|Bloggers call her the "The Mistress of Disaster"|
Did Gorelick Ride TWA 800 To Fannie Mae Millions?
© Jack Cashill
Bloggers have taken to calling Jamie Gorelick “The Mistress of Disaster” and with good reason.
As Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, she penned the infamous “wall” memo that prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information in the run-up to September 11.
After leaving the Justice Department, she headed over to Fannie Mae, where as vice-chair she helped wreck the American economy.
From Fannie Mae, Gorelick careened back to the less than useless 9-11 Commission, whose mission she did her best to subvert.
Few bloggers, however, have asked why Fannie Mae handed a middling bureaucrat with no financial or housing experience a sinecure that the Washington Monthly called “the equivalent of winning the lottery.”
Or why House Democrats invested one of their five 9-11 Commission slots in a mortgage executive with little or no intelligence experience.
Or why Gorelick gave up a $4 million a year on-average gig to join the 9-11 commission?
All three questions lead to the same answer, Gorelick’s role in the investigation of TWA Flight 800, the 747 that blew up off the coast of Long Island in July 1996.
Tomorrow, July 17, we mark the 13th anniversary of that event and remember the 230 souls whose deaths official DC has conveniently forgotten.
As deputy attorney general, Gorelick’s assignment was to rein in the FBI. This was becoming increasingly necessary.
Although putting a “bomb” spin on his leaks to the New York Times, Jim Kallstrom, who headed up the FBI investigation, had spent the first five weeks after the crash pursuing the truth.
The Clintons did not consider Gorelick’s boss, Janet Reno, to be reliable. They had much more confidence in Gorelick, who served the Justice Department in a role the Soviets would call “political officer.”
An article in Newsweek of June 3, 1996, captured some sense of the trust placed in her by the Clintons, who had tasked her with defending liberal judicial appointments.
“Gorelick is even setting up a campaign-like ‘war room’ in her office,” chirped Newsweek, “In a campaign year, Justice can’t afford to be totally blind.”
No, in an election year, Justice could not afford to be blind at all. On August 22, Kallstrom was summoned to Washington to be served up a dose of political reality.
Associated Press reporter Patricia Milton, who wrote an FBI-friendly book on the crash with the acknowledged help of the Bureau, put only one Justice Department official at the August 22 meeting, Jamie Gorelick
At this juncture, five weeks into the investigation, even if Gorelick knew no more than what she read in the New York Times, she would have known that explosive residue had been found all over the plane and that the possibility of a mechanical failure was more “remote” than ever.
Gorelick surely knew much more, specifically that traces of PETN and RDX found in the fuselage along the right wing had been confirmed by the FBI’s D.C. lab.
She would have known too that the FBI had already interviewed more than seven hundred eyewitnesses. At least 244 of these accounts were so specific, so consistent, and so credible that they could not be ignored.
Defense Department analysts had debriefed some thirty-four of the witnesses. There were also scores of witness drawings of a missile strike, some so accurate and vivid they could chill the blood.
To be sure, no account of the August 22 meeting provides any more than routine detail, but behaviors began to change immediately afterwards.
The FBI had already leaked to the New York Times information that would result in a headline on August 23, top right: “Prime Evidence Found That Device Exploded in Cabin of Flight 800.”
This article stole the thunder from Clinton’s election-driven approval of welfare reform in that same day’s paper and threatened to undermine the peace and prosperity message of next week’s Democratic National Convention.
What followed in the next several weeks was the most ambitious and successful cover-up in American peacetime history. At its center was Jamie Gorelick.
Given her role, the months after the crash had to have been emotionally harrowing. She did not know whether she would wake up one morning and find Washington Post reporters at her door eager to turn her into a 1990s version of John Mitchell or H.R. Haldeman.
Gorelick need not have worried. If the Clintons failed to convince the aviation community that a mechanical failure of unknown origin blew up the aircraft, a complicit media proved eager to believe.
On May 7, 1997, the day after Gorelick’s 47th birthday, the Clintons appear to have rewarded her for her steely performance with a job that would pay her 877,573 in that first half-year alone.
According to a Lexis search, not one reporter even questioned why Fannie Mae chair Jim Johnson would appoint the inexperienced Gorelick to the most plum position in Washington.
Had the reporters inquired, they would have learned that Johnson’s resume for the chairmanship included a job as executive assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale and work on five Democratic presidential campaigns.
They might also have learned that Clinton had appointed five reliable hacks to the Fannie Mae board: the chief of staff and deputy campaign manager from his 1992 campaign, a former White House aide, a major DNC fund-raiser and Lincoln bedroom guest, and a GOP real estate mogul who endorsed Clinton in 1992.
One does not have to be a cynic to suspect that Clinton had something to do with Gorelick’s appointment.
Six years and about $25.6 million later, Gorelick responded to the call of duty once more and took her seat on the 9-11 commission.
In testifying before that commission, anti-terror czar and Clinton suck-up Richard Clarke asked that intelligence analysts "be forgiven for not thinking about [aviation terror] given the fact that they hadn't seen a lot in the five or six years intervening about it."
Almost assuredly, Clarke had downplayed talk of aviation terror during those years to take Flight 800 off the table.
Almost assuredly, Gorelick took the 9-11 post to keep it off. By this time, she had not just her reputation to protect, but a small fortune.
Jack Cashill and James Sanders' First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America is now available. First Strike explains how a determined corps of ordinary citizens worked to reveal the compromise and corruption that tainted the federal investigation. With an impressive array of facts, Jack Cashill and James Sanders show the relationship between events in July 1996 and September 2001 and proclaim how and why the American government has attempted to cover up the truth.
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