Minute Man approaches the $64 question:
...I cannot understand Ms. Gorelick's seemingly extraordinary power over this commission.
It's a mystery to me as well. But maybe it's getting a little bit clearer as we begin to suspect that there is more at stake here than merely a missed opportunity to pin the blame for the 9/11 World Trade Center attack to the Bush Administration. Let's not forget what a circus it was in the early days.
There were the 9/11 widows led by Kristin Breitweiser, without whom the 9/11 Commission might never have come into being. From Dorothy Rabinowitz's Media Log:
"I watched my husband murdered live on TV. . . . At any point in time the casualties could have been lessened, and it seems to me there wasn't even an attempt made."--Monica Gabrielle
"Three thousand people were murdered on George Bush's watch."-- Kristin Breitweiser
No one by now needs briefings on the identities of the commentators quoted above. The core group of widows led by the foursome known as "The Jersey Girls," credited with bringing the 9/11 Commission into being, are by now world famous. Their already established status in the media, as a small but heroically determined band of sisters speaking truth to power, reached ever greater heights last week, when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice made her appearance at a commission session--an event that would not have taken place, it was understood, without the pressure from the widows.
Who could resist? Or, perhaps a better question would be, what Democrat could resist the opportunity to take down the Bush Administration? Grass roots public outcry signalled that somebody was ripe to be blamed for this. Maybe they could deliver a sacrificial "W". They certainly tried.
In an extraordinarily well coordinated effort CBS 60 Minutes featured Richard Clarke and his book Against All Enemies in which he blasted the Bush Administration anti-terrorism policies, the broadcast timed to air just when Clarke was about to testify before the 9/11 Commission. You may recall he began that testimony with a grand stand apology to the 9/11 Widows claiming "Your government failed you, I failed you." What he really meant of course was, the Bush Administration failed you. But when finally pressed, if the administration had implemented every single suggestion that Mr. Clarke ever made, could the 9/11 attacks been prevented? The answer from Mr. Clarke was, "No."
I don't want to belabor the point but the sharks were circling and they seemed to be getting a whiff of administration blood. But to get back to the question. What I don't understand is how Jamie Gorelick, a Clinton Administration Deputy Attorney General, came to have a seat on the commission before which her former boss, Clinton Administration Attorney General Janet Reno, had been invited to testify. This is the same Deputy Attorney General who buttressed "the wall". The Wall Street Journal expressed their shock this way.
We predicted Democrats would use the 9/11 Commission for partisan purposes, and that much of the press would oblige. But color us astonished that barely anyone appreciates the significance of the bombshell Attorney General John Ashcroft dropped on the hearings Tuesday. If Jamie Gorelick were a Republican, you can be sure our colleagues in the Fourth Estate would be leading the chorus of complaint that the Commission's objectivity has been fatally compromised by a member who was also one of the key personalities behind the failed antiterror policy that the Commission has under scrutiny. Where's the outrage?
Will the press continue with its complete lack of interest now that its known that Able Danger had requested the FBI roll up the al Qaeda cell that included 9/11 lead hijacker Mohammed Atta, a year before 9/11 went down? Is it just an odd coincidence that the memo the protected Mohammed Atta from the FBI, also shielded the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign from inquiries that delved too deeply into their acceptance of donations from foreign sources, most notably the People's Republic of China.
But the Gorelick memo of 1995 prevented intelligence collected by U.S. agents overseas from being used in domestic criminal investigations.
The memo was classified. It remained classified until John Ashcroft de-classified it in testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Imagine Ms. Gorelick's surprise when he did! The commission has done what any discredited, dishonest, and useless commission would do. They went on as if nothing happened. No reason to question the integrity of the commissioners, after all.
What about the Democrats, though? Hillary has plans to be the presidential nominee in 2008. A great many support Hillary toward that end. Newsmax refers to Jamie Gorelick as "Hillary Clinton's Justice Department protege" in an article that said,
According to now retired New York Times columnist William Safire, Gorelick was tapped for her post by Hillary ally Webster Hubbell after he resigned from the Justice Department in 1994 to face charges of overbilling his legal clients.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Gorelick fulfilled much the same role as Hubbell had, acting as Hillary's "eyes and ears at the Justice Department."
As we move forward tin foil hats are optional, but it sure looks like the unintended consequence of protecting the Clinton political machine from scrutiny over campaign contributions, was to allow the lead 9/11 hijacker to continue his plans with a free hand. Perhaps it's somebody's realization of that particular consequence that explains Sandy Berger's bizarre behavior in the National Archives, even as he prepared for testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Was Mr. Berger busy making bad news for the Clintons disappear when he stuffed classified material into his pants and walked off with it? Was it really all so very harmless? At what point will the press display a little curiosity? How about Congress?
And how does Ms. Gorelick do it? What extraordinary power has she, that no one will challenge her? As a chief architect of the wall that prevented the FBI from moving on Mohammed Atta, Gorelick would not be the Clinton's first choice to be sitting in the witness chair, if they were aware of that connection. Making her a 9/11 Commissioner seems to have taken care of the problem. But will she continue to wield enough clout to stay out of any witness chairs now that this new information has gained circulation?
If she manages to do it -- to stay out of the witness chair -- I'll be mightily impressed with the Democrats for their power to keep her out. I'll also be mightily impressed with them for their willingness to subvert the United States of America for the benefit of their party. But above all that, I'll be appalled at the Republicans for their willingness to go along.