Defense & National Security

Berger to Plead Guilty of Taking Documents

The Justice Department announced yesterday that former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger would be pleading guilty on Friday, April 1, to the misdemeanor of taking classified documents from the National Archives.

Berger had previously admitted to inadvertently taking documents from the archives in what he called an “honest mistake.”

But a July 22, 2004, Washington Post story headlined “Archives Staff Was Suspicious of Berger, Why Documents Were Missing Is Disputed,” described what amounted to a sting operation conducted against the former Clinton White House official.

According to the Post, Archives officials believed “documents were missing” after Berger had visited the facility in September 2003.

“The government source said the Archives employees were deferential toward Berger, given his prominence, but were worried when he returned to view more documents on October 2,” the Post reported. “They devised a coding system and marked the documents they knew Berger was interested in canvassing, and watched him carefully. They knew he was interested in all the versions of the millennium review [an after-action report of the Clinton Administration’s response to a terrorist threat on New Year’s 2000], some of which bore handwritten notes from Clinton-era officials who had reviewed them. At one point an Archives employee even handed Berger a coded draft and asked whether he was sure he had seen it. At the end of the day, Archives employees determined that that draft and all four or five other versions of the millennium memo had disappeared from the files, this source said.”


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