July 21, 2004

Berg[l?]er in the archives

Whatever the political motivation for the Sandy Berger documents story hitting the airwaves now, my interest is whetted by a "scandal" that involves National Archives reading room regulations!

At its root this 'scandal' seems to be one which would never have happened if Sandy Berger had taken notes on a laptop instead of note cards!

As for the political dimension, is this the best the Republicans can bring up to distract the Democratic convention next week. This story will be gone by Friday lunchtime it has so little substance.

[what about that Allawi execution story ...]

You may or may not believe Berger's lawyer's claim that this was all an inadvertent mistake, but having once not returned a document to its proper folder at the Archives, I can attest to the ease with which it can be done inadvertently.

You're packing up your photocopying and putting stuff back in the archive boxes, and the last document you were working on can easily get swept up in the pile of notes and copies to be removed.

In my experience the Archives staff are unusually thorough about checking what you're taking out of the building, so it seems strange that they didn't check the copies thoroughly.

But, as his lawyer says, Berger was allowed to have a leather portfolio in the reading room with him; something not allowed to normal visitors who cannot take any bag that is not transparent.

Also, note cards! note cards! Can somebody please buy Sandy Berger a laptop for taking notes on. Please. It's much neater and quicker.

Posted by robe0419 at July 21, 2004 10:49 AM