Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has issued a disturbing statement in connection with the Berger affair:
I am profoundly troubled by allegations that former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger removed highly classified documents from the National Archives regarding the Clinton Administration’s handling of terrorist attacks prior to the September 11th attacks.
What could those documents have said that drove Mr. Berger to remove them without authorization from a secure reading room for classified documents?
What information could be so embarrassing that a man with decades of experience in handling classified documents would risk being caught pilfering our nation’s most sensitive secrets?
Did these documents detail simple negligence or did they contain something more sinister? Was this a bungled attempt to rewrite history and keep critical information from the 9/11 Commission and potentially put their report under a cloud?
It is my understanding that Mr. Berger shoved this classified information into his clothing to smuggle them out of the National Archives. Press reports indicate that Archival staff became concerned when documents began to disappear and specifically marked additional documents to track them. A number of those documents also turned up missing.
Mr. Berger has a lot of explaining to do. He was given access to these documents to assist the 9/11 Commission, not hide information from them. The American people and the 9/11 families don’t want cover-ups when it comes to the War on Terror. They want the truth. And so does the U.S. House of Representatives.
(Courtesy of Gerry Nolting and The Kerry Spot.)
HINDROCKET adds: It is now being reported that Berger has resigned as an adviser to John Kerry. Berger says he has resigned because he “does not want any issue surrounding the 9/11 commission to be used for partisan purposes.” That’s sort of funny, under the circumstances.
I’m on the road today as usual, and I learned about the Berger investigation from my hotel copy of USA Today. I was struck by this juxtaposition of information:
Berger said he inadvertently took some documents from the archives….Two of the [National Archives] officials said Berger was reportedly seen stuffing some of the material into his clothing.
Yes, that happens to me all the time. I’ll be in a room full of documents, and when I get back to my office I find that I have accidentally stuck some of them down my pants.