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Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Drum on the Gorelick Revelation

By Steven Taylor @ 3:09 pm

Not surprisingly, Kevin Drum ain’t impressed with Ashcroft’s revelation about the Gorelick memo:

The fact that Ashcroft was so pleased with himself makes it obvious that he declassified this memo for the sole purpose of embarrassing Gorelick, an action that continues a Bush administration pattern of casually declassifying anything that helps their political cause but refusing to declassify anything that might hurt them.

Now, I will agree that the way Ashcroft noted the memo was clearly a “gotcha” aimed at Gorelick, and, further, that the administration engages in the politics of advantage in regards to some, if not many, of its decisions to release information. As such that just proves that the administration is populated by politicians, not unlike, well, all administrations. Still, I am not going to say that they Bush administration does everything simply in a quest for Truth.

However, Kevin’s response, to some degree like Matthew Yglesias’ which I blogged on earlier today, vexes me, given that Gorelick’s memo is clearly quite relevant to the important to the 911 Commission’s work. It is clear that to understand 911 we have to understand how the FBI and CIA operated specifically on the issue of counter-terrorism. This memo is very much about the rules that bound the actions of those institutions and the culture of both pre-911. To pretend that the memo is just the Bush administration playing politics and therefore to ignore the significance of its contents, is to say that one really doesn’t want to understand why 911 happened, and how to prevent such attacks in the future, but rather one simply hopes that the commission damages the Bush administration.

The Gorelick memo is whole lot more important than how much time Bush spent in the Alabama Air National Guard, for example.

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  1. It is beginning to feel like the episode with the senate judiciary memos. What is in the memos is irrelevant, how the memos were obtained is the real scandal! Same here.

    Comment by mark — Wednesday, April 14, 2004 @ 6:12 pm

  2. I think Dean said it best:

    “Kevin Drum’s turned into a paint-by-numbers parody of himself.”

    But at any rate, I don’t really care about the old policy. It was debated then and a decision was made. I am not calling for her head on a platter because her policy “caused” 9/11. I really think “blaming” anyone in the U.S. is fundamentally flawed.

    But I sure as heck think she should recuse herself… Yesterday.


    Comment by Paul — Wednesday, April 14, 2004 @ 7:17 pm

  3. I certainly have no desire to blame her. My objection is that the commission is supposed to be diagnosing problems, and clearly that policy was part of the problem.

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, April 14, 2004 @ 8:30 pm

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