Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Who Is Jamie Gorelick And What Has She To Do With The Wall Street Bailout??

One of the commentors here asked "Who is Jaime Gorelick, anyhow? Didn't she have something to do with 9-11 that made her emminently qualified to go into the Federal mortgage business and make millions?"

In the mid-1990's, Jamie Gorelick was a Deputy Attorney General in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration. She instituted the infamous "wall" that was erected between the FBI and the CIA that prevented them from sharing anti-terrorism intelligence and ultimately contributed to the intel failure that helped the 9-11 conspirators succeed in killing three thousand Americans.

Gorelick claims that she did not invent the "wall," which is a

set of procedures implementing a 1978 statute (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA) and federal court decisions interpreting it." Gorelick did invent the wall. The wall was not a set of procedures implementing FISA as construed by federal decisional law. To quote Gorelick's 1995 memorandum (something she carefully avoids doing), the procedures her memorandum put in place "go beyond what is legally required...[to] prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation." (Emphasis added.) As this rather straightforward English sentence illuminates, the wall exceeded the requirements of FISA and then-existing federal case law.

What the wall implemented was not the FISA statute as construed by the courts but rather Gorelick's overheated view of what would be useful to avoid being accused of misusing FISA. To be sure, it is often prudent for the government to hamstring itself beyond legal requirements; going-the-extra-mile improves the (already good) chances that courts will reject motions by defendants to suppress damaging evidence (like incriminating recorded conversations). It is, however, irresponsible for the government to hamstring itself when that means national security will be imperiled — which is what happens when agents are forbidden from communicating with one another.

She did impose the policies and procedures that aided terrorists in the murder of US citizens. Now, what does she have to do with the Wall Street bailout? Plenty. She went from one fiasco to another:

Even though she had no previous training nor experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed Vice Chairman of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) from 1997 to 2003. She served alongside former Clinton Administration official Franklin Raines. During that period, Fannie Mae developed a $10 billion accounting scandal.

On March 25, 2002, Business Week interviewed Gorelick about the health of Fannie Mae. Gorelick is quoted as saying, "We believe we are managed safely. We are very pleased that Moody's gave us an A-minus in the area of bank financial strength -- without a reference to the government in any way. Fannie Mae is among the handful of top-quality institutions." One year later, Government Regulators "accused Fannie Mae of improper accounting to the tune of $9 billion in unrecorded losses".

In an additional scandal concerning falsified financial transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a "manipulation" that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives. Gorelick received $779,625.

So this incompetent bumbler laid an egg at the Justice Department and then repeated her act at Fannie Mae. The Clinton administration - the grift that keeps on grifting.

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