Former colleagues of Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger challenged allegations that the ex-aide stuffed classified documents in his socks to remove them from a secure reading room prior to his 9-11 Commission testimony.
Federal officials have launched a criminal investigation into the former aide, who now advises Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, for pocketing highly classified terrorism documents.
Though Fox News is reporting Berger and his lawyer said last night he knowingly removed handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, CNN reports law-enforcement sources say some of the actual secret documents he reviewed were stuffed in his socks before leaving the room.
Joe Lockhart, Clinton’s former spokesman, says Berger “categorically denies that he ever took documents and stuffed them in his socks,” according to CNN.
“That is absurd,” said Lockhart, who is now advising Berger. “And anyone who says that is interested in something other than the truth.”
Former Clinton aide Lanny Davis wants the official who leveled the sock-stuffing allegation to come forward and make the claim publicly.
“I suggest that person is lying,” the news channel quotes him as saying. “And if that person has the guts, let’s see who it is who made the comment that Sandy Berger stuffed something into his socks.”
Davis called Berger “a person of impeccable honesty and integrity.”
“He spent nights and 24-hour time periods before the millennium doing, I think, a critical job in thwarting a terrorist attack between 1999 and 2000, New Year’s Eve,” Davis told CNN’s “American Morning.”
“What we’re told … [is] he took copies of those memos inadvertently in his own notes. There’s absolutely no basis for suggesting there is any national security issues here or harm done here.”
Berger has said he regrets the “sloppiness” involved in his actions.