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On July 19, 2004, it was revealed that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating Berger for taking as many as fifty classified documents, in October 2003, from a National Archives reading room prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission. The documents were commissioned from Richard Clarke about the Clinton administration's handling of millennium terror threats. When initially questioned, Berger claimed that the removal of top-secret documents in his attache-case and handwritten notes in his pants and jacket pockets was accidental. He would later, in a guilty plea, admit to deliberately removing materials and then cutting them up with scissors.
Did we ever figure out what Sandy Berger stole from the 9/11 Commision?
What is he trying to hide? Who is he trying to protect?
How can this be so easily overlooked by Americans in any rational discussion of 9/11?
Measures taken by the Clinton administration to thwart international terrorism and bin Laden’s network were historic, unprecedented and, sadly, not followed up on. Consider the steps offered by Clinton’s 1996 omnibus anti-terror legislation, the pricetag for which stood at $1.097 billion.
The following is a partial list of the initiatives offered by the Clinton anti-terrorism bill:
Screen Checked Baggage: $91.1 million
Screen Carry-On Baggage: $37.8 million
Passenger Profiling: $10 million
Screener Training: $5.3 million
Screen Passengers (portals) and Document Scanners: $1 million
Deploying Existing Technology to Inspect International Air Cargo: $31.4 million
Provide Additional Air/Counterterrorism Security: $26.6 million
Explosives Detection Training: $1.8 million
Augment FAA Security Research: $20 million
Customs Service: Explosives and Radiation Detection Equipment at Ports: $2.2 million
Anti-Terrorism Assistance to Foreign Governments: $2 million
Capacity to Collect and Assemble Explosives Data: $2.1 million
Improve Domestic Intelligence: $38.9 million
Critical Incident Response Teams for Post-Blast Deployment: $7.2 million
In Congress, Clinton was thwarted by the reactionary conservative majority in virtually every attempt he made to pass legislation that would attack al-Qaeda and terrorism. His 1996 omnibus terror bill, which included many of the anti-terror measures we now take for granted after September 11, was withered almost to the point of uselessness by attacks from the right; Senators Jesse Helms and Trent Lott were openly dismissive of the threats Clinton spoke of.
Specifically, Clinton wanted to attack the financial underpinnings of the al-Qaeda network by banning American companies and individuals from dealing with foreign banks and financial institutions that al-Qaeda was using for its money-laundering operations. Texas Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, gutted the portions of Clinton’s bill dealing with this matter, calling them “totalitarian.“
In fact, Gramm was compelled to kill the bill because his most devoted patrons, the Enron Corporation and its criminal executives in Houston, were using those same terrorist financial networks to launder their own dirty money and rip off the Enron stockholders. It should also be noted that Gramm’s wife, Wendy, sat on the Enron Board of Directors.
Now fast-forward to the Iraq War. George W Bush not only wants to play the strongman, but his supporters primed by the Violent Hollywood American Culture demand that he play the role of the strongman. The role is defined by the culture and George W Bush can’t be seen to be the “wimp,” like his father the diplomat. So, poised with the news of Iraqi insurgents not happy with the American Occupation he tells the world, “Bring It On.”
Not everyone in America is comfortable with this sheriff. Some of us don’t believe that George W Bush and his gang is working for the common good. In fact, using the metaphor of the Wild West, some of us believe that George W Bush is actually the outlaw trying to run and ruin the town. The people of the community are willing to put up with a little personal indiscretion, but when a varmint crosses the line the community is willing to rise up and speak out. And sometimes speaking out isn’t enough. And that’s when we say, “Bring It On.”