Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sandy Berger gets slap on wrist

Even Clinton's associates (post Whitewater) are bulletproof:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger was sentenced Thursday to community service and probation and fined $50,000 for illegally removing highly classified documents from the National Archives and intentionally destroying some of them.

Berger must perform 100 hours of community service and pay the fine as well as $6,905 for the administrative costs of his two-year probation, a district court judge ruled.

"I deeply regret the actions that I took at the National Archives two years ago, and I accept the judgment of the court," Berger said outside the courthouse after his sentencing.

"I'm glad that the 9/11 commission has made clear that it received all the documents that it sought, all the documents that it needed, and I'm pleased to finally have this matter resolved," he added.

Berger reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in April to avoid a jail sentence.

At that time, he said the reason he took the documents was so he could prepare himself and others to assist the 9/11 commission, which investigated the circumstances surrounding the 2001 terrorist attacks and published a report of its findings last year.

The documents taken by Berger dealt with the terror threats during the 2000 millennium celebration, according to parties in the case.

According to the charges, Berger -- between September 2 and October 2, 2003 -- "knowingly removed classified documents from the National Archives and Records Administration and stored and retained such documents at places," such as his private Washington office.

Berger's associates admit he took five copies of an after-action report detailing the 2000 millennium terror plot from the Archives. The aides say Berger returned to his office, discovered that three of the copies appeared to be duplicates and cut them up with scissors.

The revelations were a dramatic change from Berger's claim last year that he had made an "honest mistake" and either misplaced or unintentionally threw the documents away.

When Archives officials contacted him after they realized documents were missing, Berger told them about the two copies he had, and returned them, along with his handwritten notes, officials said.
(Source: CNN)

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