House Speaker Wonders, Was Berger Covering Up?

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

( - Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) says the House Government Reform Committee will investigate "the wayward actions" of former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger.

"The American people deserve to know why Mr. Berger apparently skirted the law and removed highly classified terrorism documents, purportedly in his pants, from a secure reading room at the National Archives and then proceeded to lose or destroy some of them," Hastert said in a statement.

"How could President Clinton's former National Security Advisor be so cavalier?" Hastert asked. The Republican leader had other questions as well:

-- Was Mr. Berger trying to cover up key facts regarding intelligence failures during his watch?

-- What happened to those missing documents?

-- Whose hands did they fall into?

-- What kind of security risk does that pose to Americans today?

"I know Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) will work to get the full truth of what really happened and help all of us better understand why Sandy Berger, a person who should fully understand the gravity and importance of sensitive national security materials, would operate with such overt negligence and apparent disregard for the law."

While Republicans concentrate on an apparent national security breach, Democrats are concentrating on the timing of the leak about Berger.

Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe reportedly has filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, hoping to get a look at correspondence between the Justice Department and the White House regarding the Berger investigation.

McAuliffe is among the Democrats who view the leak about Berger as a political ploy to deflect attention from alleged security lapses by the Bush administration.