Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger – now the target of an FBI probe – was a key part of a deal the Clinton administration made to secure an illegal $300,000 contribution from the communist Chinese government, one of a number of instances in the 1990s in which he was blamed for security breaches.
“Sandy Berger has misused sensitive information in the past,” Larry Klayman, who investigated the Chinagate scandal while chairman of Judicial Watch, told WorldNetDaily.
Klayman, now a U.S. Senate candidate from Florida, led the probe that triggered exposure of an illegal contribution made to Clinton through former Little Rock, Ark., restaurateur Charlie Trie. That deal corresponded with Berger’s delivery of a written commitment to China that the U.S. government would not take any action to stop the escalating military actions by Beijing in its attempts to intimidate Taiwan.
While Trie was handing over the cash to the president’s legal-defense fund, Klayman said, Berger “was delivering up a letter on White House stationery.”
But nothing ever came of the Chinagate investigation, led by Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., because the Democrats and Republicans swept it under the carpet, said Klayman.
In exchange for allowing U.S. defense contractors to sell technology to China, Beijing poured millions of dollars into Clinton’s election campaign. Clinton received funds from known or suspected Chinese intelligence agents, including Trie, James and Mochtar Riady of the Indonesian Lippo Group, John Huang and Maria Hsia.
As detailed in Jack Cashill’s explosive new book, “Ron Brown’s Body,” Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown served as a front man in many of the deals. Brown died suddenly in a suspicious April 1996 plane crash just as an investigation got under way.
Klayman contends Berger “was always in over his head” as national security adviser and chosen mainly for his political abilities.
“He was an international trade lawyer and not a national security expert,” Klayman asserted.
Problem ‘at Berger’s door’
Berger’s role as a political fixer became apparent in a series of security breaches during the Clinton administration.
WorldNetDaily reported in January 2001 that a national security adviser to President Clinton was caught transferring highly classified computer files from a secure network in the White House to an unsecured network but was allowed to stay on the job.
National security experts at the time said the White House security violation fit a pattern of sloppy handling of U.S. secrets throughout the government during the previous eight years:
- State Department officials lost several classified laptops.
- A missing hard drive containing nuclear secrets turned up behind a copier at Los Alamos lab.
- A Los Alamos scientist managed to download the entire history of the U.S. nuclear-bomb program and bomb-testing data onto several computer tapes, some of which still haven’t been recovered.
- A Pentagon official left his CIA briefing book in a Beijing hotel room.
- Even CIA Director John Deutch mishandled secrets.
WND reported that Berger and Clinton had for the most part brushed off the problems as unfortunate but isolated events, while assuring Americans that their national security secrets were safe.
But William C. Triplett, a former Reagan White House official, told WND the breach reported in January 2001 laid “the problem right at the West Wing and at Berger’s door.”
Triplett and Edward Timperlake, who coauthored a book on Chinese involvement in the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign in 1996, “Year of the Rat,” wrote in a 1999 op-ed piece in the Washington Times: “We believe that, for the national interest, President Clinton’s national security advisor Samuel Sandy Berger should resign immediately. … Right out of the starting gate, Mr. Berger was an unfortunate choice for a national security position with the government because of his prior role as the chief Washington lobbyist for the Chinese Government’s trade office.”
Berger stepped down yesterday as an adviser to Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign.
“That John Kerry would have someone like this as his adviser in security matters means that he cannot be trusted as president of the United States,” Klayman contended.
Klayman says Kerry himself took money from Johnny Chung – a “serious error” for someone “trying to convince the country that he is worthy to be a leader in the fight against terrorism.”
Berger’s involvement in the Kerry campaign also shows, Klayman said, that if he gets elected, “all the Clinton people are going to be infesting the White House.”
Klayman investigated numerous alleged abuses of both Bill and Hillary Clinton, including the “Filegate” scandal in which the Clinton White House illegally gathered confidential government files on key Republicans. He also has filed lawsuits against Bush adminstration figures, including Vice President Cheney, charging him with misleading investors in his previous role as CEO of Halliburton.