(CNSNews.com) - Former Clinton administration national security adviser Sandy Berger is out as an informal consultant to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
Berger's decision came Tuesday amid reports that he had taken secret terrorism documents from the National Archives. Amid a criminal investigation into the matter, Berger's attorney explained his client's decision to step away from the Kerry campaign.
"Mr. Berger does not want any issue surrounding the 9/11 Commission to be used for partisan purposes. With that in mind he has decided to step aside as an informal adviser to the Kerry campaign until this matter is resolved," Lanny Breuer, Berger's attorney, said.
Berger's political allies also sought Tuesday to squelch the more sensational elements of the controversy. Former White House spokesman Joe Lockhart called reports about Berger stuffing documents in his socks "absurd." Berger "categorically denies that he ever took documents and stuffed them in his socks," according to Lockhart. "And anyone who says that is interested in something other than the truth."
Berger reportedly took drafts of the Clinton administration's "after action" report related to its efforts to stop a terrorist plot around Jan. 1, 2000 - the so-called Millennium celebration. Berger is said to have taken the secret documents while reviewing the Clinton administration's actions at the behest of the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) will issue its long awaited report on the pre-9/11 intelligence failures on Thursday.