Skip to comments.GORELICK GATE: Developing...
Posted on 04/14/2004 11:28:05 AM PDT by backhoe
click here to read article
As I understand it, Daschle appointed the Dems and Trent Lott (forgotten, but not -- unfortunately -- gone!) appointed the Republicans.
Senator Gorton, what do you make about of what Ted Olson said about you and your fellow commissioners doing to much television, going on the media. He's surprised at that.
SLADE GORTON (R) 9/11 COMMISSION: I would divide Ted's comments into two. First, his the description of the wall and the fact that it came into existence in the 1970s and 1980s, through several administration, both Republicans and Democrat was entirely correct. It was created by a statute, it was created by court decisions, not by the desire of the people in the Department of Justice.
And as a consequence, it lasted a year into the current administration, until 9/11 persuaded Congress to pass the PATRIOT Act and the courts to change their minds. So he's right about that.
So, it was wrong to attack individuals, especially a member of the commission, for creating something that was not their creation, but was required by an outside force.
One of the commissioners asking questions today was Jim Thompson, the former Republican Governor of Illinois and we are pleased that he joins us tonight from Chicago. Governor, good evening to you.
JAMES THOMPSON, 9/11 COMMISSIONER: Good evening, Aaron.
BROWN: I saw you sitting next to Commissioner Lehman when he said some very real changes are coming down the track. Can you give us a sense of at least your own view of how extensive those changes have to be and I suppose the money question here is do we need, in your mind at least, do we need a domestic intelligence gathering agency?
THOMPSON: Well, here's the dilemma and it's a real one for all of us on the commission and I think a real one for the president and his administration, for the Congress and for the American people.
In my view and I suspect some of my fellow commissioners share this view, George Tenet at the CIA and Robert Mueller at the FBI are two of the best people that have happened to the federal government in a long, long time, and if we could be assured that they would be in charge of those agencies forever no changes because both men are instituting real reforms at their institutions.
But they won't be there forever and we don't know who the next director of the CIA will be or the next director of the FBI will be and so we have to look at structural changes.
But if we do that and if, for example, we recommended the creation of a new domestic intelligence agency that would probably take five years to get up and running and where would the people come from who would be employed?
From the FBI probably, from the CIA, and so we'd start all over again with the same people in a different bureaucracy with a different committee of Congress overseeing it and with a track record yet to be established, so this is far from an easy question and I don't think we're through considering the issue yet.
BROWN: But it obviously has to be considered.
THOMPSON: It has to be considered because there's no question there were failures at the FBI and failures at the CIA before 9/11. Now that doesn't mean that we could have prevented 9/11 had there been no failures.
We'll never know, I suspect, the answer to the question of whether 9/11 could be prevented and we need to avoid the blame game. We need to at least focus on what lessons we can learn from the death of these 3,000 people or they will have died in vain.
BROWN: And I wanted to ask you about the blame game stuff and whether we're past that in these hearings, not so much today but certainly yesterday. For those of us who really want this commission to do it great, it was an uncomfortable day I thought of finger pointing and it's their fault, no it's theirs, no I didn't say that, yes, he did.
First of all how do you square some of that and, secondly, are we past that point?
THOMPSON: Well, you know, I think as much blame came from the witnesses pointing at each other as came from the commission.
BROWN: Yes, absolutely.
THOMPSON: That's the first answer and, secondly, I think sometimes when you tune into the hearings you're probably mistaking the personality and the witness questioning techniques or the cross- examination techniques, if you like, of various members of the commission, some of whom are lawyers, some of whom are former prosecutors or defense lawyers.
It doesn't necessarily indicate what we're thinking or where we're going to end up with our conclusions. My guess is, my best hope is that when this is all over the commission will have a unanimous report, five Democrats, five Republicans agreeing unanimously on what happened on September 11 and where we go from here, what the future holds for the intelligence services of this nation and how we can lessen the odds of having 9/11 happen again. And, if we have a unanimous report, it won't be a partisan one.
BROWN: Just one more quick one here.
BROWN: And, actually it was the witnesses and not the commissioners that made me uncomfortable yesterday. Up the road in Wisconsin, Congressman Sensenbrenner today strongly suggested that one of the commission members resign over a conflict of interest. Do you have a feeling on the appropriateness of that? THOMPSON: Yes, you know, I like Congressman Sensenbrenner but I think he's wrong on this one. Jamie Gorelick recused herself from having anything to do with this issue of the wall that's created between prosecutors and intelligence services.
In point of fact, that wall grew up 20 years ago in the Reagan administration. It continued under the first Bush administration. It continued under the Clinton administration and it continued into this Bush administration where it was finally torn down by the Patriot Act, which President Bush and John Ashcroft pushed.
So, she's not taking part in these things that are at issue, just like a number of us are not taking part in matters where we have a conflict. My law firm represents American Airlines, so I recused myself a year ago on the issue of airline security. I won't take part in that part of the report.
And so, I think Commission Gorelick who is a person of great integrity and has been a valuable member of this commission should stay on the commission and participate in our final report.
BROWN: Governor, we know you've had a long day. It included some travel. We appreciate you time as always. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Ashcroft pointed out that the wall was raised even higher in the mid-1990s, in the midst of what was then one of the most important antiterror investigations in American history--into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. On Tuesday the Attorney General declassified and read from a March 4, 1995, memo in which Jamie Gorelick--then Deputy Attorney General and now 9/11 Commissioner--instructed then-FBI Director Louis Freeh and United States Attorney Mary Jo White that for the sake of "appearances" they would be required to adhere to an interpretation of the wall far stricter than the law required.
The Middle Eastern (Iraq) Connection to Oklahoma City (1995 Official Congressional Prior Warning) from (February 17, 2002 | Jim Crogan)
On Feb. 27, 1995, the task force had issued its first confidential warning to federal agencies that Islamic terrorists "may soon strike Washington D.C., specifically the Capitol and the White House." This confidential alert, which he said was quietly distributed to federal intelligence agencies and law enforcement, claimed the attacks were to begin after March 21, 1995.
"Striking inside the U.S. is presently a high priority for Iran," stated the warning. The alert also stated that upcoming terrorist strikes might be directed against "airports, airlines and telephone systems." In light of Sept. 11, it was a telling note.
On March 3, 1995, the task force issued an update. This "super-sensitive" alert stated there was a "greater likelihood the terrorists would strike at the heart of the U.S." Bodansky also told Davis that after the truck bombing, he reviewed intelligence data that confirmed, "Oklahoma City was on the list of potential targets."
Bodansky gave Davis copies of the task force's original alert and some of his confidential notes detailing the update and Oklahoma City's target status. His material notes an independent warning from Israeli intelligence a month before the bombing. The warning indicated a terrorist attack was impending and that "lilly whites" would be activated. Lilly whites, Bodansky writes, were people without any background or police records who would not be suspected members of a terrorist group.
It's looking like Ms. Gore-Lick may indeed have some problems... see tagline-
Excellent points... it was Jean Lewis you recall-- what little I have is spotty, but here you are:
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.