Robert Mueller's term as FBI Director ends next month. Naturally there is rampant speculation about who will replace him. Among those mentioned are Jim Comey, former Deputy AG under President Bush, and another former Deputy AG, Jamie Gorelick, who served under President Clinton.
I know Jim Comey decently well. We were AUSA'S together in the Eastern District of Virginia in the 1990's. When a Carter-appointed district judge in Richmond threatend to hold the US Attorney in contempt for having the audacity to fill his docket with federal gun charges under Project Exile, Jim and I represented her at the show-cause hearing. The judge backed down, and Project Exile continued unabated (helping to reduce the murder rate in Richmond by more than 50%).
In a later post, I might say more about various FBI candidates, but for now I just want to say a word, not about Jim, but about Ms. Gorelick, who was a disaster as DAG and an even bigger disaster when she went to Fannie Mae and helped usher in the most crushing banking collapse since the Great Depression. For a variety of reasons, I doubt the President will be foolish enough to nominate her. If he does, the Republicans should filibuster the nomination, and I expect that they will.
Foremost among the reasons to block her as head of the FBI is her 1995 memo to DOJ attorneys, directing that, not only were we to be vigilant in maintaining the then-required wall separating domestic from foreign intelligence, but that we were to do more than the law required. I remember the memo well. She emphasized this point as if she were proud of it, which I'm sure she was.
The proudly maintained wall would turn out, a very few years later, to be responsible in part for our failure to connect the much heralded dots that might have led our government to be able to anticipate, and thus thwart, the 9-11 attacks.
This report has a short version of the story:
The Wall Street Journal's Evan Perez first reported the news last week, citing "U.S. officials" familiar with the situation.
Gorelick served as vice chairman of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) when the government-sponsored enterprise began bundling subprime loans into securitized financial instruments. Prior to that, she served as deputy attorney general in the Clinton Justice Department under then-Attorney General Janet Reno from 1994 to 1997.
But Gorelick is perhaps best known for her 1995 memo, written when she was deputy attorney general, that later became known as "Gorelick's Wall," a policy prescription limiting the flow of information between intelligence gatherers and criminal investigators that some believe helped allow the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center to go unchallenged.
The notion that the FBI, of all things, should be headed by a person so lacking in judgment, and so willing to put civil libertarian grandstanding ahead of the safety of the American people, is just astounding. It's so astounding that, as noted, I don't think it's going to happen, even in an administration as naive about crime and national security as this one.