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Jamie Gorelick's ties to Fannie Mae and What She's Doing Now--

In reading this article about Crony Capitalism at Fannie Mae (tip to Instapundit), I noticed that Jamie Gorelick was one of the Fannie executives who benefited from inflated bonuses based on Enron-style accounting. She was Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae from 1997 to 2003 (Fannie's fraudulent accounting scheme was made public in 2004).

This is the same Jamie Gorelick who was Deputy Attorney General in the mid 1990s and was reported to have been the author of the Clinton Administration's WALL against sharing intelligence data between foreign and domestic agencies. Without the policies instituted by Gorelick still in place in 2001, officials might have learned more about the 9/11 attacks before the planes hit the buildings.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Attorney General Ashcroft on the possible influence of Gorelick's wall:

"In the days before September 11, the wall specifically impeded the investigation into Zacarias Moussaoui, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. After the FBI arrested Moussaoui, agents became suspicious of his interest in commercial aircraft and sought approval for a criminal warrant to search his computer. The warrant was rejected because FBI officials feared breaching the wall.

"When the CIA finally told the FBI that al-Midhar and al-Hazmi were in the country in late August, agents in New York searched for the suspects. But because of the wall, FBI headquarters refused to allow criminal investigators who knew the most about the most recent al Qaeda attack to join the hunt for the suspected terrorists.

"At that time, a frustrated FBI investigator wrote headquarters, quote, 'Whatever has happened to this — someday someone will die — and wall or not — the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain 'problems.' "

So what's Jamie Gorelick doing now? Do we have to fear for the health of any other major US institutions on her account?

Wikipedia tells us:

She is currently a law partner in the Washington office of WilmerHale and a non-executive director of the oilfield services provider Schlumberger Ltd.

I'm relieved to see that at least she's only a "non-executive" director at Schlumberger.

[UPDATE: I updated the links, chiefly by using a more official site for Ashcroft's testimony.]

2D UPDATE:

1. The Gorelick Wall.

The idea that Jamie Gorelick was not responsible in any significant way for the Gorelick Wall has been exposed as nonsense. Gorelick's March 4, 1995 memo explicitly provided:

"We believe that it is prudent to establish a set of instructions that will more clearly separate the counterintelligence investigation from the more limited, but continued, criminal investigations. These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation" (emphases added).

U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who was prosecuting the chief anti-terrorism case in NY, responded to Gorelick's memo by writing to Gorelick, urging changes in her restrictive policy. The rejection of White's recommendations was written by Michael Vatis, a conclusion endorsed in "Gorelick's handwritten note to Attorney General Janet Reno. Ms. Gorelick wrote, 'I have reviewed and concur in the Vatis/Garland recommendations for the reasons set forth in the Vatis memo.'"

Sen. John Cornyn "said, the newly released memos raised apparent conflicts with statements Ms. Gorelick has made recently defending herself and her role in the Clinton Justice Department.

'These documents show what we've said all along: Commissioner Gorelick has special knowledge of the facts and circumstances leading up to the erection and buttressing of 'that wall' that, before the enactment of the Patriot Act, was the primary obstacle to the sharing of communications between law enforcement and intelligence agencies,' Mr. Cornyn said."

Gorelick's Wall was a prominent example of the role of lawyers hampering anti-terrorist activities before 9/11, a problem outlined by Michael Scheuer (former head of the Bin Laden desk and no friend of the Bush Administration):

SCHEUER: Well, we had—the question of whether or not we could have prevented the attacks is one you could debate forever. But we had at least eight to 10 chances to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in 1998 and 1999. And the government on all occasions decided that the information was not good enough to act. . . .

The U.S. intelligence community is palsied by lawyers.

When we were going to capture Osama bin Laden, for example, the lawyers were more concerned with bin Laden's safety and his comfort than they were with the officers charged with capturing him. We had to build an ergonomically designed chair to put him in, special comfort in terms of how he was shackled into the chair. They even worried about what kind of tape to gag him with so it wouldn't irritate his beard. The lawyers are the bane of the intelligence community. . . .

2. Financial Irregularities at Fannie Mae.

Perhaps some of you may not remember what Fannie Mae was caught doing after a whistleblower exposed the fraud (and was fired in retaliation). It was obvious that the books at Fannie Mae were being cooked:

The magnitude of Fannie's machinations is stunning, and in two key areas in particular they deserve to be better understood. By improperly delaying the recognition of income, it created a cookie jar of reserves. And by improperly classifying certain derivatives, it was able to spread out losses over many years instead of recognizing them immediately.

In the cookie-jar ploy, Fannie set aside an artificially large cash reserve. And — presto — in any quarter its managers could reach into that jar to compensate for poor results or add to it to dampen good ones. This ploy, according to Ofheo (Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight), gave Fannie "inordinate flexibility" in reporting the amount of income or expenses over reporting periods.

This flexibility also gave Fannie the ability to manipulate earnings to hit — within pennies — target numbers for executive bonuses. Ofheo details an example from 1998, the year the Russian financial crisis sent interest rates tumbling. Lower rates caused a lot of mortgage holders to prepay their existing home mortgages. And Fannie was suddenly facing an estimated expense of $400 million.

Well, in its wisdom, Fannie decided to recognize only $200 million [of losses], deferring the other half. That allowed Fannie's executives — whose bonus plan is linked to earnings-per-share — to meet the target for maximum bonus payouts. The target EPS for maximum payout was $3.23 and Fannie reported exactly . . . $3.2309. This bull's-eye was worth $1.932 million to then-CEO James Johnson, $1.19 million to then-CEO-designate Franklin Raines, and $779,625 to then-Vice Chairman Jamie Gorelick.

As for other losses, they were routinely mischaracterized so that they could be amortized over years, not realized fully as they were supposed to be. By this method, the Fannie Mae management siphoned off millions of dollars in excess compensation to top management, including Gorelick.

It is certainly possible that the culture at Fannie Mae was so thoroughly corrupt that Jamie Gorelick did not know that cooking the books in this fashion was illegal, but it strains credulity to suppose that she did not know that the books were being cooked. I doubt that Gorelick was so stupid or incompetent not to notice that Fannie Mae profits were regularly reported in such a way as to maximize her bonuses.

And you would think that, as Vice Chairman and a lawyer, she would be one of the people who most clearly should have known that the fairly obvious cooking of the books was indeed improper.

3. Duke Hoax Lawsuit.

From the comments, I see that Jamie Gorelick is representing Duke in lawsuits filed by the Duke Lacrosse players. You can follow her exploits on that case at Durham in Wonderland.

Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
She's also co-counsel defending Duke against the lacrosse player's lawsuits.
7.14.2008 3:43pm
OrinKerr:
Jim,

This seems pretty unfair.

If you have specific evidence that Gorelick was responsible for problems at Fannie Mae, please state them. But your suggestion that Fannie Mae and 9/11 are linked by some common association with Jamie Gorelick strikes me as very weak. Among other things, the "wall" was an effort to be extra cautious about civil liberties to avoid the risk of abuse of surveillance. What does it have to do with policies at Fannie Mae, which I tend to think suffered from the opposite problem -- being too lax about the risk of institutional abuses, not too cautious about them?
7.14.2008 3:47pm
bosspup:
Wow Lindgren that was a bit of a hit piece, particularly the part about the accounting scandal at Fannie Mae. While there were definitely problems with the accounting, it was rather benign compared to Enron. The accounting was just an excuse between Fannie and its regulator, OFHEO, that the regulator eventually won.
7.14.2008 3:48pm
ejo:
benign compared to Enron-what would you classify malignant as? which scandal do you think will end up costing taxpayers more? as to the piece being unfair, it is a simple example of the cronyism that goes on inside the beltway-remember, this person was on the 9/11 commission when she should have been a witness in front of it.

how about the common ground being that both are disasters for America.
7.14.2008 3:55pm
BRM:
The fact that this post only cites the Washington Times, a Scientologist website, and Wikipedia speaks volumes for the level of thought behind it.
7.14.2008 3:59pm
BRM:
I guess it also cites the Heritage Foundation blog. I'm not sure that adds much more credibility.
7.14.2008 4:01pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I've also heard that Gorelick designed the levees around New Orleans and helped co-ordinate FEMA's response to Katrina; that she gave Bush her personal guarantee that there were WMDs in Iraq worth going to war over; and that her personal currency manipulations have caused the fall in the value of the dollar and pretty much all of the current federal deficit.

Are there any other problems which happened on the watch of the Republican administration we can blame on a mid-level Dem bureaucrat who was out of power when the problems actually occurred? Well, I've also heard that Gorelick routinely used to insist that calling people of color "maccaca" was all in good fun, and that tapping your foot in the bathroom stall adjoining yours in airports adjoining airport bathroom stalls universally meant, "I have a wide stance."
7.14.2008 4:03pm
ejo:
the fact that the response to the post cites to nothing speaks volumes for it as well. gorelick's an insider, made a lot of money because of it, and the taxpayer is holding the bag. of course, the FM stuff hasn't resulted in mass killing, making it a less consequential issue than her pre-9/11 genius.
7.14.2008 4:04pm
Smokey:
BRM:
The fact that this post only cites the Washington Times, a Scientologist website, and Wikipedia speaks volumes for the level of thought behind it.
Nice ad-hom, there. Makes us forget the facts, doesn't it?
7.14.2008 4:17pm
RSF677:
I think that is rather unfair to pick on her specifically. Picking on Fannie Mae executives generally is probably okay, especially Raines and Johnson. However, I believe Gorelick is defending Duke University against the lawsuit by current and former lacrosse players, so her being on the wrong side of issues has continued.
7.14.2008 4:17pm
SATA_Interface:
The Wall was more about protecting turf and budget vs civil liberty protection. A civil liberty-minded wall would involve a liason or oversight to consider the impact of surveillance and allow or disallow. A turf minded wall would not allow any consideration whatsoever, which is what exactly happened to the FBI agent who was ignored.
7.14.2008 4:18pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Without the policies instituted by Gorelick still in place in 2001, officials might have learned more about the 9/11 attacks before the planes hit the buildings.

Gee, maybe if the President and Condi Rice had been reading their own intelligence briefings, we may have taken some precautions prior to 9/11 as well.
7.14.2008 4:33pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
This seems pretty unfair.

Ya think?
7.14.2008 4:33pm
John Jenkins (mail):
"Non-executive director" just means that she is an outside director not affiliated with management and has nothing to do with her authority (which directors acting alone lack, in any event). Maybe you should head over to the law school and take a refresher on business associations (there's a neat new form called the limited liability company, too!).
7.14.2008 4:33pm
pmorem (mail):
Can we pass a hat to set her up with some kind of window job, well away from any involvement with the federal government?

Come to think of it, there are probably individuals for whom it would make financial sense to do so.
7.14.2008 4:34pm
James Lindgren (mail):
BRM:

Now who's being unfair here?

I found only one link for the Wall Street Journal article, a website that I had never seen before. Now you tell me it's a scientology site. So what!

If the WSJ were open text, I would have cited that, but it isn't.

I have now searched for another source besides the WSJ for Ashcroft's testimony and changed the link so as not to offend your delicate sensibilities.

Jim Lindgren
7.14.2008 4:37pm
MartyA:
Wait a minute! Wasn't Gorelick a MEMBER of the 9/11 Commission and, therefore, never testified before the Commission? Whatever she did or didn't know, whether she was to blame for anything was forever concealed.
My view is that she was protecting Clinton and that is why she was prevented from testifying about the Iraqi oil voucher money that Clinton and Marc Rich "acquired." Information was obscured by "Jamie's Wall." Yes, it's a guess but we'll never know because she was a Commissioner and not a witness.
7.14.2008 4:39pm
ejo:
therein lies the spectacle-from one position of incompetency to another, costing lives and money along the way.
7.14.2008 4:53pm
rarango (mail):
The ad homs appear--IIRC the Washington Times is owned by a scientologist which hardly makes it a scientology tract-Really a classic example of an ad hom. Pathetic
7.14.2008 5:00pm
Halcyon (mail):
Well if we're going to quote the Washington Times, we might also want to include former Senator Slade Gordon's letter to the editor there regarding the wall:




The one witness who did name Atta came to our staff shortly before the commission's report went to the printer. He said he thought he had seen something showing Atta in Brooklyn early in 2000. We knew, in fact, that Atta first arrived in the United States in June 2000 with a visa. For this and other reasons, the witness simply was not credible on this subject.

Additionally, the assertion that the commission failed to report on this program to protect Ms. Gorelick is ridiculous. She had nothing to do with any "wall" between law enforcement and our intelligence agencies. The 1995 Department of Justice guidelines at issue were internal to the Justice Department and were not even sent to any other agency. The guidelines had no effect on the Department of Defense and certainly did not prohibit it from communicating with the FBI, the CIA or anyone else.
7.14.2008 5:01pm
Bpbatista (mail):
As a taxpayer who is now bailing out Fannie Mae, can I sue that b$%@! to get back the bogus bonuses that she collected? These people ought to go to prison along with Ken Lay and Dennis Kozloski.
7.14.2008 5:04pm
10803:
Generally, all members of the board of directors who aren't EXECUTIVES of the company are NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS (commonly known as "independent" directors). I'm not sure what your point was, but it's pretty clear you didn't know what the term you were mocking meant.
7.14.2008 5:05pm
donaldk2 (mail):
The "wall" is a typical piece of liberal misfeasance. The Gorelicks in public life are world champions of self regard. Expect to see many more of them after Inauguration Day.
7.14.2008 5:10pm
ejo:
that would have been an interesting topic of discussion-unfortunately, the builder of the wall was a member of the panel, not under examination by it. in my humble opinion, that would render any conclusion on the issue suspect, something noted at the time and, of course, not dealt with by booting someone who should have been a witness off of it.
7.14.2008 5:11pm
josh (www):
"Without the policies instituted by Gorelick still in place in 2001, officials might have learned more about the 9/11 attacks before the planes hit the buildings."

Or ... maybe ... if Condi Rice had taken the time to read that pesky "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." memo ....

What a hit job ....
7.14.2008 5:22pm
josh (www):
Awesome comment, JosephSlater
7.14.2008 5:22pm
ejo:
I got nothing with the Slade letter link-at face value, does everyone realize that the FBI is a part of the DOJ and would be subject to these rules? that would make the Senator's statement, quite simply, nonsense.
7.14.2008 5:31pm
Halcyon (mail):
Sorry, bad copy and paste job on my part with the link, here is the right link to Slade Gorton's letter.
7.14.2008 5:39pm
PLR:
No doubt Gorelick also called Crawford in August 2001 to tell Bush to make sure and give the CIA and Condi the bum's rush when they trot out their daily briefing on an imminent attack on the U.S.
7.14.2008 6:03pm
wfjag:

Gee, maybe if the President and Condi Rice had been reading their own intelligence briefings, we may have taken some precautions prior to 9/11 as well.


And, gee, Greedy Clerk, if the Intell Briefings prepared by Richard Clarke had actually contained facts, maybe some precautions would have been taken. Suggested reading: The 9/11 Commission Report.

Question to whoever can answer it: I recall a discussion sometime back on VC about warrantless searches, and someone pointing out that Gorelick approved the warrantless searches and seizures, and tapping of phone lines of Ames. Did she?
7.14.2008 6:29pm
josh (www):
wfjag

I've read the 9/11 Commission Report, and that didn't come close to the Prof. Lingren's hatchet job here. To even come close to smearing Gorelik with pre-9/11 culpability is pretty horendous, even if you don't cite the report, which assessed blame pretty evenly across the aisle.
7.14.2008 7:24pm
James Lindgren (mail):
In the presence of a serious conflict of interest, Jamie Gorelick served on the 9/11 commission. When that conflict became manifest, she still refused to resign.

That makes the documents that the commission uncovered relevant, but its spin on the facts must be taken with a grain of salt. And we will never know what damaging documents were stolen by the person designated to represent the Clinton Administration to review documents (not Gorelick).
7.14.2008 7:29pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
And we will never know what damaging documents were stolen by the person designated to represent the Clinton Administration to review documents (not Gorelick).

OK, I am truly confused here, but was Sandy Berger "designated to represent the Clinton Administration to review documents" when he stole those documents? If so, that's news to me, but so are a lot of things so I am happy to see this clarified. What I'd like to really know is how "the Clinton Administration" designated someone to do something for it 3 years after the Clinton Administration ceased to exist?? Who designated Sandy Berger "to review documents"? Bill Clinton? Serious questions.

As to the contention that Gorelick served on the commission "in the presence of a serious conflict of interest," I think it was determined that there was no conflict of interest -- at least none beyond those inherent in all the members. Is it your belief that just because John Ashcroft said so, she should have resigned??

Finally, what is most curious here is your refusal to engage in any of the real criticisms of your post (including by a co-conspirator), but you are happy to comment to correct the record re some commenters' bizarre musings re scientology. This was a hit-piece, and a silly one at that.
7.14.2008 7:40pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
As to the contention that Gorelick served on the commission "in the presence of a serious conflict of interest," I think it was determined that there was no conflict of interest -- at least none beyond those inherent in all the members. Is it your belief that just because John Ashcroft said so, she should have resigned??
No conflict as determined by whom? Also, which other members of the commission were actively involved in activities prior to 9/11 that could have been a factor in allowing it to happen?
7.14.2008 7:49pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I've read the 9/11 Commission Report, and that didn't come close to the Prof. Lingren's hatchet job here. To even come close to smearing Gorelik with pre-9/11 culpability is pretty horendous, even if you don't cite the report, which assessed blame pretty evenly across the aisle.
Let me see if I understand you. You are suggesting that because the commission that had Gorelick on it didn't condemn her or her "wall", then she had no culpability for 9/11? And then, since it didn't find her wall a factor, then she didn't have a conflict of interest?

I think that the reality is that there was an appearance of impropriety with her sitting on the commission that should have, and maybe even did, review her work at the DoJ as it affected our security pre-9/11. And as a result, there are many who do will continue to question the findings of the commission.
7.14.2008 7:55pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

Or ... maybe ... if Condi Rice had taken the time to read that pesky "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." memo ....

Clinton didnt meet with his CIA director for the first 2 YEARS of his administration.
7.14.2008 8:24pm
Dan Simon (mail) (www):
Let's not forget all that hideously insipid "smooth jazz" music that Gorelick is responsible for...
7.14.2008 8:37pm
The Ace (mail):
Or ... maybe ... if Condi Rice had taken the time to read that pesky "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." memo .

You mean this one?


A secret intelligence document prepared for President Bill Clinton in December 1998 reported on a suspected plot by Osama bin Laden to hijack a U.S. airliner in an effort to force the United States to release imprisoned conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center attacks.

The PDB shows that the intelligence community and the White House had been aware of al Qaeda's interest in hijacking U.S. airliners long before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.


Funny watching you bitter clingers hanging on to silly bromides.
7.14.2008 9:40pm
The Ace (mail):
to tell Bush to make sure and give the CIA and Condi the bum's rush when they trot out their daily briefing on an imminent attack on the U.S.


But of course nobody ever received any memo that any attack was "imminent."
7.14.2008 9:41pm
The Ace (mail):
Gee, maybe if the President and Condi Rice had been reading their own intelligence briefings, we may have taken some precautions prior to 9/11 as well.

You, nor any of your fellow travelers, can name one single thing, President Bush could have or would have done prior to the 9-11 attacks you would have supported.

Not one.

Otherwise, nothing in that memo, which said "After missile strikes against his base in Afghanistan in 1998 by then US President Bill Clinton, Bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate, the memo says" gave any specific warning.

But pretend otherwise. It suits you.
7.14.2008 9:46pm
The Ace (mail):
well if we're going to quote the Washington Times, we might also want to include former Senator Slade Gordon's letter to the editor there regarding the wall:

Nice. So you're a Republican now?

Why isn't for Senator Ashcroft's opinion valuable to you?

What about what the memo itself said? You're interested in that, correct?

How about this?


"It is hard to be totally comfortable with instructions to the FBI prohibiting contact with the United States Attorney's Offices when such prohibitions are not legally required," U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White wrote Ms. Gorelick six years before the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon.

"Our experience has been that the FBI labels of an investigation as intelligence or law enforcement can be quite arbitrary, depending upon the personnel involved and that the most effective way to combat terrorism is with as few labels and walls as possible so that wherever permissible, the right and left hands are communicating," she wrote.


By the way, I just love the insinuation she was a "mid-level bureaucrat"

Hilarious.
7.14.2008 9:52pm
The Ace (mail):
Gee, maybe if the President and Condi Rice had been reading their own intelligence briefings, we may have taken some precautions prior to 9/11 as well.

Um, what would you call this?


The government moved on several fronts to counter the threats. The CIA launched "disruption operations" in 20 countries. Tenet met or phoned 20 foreign intelligence officials. Units of the 5th Fleet were redeployed. Embassies went on alert. Cheney called Crown Prince Adbullah of Saudi Arabia to ask for help. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice asked the CIA to brief Attorney General John D. Ashcroft about an "imminent" terrorist attack whose location was unknown.


Oh, and I do enjoy this trip down memory lane:

The former president seems to be able to deny facts with impugnity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him"
--Michael Scheuer
7.14.2008 10:09pm
Toquam (mail):
Re: the bonuses paid only because of the inflated net income (gains on derivatives, notionally hedges against interest rate volatility)

Then Congressman, and now Chairman and Congressman, Barney Frank (D, MA) was quoted as demanding repayment of the bonuses by Garelick, in addition to the CEO and CFO.

Seemed logical and maybe even some "stand above partisanship" courage, integrity, yes?

Has anyone heard whether she repaid the money?
7.14.2008 10:23pm
Kazinski:
Greedy Clerk,

OK, I am truly confused here, but was Sandy Berger "designated to represent the Clinton Administration to review documents" when he stole those documents?

I think your on to something there, Berger was designated as Clinton's personal representative, so obviously his behavior doesn't reflect on the Clinton Administration, but Bill Clinton personally. Here are some of the details here:

President Clinton designated Berger as his representative to the 9/11 Commission and related hearings, which gave Berger special access to highly classified documents in the National Archives relating to the Clinton Administration's handling of al-Qaeda and similar terror threats.



There doesn't seem to be a nexus on the surface about Fannie Mae and Gorelick, but there are two things that make it of interest: a) Gorelick's spectacularly bad judgment that contributed to the loss of thousands of lives seems to be rewarded and b) Fannie Mae seems to have been used as cookie jar of political patronage for well connected Democrats that end up on the board, or as executives, and in return Fannie Mae seems to receive a lot of protection and patronage, from the legislative branch.
7.14.2008 10:49pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
One more ...

Back in the first two years of the Clinton Administration, Assistant AG Jamie Gorelick was one of the prime movers behind the drive to establish the clipper chip -- the hardware implementation of the "key escrow" scheme for breakable-by-the-government encryption -- as the standard.

The people currently having conniption fits over FISA wiretapping might do well to remember this.
7.14.2008 11:41pm
ReportReader (mail):
This from the Schlumberger website - a lot more than just a director...

Jamie S. Gorelick, 57, is a partner in Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, an international law firm since July 2003. Gorelick was Vice Chair of Fannie Mae, financing of home mortgages from May 1997 to July 2003, Washington, D.C. She is a director of United Technologies Corporation, a provider of high technology products and services to the aerospace industry, where she serves on its Finance and Public Issues Review Committees. She also serves on the Boards of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on the Schlumberger Board of Directors since 2002.
7.14.2008 11:59pm
FYI (mail):
"She had nothing to do with any "wall" between law enforcement and our intelligence agencies. The 1995 Department of Justice guidelines at issue were internal to the Justice Department and were not even sent to any other agency. The guidelines had no effect on the Department of Defense and certainly did not prohibit it from communicating with the FBI, the CIA or anyone else."

Before joining the Department of Justice, Gorelick served from May 1993 to April 1994 as General Counsel of the Department of Defense. As General Counsel, she supervised the government's second-largest "law firm," consisting of 10,000 lawyers.
7.15.2008 12:32am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Interestingly, it was almost exactly a year ago that Former Fannie Mae executives, including Franklin Raines, were suing to get their bonuses and severances back. They had been apparently been terminated after being caught cooking the books to smooth income and expenses, and maximize bonuses. He was due over $100k a month for life with his golden parachute.

What is a bit scary is that these quasi-federal corporations seem to have been run as a personal piggy banks by these people, and now we, the tax payers, are going to have to bail them out, after paying the people who engineered the debacle many millions of dollars.
7.15.2008 1:12am
mareck:
Glad you pointed out WilmerHale. Take a look at Sidley Austin as well. The mega law firms at work. In addition to Gorelick you also have Richard Ben Veniste. A perfect 911 Commission one-two punch. Hopefully Maverick's Justice Department will indict the both of them.
7.15.2008 1:15am
fob (mail):
Most folks forget the Clinton administration did not allow the Bush administration to begin their term until the 2000 election was "settled." This gave terrorists more time to plan their 9/11 attack. Progressives don't accept logic. Their worldview is based on feelings and what offends them; a poor way to govern the most powerful nation in history. An even poorer way to fight fanatics willing to die for their cause.
7.15.2008 1:34am
James Lindgren (mail):
In response to the Sandy Berger question, yes, Berger was the official designated to review documents for Clinton:

REAL CLEAR POLITICS:

"President Clinton designated Berger as his representative to the 9/11 Commission and related hearings, which gave Berger special access to highly classified documents in the National Archives relating to the Clinton Administration's handling of al-Qaeda and similar terror threats."

As I wrote in my update, the fraudulent reporting of earnings at Fannie Mae was obvious to anyone (such as Gorelick) who knew the bonus structure. Whatever Jamie Gorelick might be, she is certainly not stupid.

The only serious question is whether Gorelick knew that cooking the books was wrong or illegal. Things were so corrupt there that she might have thought that cooking the books was OK.

7.15.2008 2:18am
The Ace (mail):
She had nothing to do with any "wall" between law enforcement and our intelligence agencies. The 1995 Department of Justice guidelines at issue were internal to the Justice Department and were not even sent to any other agency.

I love this leftist logic when they trot this one out.

The FBI is part of DOJ and since they had to follow these guidelines they of course could not receive information from DOD.
7.15.2008 7:08am
wfjag:
Dear Josh:

I was responding to Greedy Clerk's snarky comment -- one the appeared to reflect the ignorance of relying on the US news media for reporting of facts. I agree that the 9/11 Commission Report does not address Gorlick or the effects of The Wall memo. Reading the 9/11 Commission Report is a starting point -- but hardly an ending point.

The Report suffers from at least 2 apparent defects. One is that Gorlick -- who was chosen by the Dems to be one of their Commissioners -- should have been a witness, not a Commissioner. The second is the failure to investigate what Berger took/destroyed, and why he did that (including who else may have been involved). It's disgusting that DOJ hasn't even follow-up on the part of the plead deal with him to make him undergo a polygraph (not that polygraphs are necessarily that good -- but, it's an indication of a complete lack of interest in DOJ in revealing the truth about the matter). As terrorism directed against the US and its citizens involves me, I tend to take personal offense at such political games -- Gorlick as Commissioner rather than witness and a sweetheart deal for Berger with no real inquiry into the facts. And, please don't respond that "There are Republicans who've done similar things". I know that. One does not excuse the other.

7.15.2008 9:38am
Paul A'Barge (mail):
Well then. From the Clinton administration to the Wall that was at least partially responsible for 9/11 to Fannie Mae to Duke University, not to mention the 9/11 Commission...

It's interesting to watch the spread of a parasite, is it not?
7.15.2008 9:56am
headlesschickens (mail):
dead right on both fronts. cheers. she and Franklin Raines and Jimmy Johnson all belong in jail.
7.15.2008 10:01am
Some Guy (mail):
The best part is that Ms. Gorelick will be back in the next Democratic Administration.

You just watch.
7.15.2008 11:33am
rockmom:
She would have been back in a Hillary Administration, probably as AG or even SecDef. Not sure she has much connection with the Obama crowd though.

Gorelick was the chief legal officer at Fannie Mae while it was cooking its books. If she didn't know what was going on, she didn't even earn her salary, much less millions in bonuses! She also knew nothing about housing or real estate finance when she got the job at Fannie. But she was a close friend of Hillary Clinton.
7.15.2008 11:53am
Bruce G. (mail):
Greedy Clerk: "As to the contention that Gorelick served on the commission "in the presence of a serious conflict of interest," I think it was determined that there was no conflict of interest..."

No unusual conflicts of interest? She recused herself during parts of the panels activities because of conflicts of interest. And the accusation that many made was that her conflicts of interest were too great to be on the commission at all.

But that's not the point of this piece. Her defendants in this space are eager to bring up irrelevant information to distract from the facts highlighted in the article. (And you have to wonder why? Why do they act like the Democrat's name and future successes hang on the reputation of Jaime Gorelick?)
7.15.2008 12:17pm
Gabriel Sutherland (mail):
1) Gorelick should have been rejected as a commissioner. However, it's not clear that the Republicans could have known about this information to support an objection to Gorelick's appointment. The way the commission was established, the Democrats and the Republicans were each granted an equal number of seats to fill. They could object to the other side's appointments, but would have to support the objection.

Once Gorelick was nominated and confirmed without objection, it was nearly impossible to remove her from her seat. At best, the members of the Commission could have agreed that Jamie Gorelick should abstain from questioning on matters where her activities as the former Assistant AG and the General Counsel to the Department of Defense were likely provide contention damaging the credibility of the commission as a whole.

If you recall, the Republicans first chose Henry Kissinger to be their co-chair. The Democrats objected. Republicans initially defended the Kissinger selection, but Kissinger then withdrew his name citing his commitments to his clients as a private citizen.

2) Slade Gorton's public defense of Gorelick in the letter to the Washington Times is a strong indicator that Gorelick's fellow commissioners weren't the least bit concerned with her seated next to them rather than a witness before them.
7.15.2008 12:59pm
Gabriel Sutherland (mail):

The Report suffers from at least 2 apparent defects.

Just two? There is an entire book devoted to covering the number of holes in the 911 commission report.

Short short history of the 9/11 Commission.
1) Let's do it. - Democrats
2) No wait, it's an election year. - Republicans
3) Let's do it anyway. - Democrats
4) But it's an election year. - Republicans
5) Ok. Let's do it next year. - Democrats
6) Cool. - Republicans
7.15.2008 1:10pm
JosephSlater (mail):
For those deflecting all criticisms of the Bush administration for the 9/11 attacks that happened on their watch, I'm curious how you would complete the motto that might be emblazoned on GWB's desk:

"The buck stops" . . . um, where exactly?
7.15.2008 2:09pm
wfjag:

Just two? There is an entire book devoted to covering the number of holes in the 911 commission report.


I agree that there are many more than 2, but, addressing those 2 (Gorlick and Berger related issues) would be a big improvement in the Report, and provide a lot of information to better protect ourselves in the future.
7.15.2008 2:27pm
daveinboca (mail) (www):
Jamie Gorelick is one of the most outstanding examples of the corrupt nomenklatura that sits atop the Democrat Party. James Johnson was another until he was toppled by greed in the Countrywide scandal. Fannie Mae appeared to be a rest-stop for out-of-office Democrats to fill their pockets until another govt job came along.

Entitlement corrupts, and elitist entitlement corrupts absolutely.

Poor Ashcroft was right about her membership on the 9/11 Commission, another process crime cover-up pretending to be an investigation.

Quis custodiet custodes?
7.15.2008 3:19pm