistan would make an “ideal haven” for Mr. bin Laden to run his financial networks and attract support from radicalized Muslims. Moreover, his wealth, his personal plane and many passports “allow him considerable freedom to travel with little fear of being intercepted or tracked,” and his public statements suggested an “emboldened” man capable of “increased terrorism,” the assessment said.”
Michael F. Scheuer, who from 1996 to 1999 led the Central Intelligence Agency unit that tracked Mr. bin Laden, said the State Department documents reflected a keen awareness of the danger posed by Mr. bin Laden’s relocation.
“The analytical side of the State Department had it exactly right – that’s genius analysis,” he said in an interview when told of the declassified documents.
The 9/11 Commission has since admitted that Col Shafer’s account corroborated information it received from Navy captain who was also involved with the program but whose name has not been made public. In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program “did not turn out to be historically significant.”
The statement said that while the commission did learn about Able Danger in 2003 and immediately requested Pentagon files about it, none of the documents turned over by the Defense Department referred to Atta or any of the other hijackers.
Officially, the 9/11 Commission said in its final report that American intelligence agencies had not identified Atta as a terrorist until after the attack on September 11, although Able Danger identified him as such years before.
Which brings us back to former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.
On April 1, 2005, Berger pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. Under a plea agreement, he was fined $10,000 and lost his security clearance for three years.
According to the New York Sun, among the missing files believed stolen and destroyed by Berger was the memo of a meeting between Berger and CIA Director George Tenet in 1998 in which Tenet presented Berger with a plan to capture Osama bin Laden.
It turns out that Berger was presented with plans to take action against the threat of Al Qaeda four separate times Spring 1998, June 1999, December 1999, and August 2000. Each time, Berger was an obstacle to action.
Deborah Orrin, in the New York Post yesterday, reported that “then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White wrote the memo as she pleaded in vain with Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick to tear down the wall between intelligence and prosecutors, a wall that went beyond legal requirements.”
Since September 11, the Left has endeavored to lay all the blame and all the responsibility on the-then 8 month old Bush administration while exonerating the previous administration, mainly to avoid answering the charges that the multiple scandals of the Clinton administration may have distracted it to the degree that it was criminally negligent — which, of course, it was.
The damage done the United States during the eight years under Bill Clinton is broad-based and only now are Americans beginning to realize how serious it was.
While the country was distracted by investigations into Whitewatergate, the Clinton administration provided China with restricted technology in exchange for massive illegal Chinese campaign contributions.
While the country was distracted by investigations into Chinagate, the Clinton administration actually financed North Korea’s nuclear program by paying bribe money to Pyongyang in exchange for a promise not to pursue nuclear weapons.
While the country was distracted by Monicagate and the impeachment trial, the Clinton administration ignored al-Qaeda and the threat of terrorism, and, after the 9/11 Commission requested Clinton-era documents, Sandy Berger stole and destroyed relevant evidence pertaining to the Clinton administration’s inaction.
But with all of that, it is the Bush administration that has been saddled with the responsibility for ‘allowing’ 9/11 to happen. It is a textbook case of conspiracy against the national security interests of the United States to advance a competing political agenda.
And it exposes the agenda of the American Left for what it is. Partisanship before patriotism.
During the Red Scare of the 1950’s, it used to be called ‘treason’.
Oftentimes, we examine the question, ‘where is America in prophecy?’ The Bible doesn’t assign America a role during the Tribulation, but America’s moral description is all over the pages that describe the final hours of the Church Age before the start of the Tribulation Period.
“This know also, that IN THE LAST DAYS perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, TRAITORS, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2nd Timothy 3:1-4)