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Sandy Berger to Plead Guilty In Pantsgate

Remember the story about former national security adviser Sandy Berger stuffing memos he was reviewing in preparation for his 9/11 commission testimony in his pants and sneaking out of the Archives with them? There's a major update to the story.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former national security adviser Sandy Berger will plead guilty to taking classified documents from the National Archives, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Berger, who served in the Clinton administration, will enter the plea Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, said Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra.

The plea agreement, if accepted by a judge, ends a bizarre episode in which the man who once had access to the government's most sensitive intelligence was accused of sneaking documents out of the Archives in his clothing.

The charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

However, a federal law enforcement official said a plea agreement calls for Berger to serve no jail time but to pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his security clearance for three years and cooperate with investigators. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the pending court proceeding. A judge must approve the agreement.

It's worth noting that Berger will have his clearance back right in the midst of the primary season in 2008.

Via Bridget Johnson


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Comments (21)

He should get the max and t... (Below threshold)
John:

He should get the max and the max needs to be higher, imho.

I haven't seen a federal se... (Below threshold)
julie:

I haven't seen a federal sentence that sweet in years, if at all.

It's outrageous that he get... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

It's outrageous that he getting off that light and even worse that he'll ever be able to get his security clearance back. Why would we ever trust Berger with any kind of clearance ever again? Why would he ever need it anyway?

No way should he be allowed... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

No way should he be allowed anywhere near something that is meant to be secret.

At a minimum, he should nev... (Below threshold)
me:

At a minimum, he should never have his security clearance back and he should be required to reconstruct (under oath) to the best of his ability what documents were destroyed (the comments on the docs).

The real crime?"Th... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

The real crime?

"The charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor..."

This sounds more like a really expensive jaywalking ticket rather than the gross offense that it is.

The potential penance: no jail, trivial fine, no clearance until the next administration moves in, retains right to vote

Wow.

Anyone else wonder if this ... (Below threshold)

Anyone else wonder if this was released after Terri Schivo's death so it gets buried in the coverage? I'm just sayin'...

Very astute, Cybrludite. In... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Very astute, Cybrludite. Interesting indeed.

Oh, hey, this just ruins an... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Oh, hey, this just ruins an offensive troll's perspective to my site (the wretched "Kevin", earlier described)... I mean, here the troll accused me of belittling Sandy Berger for my own advantage (?, like I made Sandy Berger behave as he has), and here Sandy Berger is admitting his corrupt behavior.

What I find most problematic about Sandy Berger is that he was appointed and tolerated by Bill Clinton while Clinton was President -- and even Clinton, after Berger was observed to be stuffing his clothing with classified documents, etc., Clinton found it laughable, along the lines of having already known Berger to be as he was so what's new about this last escapade and such.

To think that Sandy Berger was among the Clinton Cabinet, supposedly supervising areas of National Security, and to think just what that meant while he was. It's terrifying.

Not any scarier than Clinto... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Not any scarier than Clinton having anything to do with national security, and a little less scary than Jimmy Carter having anything to do with it.

I'm, intrigued by the plea ... (Below threshold)
McCain:

I'm, intrigued by the plea agreement requiring him to "cooperate with investigators." Does that fat fart have anything to say about his conspirators?

Ha, yeah, bullwinkle, so ri... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Ha, yeah, bullwinkle, so right you are. I'd laugh if it wasn't so...so...awfully right.

~:-]

Re national security - inte... (Below threshold)
BR:

Re national security - interesting report by Jim Kouri:
US Businessmen Discovered Selling Military Technology to Terrorists.

(I give my heartfelt congratulations and appreciation to the men and women of ICE for their courageous work. I only wish the culprits' sentences could have been stiffer - as in the Rosenbergs'.)

"Anyone else wonder if this... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Anyone else wonder if this was released after Terri Schivo's death so it gets buried in the coverage? I'm just sayin'..."

I didn't think it, but this is a pretty good observation, and hard to argue with.

'serve no jail time ' WTF?<... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

'serve no jail time ' WTF?

What is it about democrats ... (Below threshold)
Mike:

What is it about democrats and documents?
They hide them (Hillary, Bill an the FBI files) They forge them (TANG files), they lie about them (Kerry- I have released all my records) they fabricate them (the allegedly Schiavo memo) and they steal and destroy them (Sandy Berger).
I would trust my parrot with documents before I would a democrat politican.
I can see the DUmmies now.. This was all part of a master Roveian plot.

What would happen if any of us went to the national archives building and attempted to walk out with some random record, say, an original immigration list from the early 1900's or an old map of Lawrence Kansas?
It's certainly not sensitive or secret. We would be in cuffs before we were able to pull them out of our socks.

Two thoughts;- He di... (Below threshold)
charlie32:

Two thoughts;
- He didn't just steal them, he shredded several, so we have now lost evidence of what Clinton did or failed to do about terrorism during his watch. The cooperation remark suggests someone wants to find out what was destroyed so it can be reconstituted. (Expect any such reconstituted document to make the Clinton's look good.)

- mishandling classified is usually kept a misdemeanor because it can happen absent malice and those are usually handled administratively. (e.g. Forgot something was in your briefcase and brought it back when you found it). As a felony, your boss or the security person you return it to would be REQUIRED to slam you. Not good.

But I am not getting why he... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

But I am not getting why he should have his security clearance returned.

The guy purposefully screwed up (documents don't just end up in your pants by accident), and they are going to give him more access in three years? What are they thinking?

Guess it helps to have support in high places.

Imagine what would have hap... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Imagine what would have happened if Berger were a Republican.

Samuel Berger begins his co... (Below threshold)
HeyMike:

Samuel Berger begins his community service sentence today...

911 commission How big is t... (Below threshold)
Ktech (ARIZONA):

911 commission How big is this?????? Blogosphire???... ....FOR the 911 commission, he was retrieving documents to change or hide notes from the 911 COMMISSION! Where are those documents with hand written notes? What Did He and Pres. Clinton hide????




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