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Sandy Berger, Ex-Clinton National Security Adviser, Dies

Image: Sandy Berger, Ex-Clinton National Security Adviser, Dies

Wednesday, 02 Dec 2015 10:03 AM

Samuel "Sandy" Berger, a national security adviser for President Bill Clinton whose reputation was marred by his theft of classified documents after leaving office, died early on Wednesday, colleagues said.

Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, announced Berger's death overnight in a post on Twitter, calling him a "good man & friend who served nation well as Bill Clinton's NSA."

Berger, who was 70, had been suffering from cancer, according to a statement from the Albright Stonebridge consulting firm where he worked.

Berger was heavily involved in relations with China, as well as advising Clinton on the NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia and the attacks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

In the closing months of Clinton's term, Berger was a prominent player at the 2000 Camp David summit in which Clinton tried unsuccessfully to advance the Middle East peace process.

But he was not without controversy. In July 2004 the Justice Department revealed it was investigating whether Berger had removed classified documents and notes from the National Archives several months earlier before his testimony to the Sept. 11 commission.

At first Berger said removing the documents in his attache case and pants and jacket pockets was accidental but he later admitted he had done it deliberately. One Archives employee later said Berger stuffed the papers down his pants legs.

Berger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined more than $50,000 and given 100 hours of community service and probation. He also lost his security clearance.

Republican were outraged, saying Berger was trying to destroy incriminating evidence. But the Justice Department said he only took copies to cut up and no original material was lost.

Still, Berger was forced to resign as a foreign policy consultant to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

A year later, it came out that Berger had taken the documents to a construction site near the Archives and hid them. He came back later to retrieve them.

Born in Sharon, Connecticut on Oct. 28, 1945, Berger attended Cornell University and Harvard Law School. He worked for members of Congress and served as a State Department deputy director from 1977-1980.

Out of government, he helped found an international consulting firm that in 2009 merged with one run by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

"He cared deeply about where this country was going what we could do to solve problems," Albright said in a telephone interview. "That was the basis of his life, was to make a difference."

Berger is survived by his wife, Susan, along with three children and five grandchildren, Albright said.

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Former national security adviser Sandy Berger, who helped craft President Bill Clinton's second-term foreign policy and later got in trouble over mishandling classified documents, has died.That word comes from his consulting firm.Berger died Wednesday. He was 70 years old...
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Wednesday, 02 Dec 2015 10:03 AM
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