Despite President Clinton’s repeated claims that he was “obsessed” with Osama Bin Laden, something his administration did, or didn’t do, caused his National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to turn into a thief, disgrace himself and betray his country.
Former national security adviser Sandy Berger removed classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 and hid them under a construction trailer, the Archives inspector general reported Wednesday.
The report was issued more than a year after Berger pleaded guilty and received a criminal sentence for removal of the documents.
Inspector General Paul Brachfeld reported that when Berger was confronted by Archives officials about the missing documents, he said it was possible he threw them in his office trash.
The report said that when Archives employees first suspected that Berger _ who had been President Clinton’s national security adviser _ was removing classified documents from the Archives in the fall of they failed to notify any law enforcement agency.
Berger, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully removing and retaining classified documents, was fined $50,000, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and was barred from access to classified material for three years.
The report said that when Berger was reviewing the classified documents in the Archives building a few blocks from the Capitol, employees saw him bending down and fiddling with something white, which could have been paper, around his ankle.
However, Archives employees did not feel at the time there was enough information to confront someone of Berger’s stature, the report said.
Brachfeld reported that on one visit, Berger took a break to go outside without an escort.
“In total, during this visit, he removed four documents … .
“Mr. Berger said he placed the documents under a trailer in an accessible construction area outside Archives 1 (the main Archives building).”
Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.
Berger, with the authorization of former President Clinton, was reviewing National Security Council documents on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, Sudan, and related presidential correspondence. The review was to facilitate Berger’s impending testimony before the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Simply put, he should have done hard time.
If you or I did exactly what Sandy Burger did, but at the local Department of Motor Vehicles, we would have done time. He did it at the National Archives, he stole national security secrets and destroyed them. He got off easy. Bill Clinton’s legacy as a terrorist fighter, er, not so much.