Skip to comments.The Truth about 'the Wall'
Posted on 04/17/2004 11:07:15 PM PDT by Piranha
The commission investigating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has a critical dual mission to fulfill -- to help our nation understand how the worst assault on our homeland since Pearl Harbor could have occurred and to outline reforms to prevent new acts of terrorism.
At last week's hearing, Attorney General John Ashcroft, facing criticism, asserted that "the single greatest structural cause for September 11 was the wall that segregated criminal investigators and intelligence agents" and that I built that wall through a March 1995 memo. This is simply not true.
First, I did not invent the "wall," which is not a wall but a set of procedures implementing a 1978 statute (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA) and federal court decisions interpreting it. In a nutshell, that law, as the courts read it, said intelligence investigators could conduct electronic surveillance in the United States against foreign targets under a more lenient standard than is required in ordinary criminal cases, but only if the "primary purpose" of the surveillance were foreign intelligence rather than a criminal prosecution.
...the memo I wrote in March 1995 ... permits freer coordination between intelligence and criminal investigators than was subsequently permitted by the 1995 guidelines or the 2001 Thompson memo. My memo directed agents on both sides to share information -- and, in particular, directed one agent to work on both the criminal and intelligence investigations -- to ensure the flow of information "over the wall."
The Patriot Act...says that electronic surveillance can be conducted in the United States against foreign threats as long as a "significant purpose" -- rather than the "primary purpose" -- is to obtain foreign intelligence.
I intend -- with my brethren on the commission -- to finish the job.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
She seems to be saying that the Wall is based on a law that permits US-based surveillance against foreign pargets if the primary purpose is foreign intelligence and not criminal prosecution. In other words, for the prevention of future terrorist attacks. Amazingly, she writes that her memo directed agents to share information, not to restrict its use! She also says (I didn't include this portion in the excerpt) that her memo was superceded by Janet Reno's memo in July 1995 that put even tighter controls on uses of intelligence (she doesn't say whether she worked on that memorandum as well).
Finally, as much as I can understand her point, she seems to be admitting that the Patriot Act extended the usage of this intelligence in obtaining foreign intelligence.
This dispute about the meaning of the Wall, and its ramifications, forcefully points out why she should be testifying in front of the Commission about the government's efforts to fight terror (where she can give a spirited defense of what she meant by the memo), instead of sitting on the commission asking questions of the witnesses.
In addition, the Wall is only part of the problem. She is a litigation partner in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, and I have read secondary reports that allege that her firm's litigation department is representing a Saudi leader who is defending himself against a lawsuit filed by 9/11 families. If this is so, then in my opinion this conflict alone ethically should force her off of the Commission.
She'll be resigning soon.
In the immortal words of Pink Floyd . . . All in all, you're just another brick in the wall. Now do the right thing and get your @ss off that 9/11 commission.
I didn't see anything in the article that is going to change anyone's mind in her favor.
It's not too late to get this woman off the commission and into the hot seat! Let's flood the officials with emails and phone calls demanding she resign or be forcibly removed.
Jamie Gorelick is impeding and obstructing justice much like "the wall" seemed to do. For the 9-11 victims and family she needs to be char-grilled. Then and only then can we find out the real reason behind her agenda.
Another example of the "right-wing corporate media" that haunts the pot induced dreams of our leftist counterparts! ;)
It is not possible for Ms Gorelick to both be a witness and and a member of the Commission.
After this op-ed piece she must resign to be able to tell the Commission her side of the story.
Hung by her own petard!
#2 From her 4th March 1995 memorandum: ".....,we believe that it is prudent to establish an act of instructions that will clearly separate the counterintelligence from the more limited, but continued criminal investigations. These procedures, which goes beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating unwarranted appearances that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation."
Lawyers are excellent at parsing words, but the meaning of this appears quite clear. Also, it would have been her duty to make sure that this memo, if she really wanted to facilitate investigations (/gullibility) was not interpreted in a way not intended by law enforcement agencies.
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