05 May 2008

Clinton Library Will Not Release Papers Berger Stole

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The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library will not make available to the public the documents that former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger illegally took from the National Archives in 2003.

A letter from the library said the total 502 pages from the Millennium Alert After Action Review (MAAR) are “restricted in their entirety,” under federal law and that the documents are “classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.”

Further, the library stated the documents contain “confidential communications requesting or submitting advice between the president and his advisors, or between such advisors.” …

Berger, who was national security advisor for President Clinton from 1997 to 2001, took five different copies of pages from the classified MAAR out of the archives by stuffing them in his suit and exiting the archives building. Berger did that at a time (September-October 2003) when the 9/11 Commission was beginning to investigate both the Clinton and Bush administrations’ handling of the terror threat in the led up to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Millennium Alert After Action Review was reportedly a 1999 assessment of how the nation was handling terrorist threats. The assessment was distributed to only 15 people in the Clinton administration and contained 29 recommendations, according to published reports.

On Oct. 2, 2003, Berger removed four documents, each of which were versions of MAAR. Berger left the building and later went to a construction area, according to the National Archives Inspector General’s (IG) report. He removed documents from his pockets, folded the documents and slid them under a trailer at the construction site, the report said. That night, the IG reported, Berger went to his office and cut with scissors three of the four pilfered documents into small pieces.

When the National Archives contacted him two days later to say documents were missing, he said he did not take them, according to the IG report. Berger later called the archives to tell them he found two of the documents, but not the other two.

In April 2005, he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of removing and retaining classified material. He was fined $50,000, sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours community service, and stripped of his security clearance for three years. He also relinquished his license to practice law.

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