Sandy Berger, a former national security adviser for President Bill Clinton who pled guilty to stealing and destroying classified documents, advised Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state on how to portray Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the obstacle to peace and how to make his political life "uneasy."
The revelations came in a new batch of Clinton's emails released on Friday by the State Department.
In the emails, Berger, who chairs the global business advisory firm Albright Stonebridge Group (along with former Bill Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright), outlined a strategy to turn the tables on Netanyahu diplomatically in negotiations with Palestinians.
"The objective is to try shift the fulcrum of our current relations with Bibi from settlements — where he thinks he has the upper hand — to ground where there is greater understanding in Israel of the American position and where we can make him uneasy about incurring our displeasure," Berger wrote on Sept. 19. 2009, days ahead of a speech to President Obama at the United Nations.
Berger wrote, "Ironically, his intransigence over 67 borders may offer us that possibility — to turn his position against him."
He argued, "Assuming Bibi will accept no formulation that includes 67 borders, it suggests that Bibi is the obstacle to progress and backtracking on his part on an issue that previous Israeli governments have accepted. It begins shifting the discussion from settlements to the more fundamental issue of ultimate territorial outcome."
Three days later, he wrote, "Going forward, if Bibi continues to be the obstacle, you will need to find the ground from which you can make his politics uneasy."
On that same day, Sept. 22, Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly, calling for, "a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967."
Clinton emailed Berger that afternoon, asking, "Let me know how you think today played."
The fact that Clinton was soliciting advice from Berger while secretary of state is part of a pattern of her taking guidance from former loyal soldiers of her husband's administration with sketchy histories, as she also was in close contact with political operative Sidney Blumenthal — asking for intelligence on Libya as he did consulting work related to the nation.
Berger became infamous in 2003 when, ahead of testimony before the Sept. 11 Commission, he stole highly classified documents from the National Archives and Records Administration by stuffing them in his pants, and destroyed some of them.
Though he initially claimed it was an "honest mistake," he later pled guilty to removing them intentionally, triggering a $50,000 fine, and 100-hour community service requirement.
That wasn't Berger's first brush with the law. In 1997, while serving as national security adviser for Bill Clinton, Berger had to pay a $23,000 penalty for failing to sell stock as directed by the White House, leading to a conflict of interest.
The checkered past didn't stop Hillary Clinton from making Berger one of her national security advisers in her 2008 campaign, nor, evidently, did it prevent her from being in contact with him at the State Department.
Clinton had a contentious relationship with Netanyahu, famously boasting that she was the administration's "designated yeller" at the Israeli prime minister.
In May 2011, Obama caused an uproar when he called for a two-state solution based borders that existed before Israel's victory in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel considers those borders indefensible, because they are as narrow as nine miles.