After Berger’s previous visit, in September, Archives officials believed documents were missing. This time, they specially coded the papers to more easily tell whether some went missing, said government officials and legal sources familiar with the case.
Berger, his attorney Lanny Breuer said, checked his office and realized for the first time that he had walked out — unintentionally, he says — with important papers relating to the Clinton administration’s efforts to combat terrorism.
Berger alerted Archives employees that evening to what he had found. The classified documents were sensitive enough that employees arrived on a Sunday morning to pick them up.
Several days later, after he had retained Breuer as counsel, Berger volunteered that he had also taken 40 to 50 pages of notes during three visits to the Archives beginning in July, the lawyer said. Berger turned the notes over to the Archives. He has acknowledged through attorneys that he knowingly did not show these papers to Archives officials for review before leaving — a violation of Archives rules, but not one that he perceived as a serious security lapse.
By then, however, Archives officials had served notice that there were other documents missing. Despite searching his home and office, Berger could not find them. By January, the FBI had been brought in, and Berger found himself in a criminal investigation — one that he chose not to tell Kerry’s campaign about until this week.