Sandy Berger Hid Stolen Archive Documents
It appears that Sandy Berger’s crimes are more serious than initially reported.
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 2003, they failed to notify any law enforcement agency.
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.
Rather clearly, this wasn’t a spur-of-the moment decision on Berger’s part to snatch documents but rather a premeditated act. And it’s one for which any military or civil service employee would be in jail.