The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

On Berger

Glenn Reynolds is doing his usual top notch job of rounding up all the dialogue on Sandy Berger.

Now, I am not sure where this fits in, and I don't know what the protocols are for the Top Secret (eer, Codeword) wing of the Archives, but I was doing research on old EPA memos last week at the Archives branch in Adelphi, Maryland.

The Adelphi facility, in addition to housing lots of mundane records, are also home to large quantities of the nations military records, the Nixon tapes, and the JFK Assassination records. The buildings and grounds, are quite simply, more secure than most military bases I have visited.

My car was stopped at the road, and another 3 times with numerous questions, before I even entered the building. Once inside, I needed to provide an ID, register as a certified researcher and then go through security.

Here is the kicker - You are not allowed to bring in briefcases, or binders, or even your own pens or pencils. You are not allowed to wear a jacket or clothing with more than the normal number of pockets. They are extra sensitive to loose clothing. I had some notes that I drafted before heading up (listing what I was looking for). Those were reviewed by security, time and date stamped, and logged in before I was allowed to go further than the front entry hall. The manila folder (not envelope) they were in was taken from me (I had the option of renting a locker for it, but chose to throw it out instead). When I left, I was searched (though they didn't pat me down) and the papers I had were checked to ensure they were the same ones I entered with.

Now, its true, Sandy Berger has a higher security classification then me. But what I find incredible, is that the protocols the press is reporting (that he could bring in a briefcase and note pads and pens) are significantly more lax than are applied to non classified materials made available to the general public.

Can this be? Or is there much more to this story than we are hearing now? Probably. In any event, I find it bewildering that Sandy Berger could ever describe his actions as inadvertent.

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