Hamilton: National Archives, the disappearing documents
September 1, 2016
Even the most non-partisan observer would conclude that Bill and Hillary Clinton and their close associates have a problem with classified documents. For example: After 19 Islamic terrorists killed 2,996 Americans and injured over 6,000 others on September 11, 2001, the 9/11 Commission investigated the Islamic terrorist attack, hoping to discover how the attacks could have been prevented. Sandy Berger, President Clinton's former National Security Adviser, was slated to be a key witness. Beginning in October, 2003, while claiming a need to refresh his memory, Berger visited the classified documents section of the National Archives on four occasions.
During each visit, Berger stole classified documents relating to President Clinton's missed opportunities to eliminate Osama bin Laden in advance of 9/11. (See: Sean Naylor's Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command (2015) reveals President Bill Clinton called off two Delta Force operations that could have nailed Osama bin Laden long before September 11, 2001.)
On his fourth visit to the National Archives, Berger was caught in the act. In April 2005, Berger pleaded guilty to a charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material from the National Archives. Berger was fined $50,000, sentenced to serve two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, and stripped of his security clearance. Facing disbarment, Berger surrendered his law license. After the Sandy Berger scandal, you would think the National Archives would keep a closer eye on documents related to the Clintons.
When investigators visited the National Archives in 1994 to review documents related to the July 20, 1993, suicide of Hillary Clinton's great good friend and aide, Vince Foster, they took note of two FBI agent reports (FB-302) that included information about a White House staff meeting during which Hillary Clinton ridiculed Vince Foster mercilessly in front of his peers for raising a legal objection to Hillary Clinton's proposed socialized-medicine legislation. A week later, Vince Foster committed suicide.
Fast forward to 2016: With Mrs. Bill Clinton running again for President, journalists delved into the National Archives to review, among other Clinton papers, the Vince Foster file. According to two FBI agents who filed the reports linking Mrs. Clinton's tirade to Foster's suicide, the FB-302s about the White House staff meeting during which Hillary Clinton ridiculed Vince Foster, are now (drum roll) missing! As of August 23, despite a Freedom of Information Request by former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, Ronald Kessler, the National Archives cannot find the missing FBI agent reports.
Wait. There's more! Back in March 2009, the National Archives discovered an external hard drive containing classified information from the Bill Clinton White House had disappeared. Criminal investigators offered a reward of $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of the hard drive. But, unlike the Sandy Berger thefts, the Clinton-related crime was never solved.
Mrs. Bill Clinton's use of a private, non-secure e-mail server to conduct Department of State and Clinton Foundation business while she was Secretary of State offers more evidence that the Clintons and classified documents don't play well together. If Mrs. Bill Clinton is elected President, one wonders if either of the Clintons could obtain a security clearance?
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the Army Language School, the George Washington University, the Infantry School, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.