Josh Gerstein covers some of the incredible details in the National Archives Inspector General’s report on Sandy Berger’s theft and destruction of classified documents from the National Archives in this New York Sun story. Regarding Berger’s hiding of the documents underneath a construction trailer oustide the National Archives, Gerstein quotes Steven Aftergood:
A leading authority on classification policy, Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, said Mr. Berger’s behavior was reminiscent of a “dead drop,” when spies leave records in a park or under a mailbox to be retrieved by a handler.
“It seems deliberate and calculated,” Mr. Aftergood said. “It’s impossible to maintain the pretense that this was an act of absentmindedness.”
The New York Times uses a wire service story to cover the report. Its own reporters were apparently otherwise engaged. The AP report on the Times site includes a detail of which I wasn’t aware:
In October 2003, the report said, an Archives official called Berger to discuss missing documents from his visit two days earlier. The investigator’s notes said, “Mr. Berger panicked because he realized he was caught.”
The notes said that Berger had “destroyed, cut into small pieces, three of the four documents. These were put in the trash.”
After the trash had been picked up, Berger “tried to find the trash collector but had no luck,” the notes said.
Jay Nordlinger comments in his NRO Impromptus column:
Call me a right-wing paranoid