Stealing From National Archives

Hmmm…if you steal classified documents related to national security, you get a good talking to. If you steal Civil War era documents and sell them, you get 10 years (which is what the gov wants this dude to get).

United States Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

March 15, 2007 -

United States Attorney Pat Meehan announced the filing today of a criminal information* charging 40-year-old Denning McTague of Philadelphia with stealing 165 documents from the National Archives at 900 Market Street in Philadelphia, where he worked as an unpaid intern during the summer of 2006. McTague sold the stolen items on eBay. To date, 161 documents have been recovered.

The stolen Civil War era documents included orders, letters, and telegrams relating to supplying guns, gun powder and swords to the troops, as well as an Order from the War Department announcing the death of President Abraham Lincoln to the troops, and a letter from James Ewell Brown Stuart, the most famous calvary man of the Civil War.

?These are pieces of American history to be preserved, not sold to the highest bidder,? said Meehan.

McTague is an avid and educated cultural and historical artifacts collector, having obtained a masters degrees in history and information systems with a concentration in archives. He was the owner and operator of Denning House, a business formerly located in New York and then in Philadelphia, which described itself on its Web site as a ?Purveyor of: Rare and Unusual Books, Maps, Manuscripts, Interesting Paper and Americana."

Sandy Burglar is laughing at us, as are the Clintons.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

Sandy Burglar is laughing at us, as are the Clintons.

Sandy Berger didn’t take any originals, you know that, right?

Everything Sandy Berger took, was in the form of a printout from a hard disc. No information was destroyed, except whatever personal notes he may have written (you’re supposed to hand over your notes, after you’re done looking at the printouts).

I’m not defending Sandy Berger, because what he did doesn’t make any sense (to me anyway) and it’s indefensible when people flout the law. But if this intern took original historical documents to sell on Ebay, then there’s really no comparison between the two situations.