• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Sandy (pants) Berger pleads guilty on classified documents

Help Support Ranchers.net:

Bull Burger

Well-known member
Feb 14, 2005
Reaction score
Fruited Plains of western SD
Ex-National Security Adviser to Plead Guilty to Taking Classified Material
Friday, April 01, 2005

WASHINGTON — Sandy Berger, who was President Clinton's top national security aide, has acknowledged taking classified documents from the National Archives and cutting them up with scissors, law enforcement officials said Friday.

Rather than the "honest mistake" he acknowledged last summer, Berger told Justice Department lawyers he intentionally took and deliberately destroyed three copies of the same document dealing with terror threats during the 2000 millennium celebration, said the officials. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because Berger's plea had not yet been accepted by a judge.

A U.S. District Court hearing was scheduled for Friday afternoon, at which time Berger was expected to enter a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge.

The court appearance was the culmination of a bizarre episode in which the man who once had access to the government's most sensitive intelligence was accused of sneaking documents out of the Archives, which houses the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other cherished and top-secret documents.

The charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

However, the plea agreement calls for Berger to serve no jail time but to pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his security clearance for three years and cooperate with investigators, the officials said. Berger also was required to acknowledge that taking the documents was not inadvertent, they said.

Security clearance allows access to classified government materials.

The Bush administration disclosed the investigation in July, just days before the Sept. 11 commission issued its final report. Democrats claimed the White House was using Berger to deflect attention from the harsh findings, with their potential for damaging President Bush's re-election prospects.

After news of the probe surfaced, Berger acknowledged he left the National Archives on two occasions in 2003 with copies of documents about the government's anti-terror efforts and notes that he took on those documents.

He said he was reviewing the materials to help determine which Clinton administration documents to provide to the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He called the episode "an honest mistake" and denied criminal wrongdoing.

Berger and his lawyer, Lanny Breuer, have said Berger knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants and inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.

He returned two of the five copies of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of Al Qaeda terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration.

"Mr. Berger has cooperated fully with the Department of Justice and is pleased that a resolution appears very near," Breuer said Thursday.

The Associated Press first reported in July that the Justice Department was investigating Berger for incidents at the Archives the previous fall. The disclosure prompted Berger to step down as an adviser to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Clinton was among Democrats who questioned the timing of the disclosure of the Berger probe, three days before the release of the final Sept. 11 commission report. The commission, writing three months before the 2004 presidential election, detailed failures of both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Leaders of the Sept. 11 commission said they were able to get every key document needed to complete their report.

Latest posts