August 17, 2005
Clinton White House Ignored Warning to Tear Down Wall Between Intelligence and Law Enforcement
That the Clinton White House was so obsessed with expanding rules restricting the sharing of intelligence with law enforcement can never be forgiven. The 'wall' was patently stupid when it was first articulated during the Carter Administration and any one who supported the doctrine is an idiot. That a patently absurd doctrine was expanded to make it even harder for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to work together in rules set up by Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick in the mid 1990s is the triumph of the morons educated in law schools over common sense.
PRESIDENT Bill Clinton's team ignored dire warnings that its approach to terrorism was "very dangerous" and could have "deadly results," according to a blistering memo just obtained by The Post.It is almost a near certainty that if 'the wall' had not been erected, that theh 9/11 plot would have been unintentionally foiled.
Then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White wrote the memo as she pleaded in vain with Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick to tear down the wall between intelligence and prosecutors, a wall that went beyond legal requirements.
Looking back after 9/11, the memo makes for eerie reading â€” because White's team foresaw, years in advance, that the Clinton-era wall would make it tougher to stop mass murder.
"This is not an area where it is safe or prudent to build unnecessary walls or to compartmentalize our knowledge of any possible players, plans or activities," wrote White, herself a Clinton appointee.
"The single biggest mistake we can make in attempting to combat terrorism is to insulate the criminal side of the house from the intelligence side of the house, unless such insulation is absolutely necessary. Excessive conservatism . . . can have deadly results."
She added: "We must face the reality that the way we are proceeding now is inherently and in actuality very dangerous."...
Justice honchos overruled White's plea â€” even though her team knew better than anyone else in law enforcement what the real risks were. White's team won a host of convictions â€” including Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who plotted to bomb landmarks like the Statue of Liberty....
White wrote the memo after her earlier pleas against the "wall" were rejected. She enlisted the help of her "Bomb II Team" â€” prosecutors working on terror bombings like the 1993 Twin Towers attack.
They gave six pages of detailed reasons why it was a mistake to create too much of a wall between intelligence and prosecutions. White forwarded that analysis to Gorelick and added her own notes on the Clinton-era decision "to keep prosecutors in the dark about intelligence investigations."
"What troubles me even more than the known problems we have encountered are the undoubtedly countless instances of unshared and unacted-upon information that reside in some file or other or in some head or other or in some unreviewed or not fully understood tape or other," White wrote. "These can be disasters waiting to happen."
I have asked before who was the idiot who chose to follow the rules and not pass on intelligence about Mohammed Atta to the FBI? An even bigger idiot is the fool defending the very rules which might have prevented 9/11.
I'm not as down on the 9/11 Commission Report as many of my fellow bloggers are. No, I don't think there is a massive cover-up--not to say there isn't a tiny cover up. The real culprits here are the people in the Clinton Administration who both followed the wall doctrine and expanded it. Too often we assume that covering up the crime is worse than the crime itself. That is certainly not the case in this instance.
The 9/11 Report may be flawed and not the entire story, but that pales in comparison with the poor judgement of the Clinton Administration.
Others: Powerline raises some interesting questions as to the timing of the memo.
Austin Bay is correct in calling for further investigation and correctly identifies the culprit: the lawyers.
Betsy Newmark celebrates the demise of the wall doctrine.
Captain Ed asks the right questions and focuses us on the Clinton White House.