October 9, 2007

Hillary's "Newest" Advisor

Monique Chartier

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

And again

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

Berger then

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

and later

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.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

on the other hand, USA today reports thusly:

"At the end of an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton a short while ago, USA TODAY's Susan Page inquired about reports that former Clinton administration national security adviser Sandy Berger is advising her."

[Clinton said] "He has no official role in my campaign. He's been a friend for more than 30 years. But he doesn't have any official role," Clinton said."

Posted by: Thomas at October 9, 2007 1:15 AM

Sandy Berger is in a catch 22. His security clearance has been revoked for three years which means he can reapply in 2008 estimated however, he must still be held to some level of security clearance (highest to which he was allowed access) to prohibit him from disclosing what he already knows which makes any discussions with Hillary related to even the lowest security level (sensitive but unclassified (social security numbers) a big No No go back to jail!

Hillary indicates Sandy Berger is not a paid adviser and not officially part of her team.

Sandy has paid the price for playing with official copies (not the originals) of nationally classified documents. He also knows what additional price he will pay if he screws up again.

Posted by: Ken at October 9, 2007 5:23 AM

Yeah, and everybody would be just as understanding if a member of the Bush administration had done the same thing.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 9, 2007 6:14 AM

A guy willing to destroy evidence.

What more could Hillary ask for?

This guy's guaranteed a high level slot in her administration (heaven forbid)!

Posted by: Tom W at October 9, 2007 10:24 PM

Uh....I'm not going to quibble with anything in the addendum about what Berger did.

But why in the world would you conclude the addendum with this: "The man who knew too much to keep his law license is now advising the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton", after it was already pointed out that this contradicts Clinton's statement (quoted above) that he HAS NO OFFICIAL ROLE IN THE CAMPAIGN?

To be frank, to continue to repeat this without explanation looks like a cheap smear job. I understand if Fox reports it the way they do (they've given up any credibility as an unbiased news source), but I expect better from Anchor Rising.

Posted by: Thomas at October 9, 2007 10:25 PM


Thomas, you're still missing the point. It is inappropriate and alarming that a man who destroyed classified documents from the National Archives to cover up we still don't know what has any role in the campaign of a candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

But I'll defer to the Clinton campaign. In that first link, they are quoted as saying that "he provides valuable and welcome input". Apparently the Clinton campaign itself isn't differentiating whether his role is official or unofficial.

Posted by: Monique at October 9, 2007 11:23 PM

We don't know what role he has? I thought Fox News was pretty clear and confident in the headline from the story that your post is based on: "The Admitted Criminal Who Is Advising Hillary Clinton's Presidential Election Campaign". You were also clear in your statement that "Hillary Clinton (D) has quietly brought President William J. Clinton's former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger onto her campaign as an advisor ".

All I know for sure is that Clinton still talks to former National Security Advisor Berger. Maybe she should not do that because of his conviction, despite their 30 year friendship. Maybe she should not. Politically, it's obviously unwise. Morally, I think it's tough...if I had a friend who admitted fault and expressed remorse, as Berger has, I'd have a hard time turning my back.

With due respect, I don't think I've missed the point. I honestly respect the concerns expressed in your comment. I do not respect the National Inquirer-style of Fox at all, at least not if it pretends to be news.

Posted by: Thomas at October 10, 2007 9:18 AM

Let me say this one more time for all of your ears.

The documents in the National Archives are numbered copies of the originals.

Unclassified or nationally classified.

I would like to know what "COVER UP"?

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2007 10:10 PM

Justin says, "Yeah, and everybody would be just as understanding if a member of the Bush administration had done the same thing."

Well, Fox certainly seems understanding, as they have convicted felon, and violator of national security laws, Oliver North on their staff.

Yes, I know, his conviction was overturned on a technicality- with the help of ACLU lawyers- which fact surely that warms the cockles of every AR reader's heart.

ya know, It's really just about being honest and speaking and acting in good faith. I think Fox is not doing that, and ALL of us should call them on that.

Posted by: Thomas at October 10, 2007 11:45 PM

The documents in the National Archives are numbered copies of the originals."

But some are also originals in their own right. Here's how.

A memo is prepared, at the request of the President. Several copies of that memo are made and handed out, either prior to or at a meeting of the President and his staff, convened to discuss the contents of the memo.

Either prior to or during that meeting, some of the participants make their own notes on their copy of the memo. These hand written notes are unique to that copy of the original, thus becoming originals themselves.

As to "what cover up", back atcha, Ken. If there was nothing to cover up, why did Berger destroy the documents he himself fully admitted to destroying?

But obvious and most important, Berger's action in destroying those documents was, prima facie, a cover up.

Posted by: Monique at October 11, 2007 12:10 AM


The documents in question were not new documents and one of a kind requiring a presidential executive memo.

Berger admits he did a stupid act in cutting the documents so he could line them up by respective paragraphs.

However, if Berger and his office were the originators and national security classifier he and his office are the only ones allowed to declassify the documents.

Without being in the hearing room or courtroom and hearing full testimony in the case, subject to national security clearance, everything is subject to speculation, misinformation and news media spin.

Posted by: Ken at October 11, 2007 2:19 AM


No difference between elected government officials and a TV news channel? I'm sure some might issue quips, and I might join in the fun, were CNN to pick up Sandy Berger in some sort of capacity, but that's wholly different from one of our leader's doing the same.

As for your sympathy for not "turning [her] back," I'd suggest that there's a difference between remaining friends with somebody and seeking advice from somebody. At any rate, I'm not ready to credit Mrs. Clinton with the integrity to insist that Berger "admitted fault and expressed remorse" --- at least about anything but getting caught.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 11, 2007 6:12 AM


I agree there's a difference. I also think Fox management doesn't care about North's crimes, or even approves of them. Nor would they pubish such a headline if a felon turned out to be advising President Bush. I have the same regard for Fox's integity as you have for Clinton's.

But, you don't need to take Clinton's word for Berger's remorse. Here's what he said in May when he gave up his law license: " I am very sorry for what I did, and I deeply apologize."

Posted by: Thomas at October 11, 2007 12:25 PM
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