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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/9/2005 11:44:11 AM EDT

Judge Orders Berger to Pay $50,000 Fine
Thursday September 8, 2005 9:46 PM


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser who was once entrusted with the nation's most sensitive secrets, was fined $50,000 Thursday for taking classified documents from the National Archives.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson handed down the punishment in federal court, stiffening the $10,000 fine recommended by government lawyers. Under the deal, Berger avoids prison time but he must surrender access to classified government materials for three years.

``The court finds the fine is inadequate because it doesn't reflect the seriousness of the offense,'' Robinson said, as a grim-faced Berger stood silently.

She also sentenced Berger to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service.

Earlier in the hearing, Berger made a short emotional plea that admitted fault and expressed remorse for his crime.

``I let considerations of personal convenience override clear rules of handling classified material,'' said Berger, calling his actions a lapse of judgment that came while he was preparing to testify before the Sept. 11 commission last year.

``In this case, I failed. I will not again,'' he said.

The sentencing capped a bizarre sequence of events in which Berger admitted to sneaking classified documents out of the National Archives in his suit, later destroying some of them in his office and then lying about it.

Berger's lawyer, Lanny Breuer, said his client will not appeal the sentence.

The Bush administration disclosed the investigation in July 2004, just days before the Sept. 11 commission issued its final report. Democrats claimed the White House was using Berger to deflect attention from the harsh findings, with their potential for damaging President Bush's re-election prospects.

Initially saying his actions were an ``honest mistake,'' Berger later pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, which contained information relating to terror threats in the United States during the 2000 millennium celebration.

During Thursday's hearing, Breuer characterized Berger as an official eager to get the facts of the Sept. 11 attacks right when he improperly took classified documents and handwritten notes from the Archives.

``The tragedy of 9-11 weighed heavily on him,'' Breuer said.

Robinson repeatedly questioned Breuer and government lawyers about a provision in federal law that calls for examining a defendant's financial background when issuing punishments. Both attorneys responded that they believed a $10,000 fine was still appropriate.

The Associated Press first reported in July 2004 that the Justice Department was investigating Berger. The disclosure prompted Berger to step down as an adviser to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Clinton was among the Democrats who questioned the timing of the disclosure of the Berger probe three days before the release of the Sept. 11 report. Leaders of the Sept. 11 commission said they were able to get every key document needed to complete their report.

I still wonder what those documents were.
Link Posted: 9/9/2005 11:45:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

I still wonder what those documents were.

Design docs for a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.
Link Posted: 9/9/2005 11:52:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mjohn3006:

Originally Posted By thompsondd:

I still wonder what those documents were.

Design docs for a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.

Yea a rifle named the “Able Danger MkI”
Link Posted: 9/9/2005 12:02:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2005 12:06:11 PM EDT by Bullitt3401]
LOL, such a small price to pay to protect an already failed (ex)president.

Link Posted: 9/9/2005 12:08:53 PM EDT
The problem this guy had access to the most sensitive info in the USA, and "forgot," he tries to brush this little shennigan off as no big deal. Personally, I'm glad the judge sees the light, and slaps him with some more serious than a slap on the wrist and don't do it again. This misused his public trust.
Link Posted: 9/9/2005 12:10:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2005 12:10:59 PM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
So how much is Sandy Berger worth? Seems most everybody that high on the .gov food chain is loaded. He might have 50K in his couch cushions, for all I know. I was rooting for jail time.
Link Posted: 9/9/2005 12:11:02 PM EDT
He should be in jail! Could you imagine what would happen to anybody else found guilty of doing this? Hell it wouldn't surprise me if you were disappeared!
Link Posted: 9/9/2005 12:18:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2005 12:18:18 PM EDT by tc6969]
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