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Pardon me, Ma’am, but I believe you’re in the wrong chair

In 1995 a lawyer named Jaime Gorelick was an Assistant Attorney General in the Clinton Justice Department. She wrote a memo at that time that stated that there must be a wall between counterintelligence and criminal investigations – that information gleaned through one should not be available to the other. This policy – endorsed by Attorney General Janet Reno and President Bill Clinton – led to the FBI and CIA being forbidden from sharing information about suspected terrorists.

The CIA was actively tracking at least two of the 9/11 hijackers abroad, and followed them right into the US. But because of this policy, initiated by Ms. Gorelick, they could not inform the FBI about their presence.

In July of last year, Ms. Gorelick went to work for the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering. One of the firm’s most high-profile clients is Saudi Prince Mohammed al Faisal, a member of the Saudi royal family, that is being sued by the 9/11 families for the attacks.

One would think that Ms. Gorelick’s past involvement with setting anti-terrorist policy (policies still in effect on 9/11) would make her a must-have witness before the 9/11 commission. Even with the disclaimer that she might have a conflict of interest, because her employer now represents a Saudi prince against families of 9/11 victims, she could still shed valuable light on the thinking back in 1995 that drew such a wall between counterintelligence and law enforcement, and how that might have lessened or even prevented the attacks.

However, Ms. Gorelick will not be testifying before the 9/11 commission. She’s too busy…

because in 2002 the Democrats APPOINTED her to the commission.

That’s right. She’s on the other side of the bench. Instead of answering questions about what she did, she’s asking the questions.

This isn’t “through the looking-glass.” Terms such as “conflict of interest” and “miscarriage of justice” simply lack the sheer… overwhelming…

Words fail me.

The biggest lesson of Watergate is, in my opinion, “it’s not the crime that gets you, it’s the coverup.” I believe Nixon wasn’t aware of the break-in before it happened, but it was his decision to conceal it after the fact that led to his downfall. Here I think it wasn’t Ms. Gorelick’s memo of 1995 that was the unforgivable sin; it was her failing to disclose her authorship before being appointed to the commission that is investigating those matters.

Maybe she thought she could steer the commission away from discovering that memo’s existence (after all, it was classified until Ashcroft declassified it and presented it to the Commission today). Maybe she thought she could deflect blame away from her employer’s client and protect her financial interests. Maybe she was just forgetful and didn’t remember she didn’t write that memo. Maybe she was just stupid and didn’t connect her firm’s representing Prince Mohammed El Faisal against 9/11 lawsuits with investigating just how those attacks occurred. Any way you look at it, though, she has absolutely NO business being on that side of the bench.


(Admission in the interests of full disclosure: I have been known to buy and drink Gorelick Farms Brand milk on occasion, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I have no idea whether or not these purchases have financially benefited Ms. Gorelick in any way, but on the off chance it has, I believe I should admit it here.)

Correction: I just double-checked; the milk I've had is GArelick, while the attorney cited above is GOrelick. My conscience is much clearer now.)


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Pardon me, Ma’am, but I believe you’re in the wrong chair:

» Sebastian Holsclaw linked with Who Watches the Watchwomen

Comments (3)

As if we needed another rea... (Below threshold)

As if we needed another reason to think that the 9/11 commission is not much more than a dog and pony show.

The wrong chair, or the wro... (Below threshold)

The wrong chair, or the wrong planet?

If her policy was so bad, w... (Below threshold)

If her policy was so bad, why didn't Ashcroft fix it? Ashcroft's own man Larry Thompson revised those guidelines a month before 9/11 and he kept the same policy in effect.







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