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April 19, 2004
Washington Times: Gorelick Not Playing By the Rules

In today's Washington Times, Charles Hurt notes that 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick has not played by the rules set forth in her defense by both herself and commission chair Thomas Kean -- that she must recuse herself when discussion of events arises that personally involves her (via Drudge):

Former acting FBI Director Thomas J. Pickard told the September 11 commission in a private interview earlier this year that he was surprised that Jamie S. Gorelick is serving on the panel because she had played a key role in setting the very counterterrorism policies being investigated.

According to a summary of that interview obtained by The Washington Times, Mr. Pickard said Ms. Gorelick who was No. 2 in the Clinton Justice Department under Attorney General Janet Reno resisted efforts by the FBI to expand the counterterrorism effort beyond simple law enforcement tactics and agencies. ...

But in that open, televised testimony, he never mentioned Ms. Gorelick, her role in confining the counterterrorism effort, or his concerns about Ms. Gorelick's service on the commission. Nor did Ms. Gorelick recuse herself from Mr. Pickard's testimony or refrain from questioning him, as she did when Miss Reno and former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh testified.

According to the commission guidelines on recusals: "Commissioners and staff will recuse themselves from investigating work they performed in prior government service." The rules also state: "Where a commissioner or staff member has a close personal relationship with an individual, or either supervised or was supervised by an individual, the commissioner or staff member should not play a primary role in the Commission interview of that person."

In her own editorial in yesterday's Washington Post arguing that she had no need to resign her commission membership, Gorelick flatly stated that she had abided by the recusal rule during all of her work on the panel. If what Hurt reports is correct, the panel has only enforced that rule while performing in public. Not only that, but Gorelick continues to spin her role in separating the intelligence and law-enforcement functions at the DoJ:

In that column as well as during her TV appearances last week she also defended her role in fighting terrorism at the Justice Department, distancing herself from the "wall" separating law enforcement fighting terrorism and intelligence services that gather counterterrorism information.

She didn't raise the wall, Ms. Gorelick said, and her memo was simply intended to define the boundaries between law enforcement and intelligence services so that cases against terrorists would not be thrown out of court because law enforcement had overstepped its bounds. "Look: In my view, if we could have lowered that wall sooner, we should have," she told Mr. Matthews.

But that was not what she was saying around the time she wrote her memo. Ms. Gorelick appeared in October 1995 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where she testified that many people wondered why the government doesn't merge law enforcement and counterintelligence agencies.

"I mean, they have a lot of resources. You have a lot of resources, you have all got the same enemies, why don't you just merge to achieve greater efficiency?" she said to the assembled senators, including Sen. Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Democrat, who has since left the Senate and now sits with Ms. Gorelick on the 9/11 commission.

"I think on both sides of the river, if you will, we think this would be a serious mistake," she said. "There are ample reasons, both in history and in constitutional principles, to maintain a clear demarcation between the missions of the two communities." Even in her 1995 memo, she noted that the separation procedures outlined "go beyond what is legally required."

Gorelick's efforts in creating a PR spin on her involvement in a key issue of pre-9/11 intelligence failures only emphasizes the need to get her as a sworn witness in front of this commission instead of one of the people judging the events. She already has demonstrated that she has territory to protect and will misrepresent it publicly in order to do so. How can anyone trust the product of a process in which she takes part after this? The longer Gorelick stays on this commission -- the longer the other commissioners abide her membership -- the lower their credibility drops.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 19, 2004 5:35 AM

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In an op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday entitled "The Truth About 'the Wall'," Jamie Gorelick -- the number two official in the Clinton Justice Department between March 1994 and March 1997 -- tries to convince us that, contrary to [Read More]

Tracked on April 19, 2004 9:38 AM

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