Monday, February 1, 2016

The Sandy Berger Precedent and the Hillary Clinton Present

The State Department is lying when it says it didn’t know until it was too late that Hillary Clinton was improperly using personal emails and a private server to conduct official business — because it never set up an agency email address for her in the first place, the department’s former top watchdog says. 
“This was all planned in advance” to skirt rules governing federal records management, said Howard J. Krongard, who served as the agency’s inspector general from 2005 to 2008. 
The Harvard-educated lawyer points out that, from Day One, Clinton was never assigned and never used a state.gov email address like previous secretaries. 
“That’s a change in the standard. It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private email server until later,” Krongard said in an exclusive interview. “How else was she supposed to do business without email?”
Krongard points out that there was no permanent IG for State during Clinton's time as SOS. There was an acting IG, however: Harold Geisel.

From August 2015:
Senate Judiciary Chariman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Chair of Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency as well as Secretary of State John Kerry with questions about the State Department’s inspector general during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. 
The State Department IG had an interim head for more than five years, and Grassley want to know whether Clinton was involved in keeping the position temporary. (...) 
“Every agency needs a permanent, independent inspector general,” Grassley said in a statement. “The position is too important to assign to a placeholder. An acting inspector general doesn’t have the mandate to lead, and he or she might not be able to withstand pushback from an agency that doesn’t want to cooperate with oversight.” 
Grassley has requested a slew of record related to the temporary inspector, Harold Geisel, and why he was in charge for so long. He also pointed out that in the short time since a permanent inspector general was put in place [Steve A. Linick], substantive revelations have come out about a top Hillary aide inappropriately influencing an ambassador nomination.
(Emphasis mine.) Inappropriate ambassador nomination influence looks like child's play now, does it not?

I said that this latest Clinton scandal is unsurprising for one reason: Sandy Berger, President William J. Clinton's second National Security Adviser. Berger, who died last year, received a slap on the wrist for "accidentally" taking and destroying classified material.

Sandy Berger
On July 19, 2004, it was revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating Berger for unauthorized removal of classified documents in October 2003 from a National Archives reading room prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission. The documents were five classified copies of a single report commissioned from Richard Clarke covering internal assessments of the Clinton Administration's handling of the unsuccessful 2000 millennium attack plots. An associate of Berger said Berger took one copy in September 2003 and four copies in October 2003. Berger subsequently lied to investigators when questioned about the removal of the documents. 
In April 2005, Berger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material from the National Archives in Washington.
According to the lead prosecutor in the case, Berger only took copies of classified information and no original material was destroyed. Berger was fined $50,000, sentenced to serve two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, and stripped of his security clearance for 3 years.
Actually, Berger absconded with original documents, not that it matters. At any rate, I'm sure that he suffered greatly under his punishment. /s Our betters have long known that a little Rule of Law Theater goes a long way. And even when it doesn't, what are you going to do about it?

Having handled highly classified documents as part of my USAF career, I know that, had I done something similar, I'd have been imprisoned and rightly so. But I was an enlisted woman; mere worker bees who violate the law must properly pay our debts to society. Members of the elite, not so much.

Berger's laughable judicial fate emboldened Hillary Clinton. She will suffer no prosecution for hoarding State Secrets in her house and intentionally exposing them to the world--she might still become POTUS. And it's logic to conclude that she had President Obama's blessing--or the blessing of whomever is controlling the two of them.

But I still think it's important to keep pointing out what kind of Leviathan of corruption and, possibly, betrayal, our government has become.

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