A new security breach at the National Archives is reminiscent of Sandy Berger, former National Security Adviser to President Bill Clinton, who removed documents from the National Archives as the 9/11 Commission conducted investigations. Now there’s a terabyte of data missing in what amounts to another Clinton administration whodunit.
Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) issued a statement Tuesday calling for National Archives and Administration acting archivist Adrienne Thomas to appear before an Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Thursday to answer questions regarding the loss of a hard drive containing national security information and other Clinton Administration records.
No one will ever really know what Berger took in 2003 when he did the cloak and dagger routine, allegedly removing documents related to millennium terror threats. But there is some information about what’s currently missing and the news is not good.
The NARA inspector general briefed oversight committee staff about the investigation into the loss of a hard drive from NARA’s College Park facility. The drive contains one terabyte of data derived from records from the Clinton presidency. Data on the drive includes more than 100,000 social security numbers (including Al Gore’s daughter), contact information (including addresses) for various Clinton administration officials, Secret Service and White House operating procedures, event logs, social gathering logs, political records and other highly-sensitive information. The full extent of the contents of the drive is still being investigated. One terabyte of data is the approximate equivalent of millions of books, according to the Inspector General.
Issa is the ranking Republican on the committee. “This egregious breach raises significant questions regarding the effectiveness of the security protocols that are in place at the National Archives and Records Administration,” Issa said.
Issa’s statement included information about storage protocol—the missing hard drive was in a workspace where at least 100 “badge-holders” had access. Janitors, visitors, interns and others passed through the area where the driver was being kept—the location was on the route to a bathroom. And the door to the workspace was often “left open for ventilation.”
The IG described a potentially catastrophic lack of internal controls at NARA. Even the “secure” storage spaces for sensitive information are susceptible to breach. In a previous IG report, he described how the Acting Archivist wrote off the loss of $6 million worth of computer equipment (driver, laptops, etc.).
This breach is reminiscent of former National Security Adviser (Clinton administration) Sandy Berger’s illegal removal of documents. A district court judge gave Berger a pass—he had to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a fine as well as $6,905 for the administrative costs of his two-year probation. We may never know what Berger actually did take. He gave conflicting statements.
Issa’s statement said the NARA dates the loss between October, 2008 and March, 2009. The IG is investigating the situation as a crime with the assistance of the Department of Justice and the Secret Service but they have not yet determined if the loss was the result of theft or accidental loss.
Intrigue has long been part of the Clinton legacy, not only including the removal or loss of sensitive information from the Archives, but also a number of questionable pardons the Democratic president issued.
It’s tempting to ask whether the missing data could possibly relate to political blowups such as recent accusations towards the CIA about terrorist interrogations, levied by Democratic speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) How, exactly, did Clinton deal with terrorists? There’s no way to know the answer to that or other questions until the latest missing data mystery related to Democrats is resolved.
Security breach at National Archives results in more missing Clinton data by Kay B. Day