July 21, 2004


Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger is in a whole pantsload of trouble:

Mr Berger and his lawyer said yesterday that he knowingly removed handwritten notes he had made while reading classified anti-terror documents at the archives by sticking them in his jacket and pants.

Stealthy, Bond-like Berger was somehow caught carrying out this daring gusset-based mission despite an abundance of pantage in which to conceal his secret notes. Now his crime is exposed in ... well, in this list of Associated Press newsbriefs. Third item down. Possibly Bergerís panty raid will achieve greater prominence over coming weeks.

Leading pants authority Stephen Green has more on the trousered marauder.

UPDATE. Among other sharp comments is this, from For Now:

Inadvertently placed secret documents in his socks.

Former National Security Advisor.

In his fucking socks.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 21, 2004 04:40 AM

The Associated Press reports: Al Felzenberg, spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, said Tuesday the Berger investigation will not impact the panel's work in any way. The 10-member bipartisan panel releases its final report on Thursday.

''This is a matter between the government and an individual,'' he said. ''They were not our documents, and we believe we have access to all the materials we need to see to do our report.''

Because, as we all know, the 9/11 panel isn't really all about investigating everybody's intelligence failure, is it?

Posted by: Rebecca at July 21, 2004 at 04:49 AM

Associated Press newsbriefs

You crack me up Tim.

Posted by: Jonny at July 21, 2004 at 05:00 AM

And I get the feeling that Karl Rove is in his office, steepling his fingers and sounding like Mr Burns saying "Eeeexcellent!"

Posted by: Ernie G at July 21, 2004 at 05:02 AM

Anyone remember Fawn Hall?

Posted by: Ash at July 21, 2004 at 05:20 AM

Fox's story says he also stuffed papers in his socks.

Perhaps he was practicing for his eventual life on the streets?

Posted by: Robert Crawford at July 21, 2004 at 05:46 AM

Inadvertently placed secret documents in his socks.

Former National Security Advisor.

In his fucking socks.

Posted by: ForNow at July 21, 2004 at 06:20 AM


That allegation drew sharp responses from two of Berger's associates. President Clinton's former spokesman, Joe Lockhart, said Berger "categorically denies that he ever took documents and stuffed them in his socks.

"That is absurd," said Lockhart, who is now advising Berger. "And anyone who says that is interested in something other than the truth."

Former Clinton aide Lanny Davis challenged any unnamed official who accuses Berger of stuffing documents into his socks to come forward and level that charge publicly.

"I suggest that person is lying," he said. "And if that person has the guts, let's see who it is who made the comment that Sandy Berger stuffed something into his socks."

Hmmm. Did Berger or his lawyer deny the sock charges? I note that the Fox attribution isn't a direct quote.

On a related note, here's my stupid pants quiz.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at July 21, 2004 at 06:41 AM

BTW, who could have guessed that one day the sentence "Did Berger or his lawyer deny the sock charges?" would one day be written, and that it would make sense?

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at July 21, 2004 at 06:44 AM

Maybe Berger was bringing papers in in his pants, and wanted to weigh the same on the way out. There's an innocent explanation for everything.

He could also be stealing pants, the old wheelbarrow trick.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at July 21, 2004 at 06:58 AM

Now that's just silly, Ron...

Hey, wait a sec... where the hell are my pants....? WTF!?!?.......

Posted by: Ash at July 21, 2004 at 07:24 AM

These aren't the pants you're looking for.

(via the Star Wars Pants Page.)

Posted by: Graham at July 21, 2004 at 07:31 AM

The mainstream media may be frantically trying to bury Berger's shenanigans (a cat on a tile floor comes to mind), but Leno and Letterman will likely have a field day with it.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at July 21, 2004 at 07:50 AM

So they're _not_ denying he stuffed classified documents into his pants?

Posted by: F451 at July 21, 2004 at 08:43 AM

In the perverted world of Democrats, "Classified" means stuff into pants. "Top Secret" means stuff into socks. "Inadvertantly" means I meant to steal more but I only had two socks. "Cooperating fully" means Bush made me do it.

Posted by: perfectsense at July 21, 2004 at 09:20 AM

Well, Iíll be keenly interested to see whether Fox stands by the socks.

But at the very same time, Sandy Berger has hung up his socks!

Berger Steps Down As Kerry Adviser ó AP

Posted by: ForNow at July 21, 2004 at 09:24 AM

How do you accidentally grab a secret document and put it in your pocket and not know it?

The ones we deal with all have a STIFF BRIGHT RED cover. Should be bulky as hell.

Posted by: CujoQuarrel at July 21, 2004 at 09:35 AM

"These aren't the pants you're looking for."

OMG - That is spew-worthy!! LMAO!

Posted by: Agent Smith at July 21, 2004 at 09:35 AM

"No, no, Mr. Berger, I said put a sock in it!"

Posted by: E. Nough at July 21, 2004 at 09:51 AM

Clintonís former spokesman Lockhart & former WH lawyer Lanny Davis deny the socks charge. Silence from Berger himself & his own lawyer.

CNN in the article above with Clintonís peopleís denials:

Law enforcement sources said archive staff told FBI agents they saw Berger placing items in his jacket and pants, and one archive staffer told agents that Berger also placed something in his socks.

Thatís what theyíre responding to. HOWEVER:

In Fox Newsís Sandy Berger Probed Over Terror Memos

Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.

So, now we need to hear from Berger & his lawyer!!!! C'mon Sandy, sock it to us.

Posted by: Fiamma Nirenstein at July 21, 2004 at 09:54 AM

I donít know how that name Nirenstein got into there in that last post on SOCKS. That comment was from me! I didnít mean to pretend to be that person, I canít even remember who Nirenstein is. Please Tim or Andrea, put my name there instead!

Posted by: ForNow at July 21, 2004 at 09:58 AM

Well, itís clear that I was wrong, I read the articles too quickly. Sandy Berger did not inadvertently place secret documents in his socks. If anything, he did it knowingly.

Posted by: ForNow, NOT Fiamma Nirenstein at July 21, 2004 at 10:59 AM

Come on, it could happen to anyone.

You know how it is. You're working, someone comes in and starts talking baseball, you get distracted, and the next thing you know your shorts are full of classified documents.
Happens all the time.

Remember nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee? He was working at Los Alamos, and absent-mindedly waltzed off with some hard drives full of nuclear secrets. Easy mistake. I'm constantly walking out of work with ballpoint pens and other stuff. Thankfully, National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was on the case, or else the right wingers would have shot Lee for espionage.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at July 21, 2004 at 10:59 AM


We have a categorical denial that the former National Security Advisor stole classified documents relating to terrorism defenses by stuffing them in his socks.

What planet is this, again? I want to go home.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 21, 2004 at 11:07 AM

We also have a categorical resignation of the former NSA from Kerry's team, now.

So that's Wilson.
That's Berger.

How do we leak the story about Theresa and the conflict diamonds? Ok, ok, then how about the mouse in the ketchup bottle?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at July 21, 2004 at 11:11 AM

I just wanted to say "categorically denies that he ever took documents and stuffed them in his socks".


Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 21, 2004 at 11:17 AM

I did not have socks with that document!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 21, 2004 at 11:19 AM

Oh, and Tim? (Or Andrea.) You server thinks it's in the Tasman Sea somewhere. Or maybe New Caledonia.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 21, 2004 at 11:33 AM

That is, your server thinks that.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 21, 2004 at 11:34 AM

Maybe someone told him to get all his shit in one sock.

Posted by: Ernie G at July 21, 2004 at 01:19 PM

We know tactically what Berger did: Steal classified documents.

What was the strategic purpose? Is he trying to change the historic record?

Posted by: Fred Boness at July 21, 2004 at 02:43 PM

Here in America, it's a "pant"load, not a "pants"load. As in "That fat pantload in the White House." 1/20/93-1/20/01.

Posted by: chuck at July 21, 2004 at 04:17 PM

[I originally poste this over at Tim Dunlop's, but it also seems apropos here...]

There's an interesting interview with Berger's attorney Lanny Breuer over on CNN.

Breuer states that the Justice Department is "not concerned" over the removal of hand-written notes from the archives (apparently taking hand-written notes out of the archives is "a violation of Archives procedure" but "not against the law").

Breuer states that Berger "inadvertently" removed a classified document from the archives:

So he has a table. He's working openly. There are Archives people there and there are thousands of documents. And in the course of his review it was clear to everyone he had a leather portfolio. He brought it in openly. The Archives people knew it. And anyone who has works with Sandy knows he always has that leather portfolio and there were lots of business papers that have nothing at all to do with this commission.

And perhaps, Wolf, there was too much informality by Sandy and maybe too much informality by the Archives people. But at some point when he leaves, the memorandum got caught with his business papers and he walked out. It was inadvertent. He admitted the mistake...

But then, an attorney would say that...

Posted by: Jethro at July 21, 2004 at 04:50 PM

It's that sinister Axis of Footwear again:

Ed The Sock

(Next show direct from Guantanamo. Rack that sock!)

Come to think of it, perhaps Mr. Berger's statements are not admissible. After all, we don't know that the archivists didn't torture him.

Posted by: Fabrique Nationale at July 22, 2004 at 12:41 AM

My lazy blog, with no new posts since Dec. 2003, has received way over a hundred visits since Tim linked to it on his homepage in the post atop this thread.

Iím going to think about posting something new on it. [Thinking, thinking...]. Maybe on a once-a-month basis. Yeah. Sounds like a plan!

Posted by: ForNow at July 22, 2004 at 04:41 AM

God, this is nuts. How does one "inadvertantly" stuff something in one's socks?

"Oh, I was just sorting through these highly classified documents, and they got mixed up with my checkbook register, and, thinking it was my checkbook register, I stuffed them in my socks. See, I always keep my checkbook register in my socks. . .Why? Why would I keep my checkbook register in my socks? Well, because there's no room for it down my pants, of course! That's where I always stuff my American Express statement. Speaking of my American Express statement, funny thing is, I also accidentally stuffed some MORE classified documents in my pants, mistaking them for my American Express statement. I really have to start upping my intake of Gingko Balboa."

Posted by: Susan at July 23, 2004 at 05:04 AM

I've worked with both compartmented and special access materials. I almost lost my clearance by putting something in the wrong safe, thereby mixing compartments. All notes are to be stored at the level of the material it was taken from.

Not only is this endanging national security; taking something from the National Archives is like destoying historical artifacts.

This freak cannot even account for all the material. He says he MIGHT have thrown it away or destroyed it????? Two authorized people have to witness and document the destruction of such material.

He is taking a fall for someone. He should join Walker in a life sentence.

Posted by: Catracks at July 23, 2004 at 08:59 AM