- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005


Former National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger will plead guilty to taking classified material from the National Archives, a misdemeanor, the Justice Department said yesterday.

Mr. Berger is expected to appear in federal court in Washington today, Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra said.

The former Clinton administration official previously acknowledged he removed from the National Archives copies of documents about the government’s counterterror efforts and removed notes he took about those documents. He said he was reviewing the materials to help determine which Clinton administration documents to provide to the independent commission investigating the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

He called the episode “an honest mistake,” and denied criminal wrongdoing.

Mr. Berger and his attorney, Lanny Breuer, have said Mr. Berger knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants, and inadvertently took copies of classified documents in a leather portfolio.

He returned most of the documents, but still missing are some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration’s handling of al-Qaeda terror threats during the 2000 New Year’s celebration.

“Mr. Berger has cooperated fully with the Department of Justice and is pleased that a resolution appears very near,” Mr. Breuer said yesterday.

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

However, a federal law enforcement official said a plea agreement calls for Mr. Berger to serve no jail time but to pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his security clearance for three years and cooperate with investigators. A judge must approve the agreement

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