Mistake #2

After The Rahm

Jamie S. Gorelick is being considered for the position of Attorney General by the Obama administration.  If selected, she could be their second big mistake.

Gorelick was vice chairman at Fannie Mae in the years when the GSE fraudulently reported its income. She got a Friends of Angelo sweetheart mortgage for almost a million dollars in 2003, and is currently under investigation by the department she would run if nominated for AG.

But even without that taint of corruption, Gorelick would signal a return to incompetence and infighting. Gorelick played a major role in keeping counterterrorist and law-enforcement agents from sharing information and “connecting the dots” before 9/11. In a series of judgments at the DoD and at Justice during her tenure in the Clinton administration, Gorelick hamstrung our efforts to find and disarm terrorist infiltrators by discouraging any cooperation between intelligence and enforcement efforts by making “the wall” much more significant than Congress ever intended.

The standards that Gorelick imposed for intelligence gathering was one of a very few actions that resulted directly (not indirectly, but directly) in the disaster of September 11, 2001.

Commissioner Gorelick, as deputy attorney general – the number two official in the Department of Justice – for three years beginning in 1994, was an architect of the government’s self-imposed procedural wall, intentionally erected to prevent intelligence agents from pooling information with their law-enforcement counterparts. That is not partisan carping. That is a matter of objective fact. That wall was not only a deliberate and unnecessary impediment to information sharing; it bred a culture of intelligence dysfunction. It told national-security agents in the field that there were other values, higher interests, that transcended connecting the dots and getting it right. It set them up to fail. To hear Gorelick lecture witnesses about intelligence lapses is breathtaking.

It is, of course, merely a question of judgment.  I could, if forced, be made to see possible upsides to the selection of Emanuel to the post of Chief-of-Staff for the next President.  He could, for instance, be an effective counter to the pressures that will be coming from the Speaker of the House.  I cannot see an upside to the selection of Jamie S. Gorelick.

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