Hillary’s “Newest” Advisor
Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D) has quietly brought President William J. Clinton’s former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger onto her campaign as an advisor – unpaid for now, but let’s keep an eye on those campaign finance reports.
In April, 2005, Sandy Berger pleaded guilty to removing and destroying documents from the National Archives. Inasmuch as he was stripped of any security clearance for three years as part of his sentence, it is not clear how he will be able to advise her on such matters and, therefore, what his value to her campaign is.
More importantly, however, by bringing Mr. Berger into her campaign in any capacity, Senator Clinton is endorsing his selfish and egregious conduct in destroying national documents and thereby casting a shadow on her own judgment.
In view of Ken’s inaccurate comment that
Sandy has paid the price for playing with official copies (not the originals) of nationally classified documents
let’s take a look at what Sandy Berger did at the National Archives and then, most interestingly, after he reached a plea bargain.
First of all, due to laxity on the part of the National Archives’ staff, the complete list of documents which Mr. Berger removed and destroyed will never be known. But the fact that Mr. Berger took five copies of the same memo suggests that they were more than just copies:
In addition to primary documents, Berger had access to copies, and the only plausible reason for taking five copies of a single memo is that some had original notes on them from key officials, maybe from Berger or President Clinton
which would have made them originals in their own right. In any case, he sure was determined and thorough in his removal efforts:
The committee’s 60-page report makes it clear that Mr. Berger knew exactly what he was doing and knew that what he was doing was wrong. According to interviews with National Archives staff, Mr. Berger repeatedly arranged to be left alone with highly classified documents by feigning the need to make personal phone calls, and he used those moments alone with the files to stuff them in his pockets and briefcase
Law enforcement sources said archive staff members told FBI agents they saw Berger placing items in his jacket and pants, and one archive staffer told agents that Berger also placed something in his socks
stashed highly classified documents he had taken from the National Archives beneath a construction trailer at the corner of Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW so he could surreptitiously retrieve them later and take them to his office
used scissors to destroy three before placing them in his office trash, the National Archives inspector general concluded in a Nov. 4, 2005, report.
Now, Part Two of this Addendum: How and Why Mr. Berger Jettisoned His Law License.
Berger previously entered a deal with the Department of Justice after he was caught stealing and destroying highly sensitive classified material regarding the Clinton Administration’s handling of terrorism issues. That deal allowed him to avoid jail time, pay a modest fine, and keep his law license. It also allowed him to avoid full explanation of what he had taken and why he had taken it.
That is correct; Mr. Berger walked out of his sentencing and away from his criminal conviction with his law license intact.
What information was worth risking his reputation, his career, and his freedom to keep hidden? And who was he risking that for?
Recently, the Board of the DC Bar, which had granted Berger his license, began asking those questions. There was only one way to stop that investigation, to keep from answering questions about what he did and why he did it, to keep the Bar from questioning his colleagues in the Clinton Administration about what had been in the documents Berger destroyed.
Berger took that step, surrendering his license, and stopping the investigation.
Ordinarily, anyone who has spent the time, effort, and money needed to master one of the “learned professions” fights with the utmost determination to keep his license. That is not merely a ticket to practice your chosen profession – it is also a badge of honor and accomplishment. Ask any doctor or lawyer, any architect or CPA, any professional at all, what it means to give that up.
That Berger didn’t fight speaks volumes.
The man who knew too much to keep his law license is now advising the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.