8:46 AM, Sep 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama hosted "a private dinner with a group of foreign policy experts," the White House announced last night. Among them: Sandy Berger, who was caught stealing and destroying classified documents that related to President Clinton's record on terrorism issues.
"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," CNN reported in 2005.
"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."
Ronald A. Cass, in 2007, noted that Berger took extraordinary steps to cover up his crime:
On May 17th, Sandy Berger, President Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser, voluntarily gave up his law license and with it the right to practice law. That is a stunning move for an accomplished lawyer, one of the nation's most influential public officials. Someone should take note. In fact, everyone should.
Berger previously entered a deal with the Department of Justice after he was caught stealing and destroying highly sensitive classified material regarding the Clinton Administration's handling of terrorism issues. That deal allowed him to avoid jail time, pay a modest fine, and keep his law license. It also allowed him to avoid full explanation of what he had taken and why he had taken it.
What information was worth risking his reputation, his career, and his freedom to keep hidden? And who was he risking that for?
Recently, the Board of the DC Bar, which had granted Berger his license, began asking those questions. There was only one way to stop that investigation, to keep from answering questions about what he did and why he did it, to keep the Bar from questioning his colleagues in the Clinton Administration about what had been in the documents Berger destroyed.
And yet, there Berger was: back in good graces and dining last night with the president of the United States. Where the topic of conversation was, presumably, how to deal with the current threat of terrorism this country faces from the Islamic State.
Here's the White House's announcement of the dinner:
Tonight the President and Vice President are having a private dinner with a group of foreign policy experts, including former Administration officials from Republican and Democratic Administrations, academics and think tank experts. The President looks forward to engaging with this group and hearing their views on a range of national security and foreign policy issues.
The Vice President
Secretary of State John Kerry
Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken
Counselor to the President John Podesta
Phil Gordon, White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region
Suzy George, Executive Secretary / Chief of Staff for the National Security Council
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