WASHINGTON – The New York Times, which yesterday buried the story about a former national security adviser caught shoving highly classified documents in his pants, today suggested in a news story the scandal of the missing documents might hurt his chances of becoming secretary of state.
Sandy Berger, national security adviser during the Clinton administration, is facing a Justice Department investigation for rifling through files in the National Archives in preparation for the 911 Commission hearings.
He admits taking papers home and now has no explanation as to where several are.
The Times story explained that prosecutions for pilfering classified documents are rare.
“Last year, when I was in the archives reviewing documents, I made an honest mistake,” the Times quoted Berger as saying last night. “It’s one that I deeply regret.”
Associates said Berger would try to rejoin the Kerry campaign after the FBI had concluded an investigation of the theft of the papers.
“But for Mr. Berger the damage may be difficult to overcome,” the Times article continues. “Some Democrats suggested on Tuesday that the episode could severely hurt his chances of becoming secretary of state or taking another high-level Cabinet position in a Kerry administration, jobs his name has been linked to.”
Yesterday, the New York Times played the breaking scandal on page 16 of its print editions, but put the issue on its front page in today’s paper.