Sandy Berger advising Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON - Sandy Berger, who stole highly classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, destroyed them and lied to investigators, is now an adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Berger, who was fired from John Kerry’s presidential campaign when the scandal broke in 2004, has assumed a similar role in Clinton’s campaign, even though his security clearance has been suspended until September 2008. This is raising eyebrows even among Clinton’s admirers. “It shows poor judgment and a lack of regard for Berger’s serious misdeeds,” said law professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University, who nonetheless called Clinton “by far the most impressive candidate in the Democratic field.”
Adler told The Examiner that it is “simply incomprehensible to me that a serious contender for the presidency would rely upon him as a key foreign policy advisor.”
He added: “If Senator Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, at some point she will begin to receive national security briefings that will include sensitive information. At such a point, continuing to keep Berger on board as a key advisor, where he might have access to sensitive material, would be beyond incomprehensible.”
The Clinton campaign declined to comment.
Berger has admitted stealing documents from the National Archives in advance of the 9/11 Commission hearings in 2003. The documents, written by White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, were a “tough review” of the Clinton administration’s shortcomings in dealing with terrorism, Clarke’s lawyer told the Washington Post.
The New York Democrat's campaign downplayed the fact, saying Monday that Berger is an informal, unpaid adviser to the campaign, something ascribed to many people associated with the campaign. Berger has been a longtime friend of both Clintons.
"He has no official role in the campaign," spokesman Blake Zeff said.
Aides to the New York Democrat were unapologetic about Berger's advisory role, noting he is not a central figure but has valuable and welcome input that he is providing voluntarily.
But Hoekstra took issue with the idea of letting someone convicted in connection with that sort of crime even voluntarily advise the campaign.
"Sandy Berger had a high position within our national security apparatus once before. He abused that position. He took top secret materials. He took them home, and we still have not really discovered or know what was in the documents or why they were so important for him to take them," Hoekstra said.
"It's clearly an indication that Sandy Berger is on the way back. That even though he abused the office that he held before and the privilege that he had before that there's a way for him to get back in and become a part of the national policy-making within the United States of America," he added.