The New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau takes a look at a potential Attorney General nominee in the nascent Barack Obama administration — and it’s a familiar face. Jamie S. Gorelick may be on Obama’s short list for AG, but she has been a familiar face during the Bush administration, too. Gorelick served under Janet Reno during the Clinton administration and played a critical role in blinding counterterrorism efforts prior to 9/11:
Would bring to the job: A wide-ranging Washington résumé that spans corporate, legal and national security affairs. Ms. Gorelick (pronounced Guh-REH-lick) was the No. 2 official at the Justice Department in the Clinton administration, from 1994 to 1997, and if chosen would be the second woman to be named attorney general, following her former boss, Janet Reno. Ms. Gorelick would also bring corporate experience to an Obama administration at a time of financial crisis.
Is linked to Mr. Obama by: Deep contacts in Democratic circles and a background in civil rights. But Ms. Gorelick backed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries and contributed early on to her campaign, which could work against her as a contender. She contributed $10,000 to Mr. Obama’s presidential political action committee in August, after his nomination was all but assured.
Gorelick would bring corporate experience to an Obama administration — in the same way Rahm Emanuel did. 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.
Gorelick wound up serving as a panelist on the 9/11 Commission, but she should have been served a subpoena instead. Two memos from Clinton-appointed US Attorney Mary Jo White made this point crystal clear, as did an explanation from someone involved for years in the counterterrorist effort. Gorelick imposed an unrealistic standard on intelligence gathering that led directly to the 9/11 attacks. As AG, she would have even more power to reimpose those same limitations, and leave us just as blind as we were before those attacks.
Obama ran on “hope and change”, but if Gorelick is what he had in mind, then he sold the US a bill of goods. It would make the second former GSE board member nominated to a high position in his administration, one who already has connections to Countrywide’s corruption and a federal probe into her actions. Gorelick also has failed in developing policies and strategies to keep the nation secure. She would be a disaster as AG, and if she really is on the short list, it shows how clueless Barack Obama is about the threats to this nation.