9-11 Commission may not have perused pilfered papers in berger's pants
WASHINGTON — Some classified documents that were unlawfully removed from the National Archives three years ago may never have reached their intended destination — the Sept. 11 commission, a House Republican report concluded Tuesday.
The report contradicted Justice Department conclusions that the commission received all the necessary documents. The records were reviewed at the archives by the Clinton administration's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, who pleaded guilty in April 2005 to unlawfully removing several documents.
Released by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., the report said Berger could have taken White House staff working papers that never were inventoried by the archives. In that case, nobody would know they were gone, the report said.
The Justice Department on Tuesday repeated its original position that no documents were withheld. Spokesman Bryan Sierra said the department "has no evidence that Sandy Berger's actions deprived the 9/11 Commission of documents, and we stand by our investigation of this matter."
Berger pleaded guilty to removing documents on two occasions in 2003. A report by the archives inspector general last month said that Berger acknowledged hiding some of them at a construction site near the archives building in Washington.
The report said, however, that the plea did not account for two earlier visits during which Berger reviewed documents. He conducted the review to prepare himself and other Clinton aides for testimony before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"The 9/11 Commission relied on incomplete and misleading information" when it was told it had all the records, said Davis.