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Friday, April 16, 2004
More on Gorelick and the Wall

By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

Robert Tagorda has an excellent post on Gorelick over at Priorities & Frivolities. I had meant to note it yesterday, but wasn’t at the computer much at all yesterday evening.

At any rate, he notes the following testament that Gorelick gave to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on 10/25/95:

The resulting overlap in the concerns and activities of the intelligence and law enforcement communities has prompted some people to suggest that we should simply merge the two communities in an effort to achieve greater efficiency in the fight against international crime. We believe this would be a serious mistake. There are ample reasons, grounded in history and constitutional principles, to maintain a clear demarcation between the missions and authorities of the two communities. Nevertheless, given the increasing threat that international crime poses to our national security and domestic tranquility, we clearly must develop new methods to improve the coordination and operation between the two communities so that each is able to perform its functions as efficiently and effectively as possible, consistent with the Constitution and existing statutes and Executive Orders. This is one of the central challenges we in law enforcement and in the intelligence community face today.

As Robert noted in a comment to one of my posts yesterday, while Gorelick did not create “The Wall", she does bear a great deal of responsibility in strengthening it, or, as I heard on TV several times this morning made it “higher and thicker".

Clearly this wall made it difficult to connect those now infamous dots. Those seeking to understand our counter-terrorism failures have to look long and hard at the Wall. Further, those who are certain that the USA Patriot Act is nothing less than the greatest threat to US civil liberties ever devised should note that if the Patriot Act is allowed to wholly expire, parts of the Wall get put back into place.

Also, I would note, that those who think that the Bush administration could have done something dramatic and effective as a result of the 8/6/01 PDB should consider the current criticisms of the Patriot Act and consider the hue and cry that would have emerged had Bush proposed anything remotely like it pre-911.

And, I agree with Robert-a key issue here is less the idea of blaming Gorelick as it is why the press, and indeed, the 911 Commission itself, is not more intensely dealing with this issue, which is a clear example of established policy that hampered domestic counter-terrorism. This is a far more concrete area for investigation than speculating about how some piece of data should have been interpreted pre-911.

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