The Berger caper

By Joseph Farah

It has been nearly a month since the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world, broke the shocking story about former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger removing highly classified documents from the National Archives.

The press has shown little interest in the story since.

Since the blockbuster revelation about Berger stuffing the documents in his pants and jacket – perhaps even his socks, according to one news service – there has been nary a new development.

We’re told the Justice Department is conducting an investigation. And we, the American public, are supposed to sit around and wait for the results.

Meanwhile, Sandy Berger is a free man.

I ask myself what would have happened to an ordinary citizen – not one of Washington’s elite – who made off with secret papers from what should be one of the most secure facilities in the capital?

I feel certain that ordinary citizen would not be on the streets. I feel certain that ordinary citizen would have been charged by now. I feel certain that ordinary citizen would have been questioned intently by the FBI.

This incident took place at a time when America is re-examining its national security policies and procedures – replacing a director of the Central Intelligence Agency, facing an enemy intent on killing as many Americans as possible, evaluating a report on what led to the biggest intelligence breakdown in American history.

To top it off, at the time of the incident, Berger was an adviser to the presidential campaign of John Kerry. While he has stepped down from that post, we’re led to believe he didn’t notify the candidate of the investigation that had been taking place for six months.

What’s going on here?

How can America pretend to be taking national security seriously while tolerating this kind of breach?

Couple this incredible breakdown with Tuesday’s story about a Justice Department investigation of terrorists who cased Las Vegas casinos.

What was the Justice Department’s first thought? Was it a public alert? Was it heightened security?

No, it was the effect an announcement would have on tourism in Las Vegas, internal memos reveal.

This is not national security. This is public relations.

But it gets worse.

Witness Tuesday’s story about the Department of Homeland Security putting its border officers through “etiquette” classes to soften their image and make them less threatening to arriving foreign immigrants.

Some officers complain that the timing of the move to kinder, gentler immigration inspections is not only odd, but a switch from recent orders.

A month ago, WorldNetDaily’s Paul Sperry reports, DHS directed officers to get tough on suspicious Pakistani travelers who may be sent to America by Osama bin Laden to join sleeper cells and carry out another attack. They were told to check them for rope burns, bruises and other signs of terrorist-camp training. Officers have since had young male Pakistani passengers rolling up their sleeves at major airports from New York to Los Angeles.

“Now they have new marching orders: Greet foreign passengers with ‘a smile’ and say, ‘Welcome to the United States.’ And don’t be so quick to detain suspicious foreigners, DHS advises. After all, they are ‘our customers.'”

Those who flunk the new weeks-long “etiquette” course may be fired, according to training guidelines issued by headquarters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection field directors. CBP, formerly INS, is a bureau of DHS.

Wait a minute. I thought we – the American people – were supposed to be the government’s “customers.”

Now we learn that foreigners arriving on our shores are the real “customers.”

Again, this doesn’t sound like national security to me. It sounds like political correctness run amok.

If we can’t even hold accountable a former national security adviser for unprecedented security breaches, how are we going to stop terrorists from attacking our nation again?