Sunday, July 25, 2004

A Pro Explains How Sandy Should Have Done It

WASHINGTON POST - Merrell Williams, who made a name for himself a decade ago as a document-grabbing whistle-blower against Big Tobacco, laughs into his cell phone when discussing Sandy Berger's supposed sloppiness in taking secret government files. He has too much to say.

"What I don't understand is why someone who has such a respectable career would choose to demean himself in such a way," says Williams of the former national security adviser, who is being investigated for removing secret documents from the National Archives last year in advance of his Senate testimony on terrorism preparations. "Only people at the bottom, like me at the time, have the instincts to pull off this kind of work. You have to understand: I had nothing to lose, except for my job, my wife, my kids and my own life. And I would have done it all over again."...

"I remember how the papers would stick to my tummy when I sweated," Williams says. At other times, the papers he stuffed around his waist would be so crisp that they would make a crinkling sound as he walked. To hide the sound from the security guards, Williams says he often ate potato chips as he passed. It proved effective, not only because of the crunching sound but because "the guards would always be distracted by the chips," says Williams. "They were really fat and wanted my chips more anyway."

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