Rosen repeated Investor's Business Daily's falsehood about intelligence "wall" before 9-11

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Discussing an Investor's Business Daily editorial, Newsradio 850 KOA host Mike Rosen repeated the newpaper's false assertion that "it was Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, who created the wall of separation between the FBI and CIA that kept us from connecting the information and preventing 9-11." But the 9/11 Commission Report refutes the contention that Clinton-era procedures inhibited intelligence sharing outside of the Justice Department.

Discussing an editorial in the September 8 edition of Investor's Business Daily during the September 8 broadcast of The Mike Rosen Show, host Mike Rosen repeated the newspaper's false assertion that "it was Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, who created the wall of separation between the FBI and the CIA that kept us from connecting the information and preventing 9-11." As Colorado Media Matters has noted, the 9/11 Commission Report refutes the contention that the Justice Department procedures promulgated by the Clinton administration inhibited sharing of intelligence outside of the Justice Department.

The "wall" to which Investor's Business Daily -- and Rosen -- presumably referred is one discussed in the 9/11 Commission Report under the heading "Legal Constraints on the FBI and 'the Wall.' " The report stated that "[i]n July 1995, Attorney General Janet Reno issued formal procedures aimed at managing information sharing between Justice Department prosecutors and the FBI." The report explained that the Clinton-era procedures actually "requir[ed] the sharing of intelligence information with prosecutors" but "regulated the manner in which such information could be shared from the intelligence side of the house to the criminal side." According to the report, the procedures "were developed in a working group led by the Justice Department's Executive Office of National Security, overseen by Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick." The report went on to explain:

These procedures were almost immediately misunderstood and misapplied. As a result, there was far less information sharing and coordination between the FBI and the Criminal Division in practice than was allowed under the department's procedures. Over time the procedures came to be referred to as "the wall."

As Media Matters for America has noted, 9-11 commissioner and former senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) responded in a letter to The Washington Times to a charge that Gorelick's 1995 Justice Department guidelines interfered with the sharing of intelligence gathered by the Department of Defense. Gorton stated that "[t]he Department of Justice guidelines at issue were internal to the Justice Department and were not even sent to any other agency. The guidelines had no effect on the Department of Defense and certainly did not prohibit it from communicating with the FBI, the CIA or anyone else."

The Bush administration also continued to enforce the Justice Department guidelines shortly before the 9-11 attacks. On August 6, 2001, Bush administration Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson issued a memo with the subject "Intelligence Sharing" -- which stated that the 1995 procedures as well as interim measures regarding intelligence sharing adopted by the Clinton Justice Department on January 21, 2000 -- "remain in effect." The Thompson memo asserted that its purpose "is to restate and clarify certain important requirements imposed by the 1995 Procedures and the Interim Measures, and to establish certain additional requirements."

From the September 8 broadcast of The Mike Rosen Show:

ROSEN: That is, even though there was solid information that bin Laden would be in Kandahar, the CIA declined to act, saying that the intelligence wasn't sufficiently actionable. That created some loss of morale within the CIA.

So, concludes Investor's Business Daily: It was the Clinton administration that could have put Osama bin Laden out of commission.

It was under Clinton that Americans were killed by terrorists on three continents without a meaningful response.

It was under Bill Clinton that we left Somalia in disgrace after dead Americans were dragged through the streets, giving bin Laden all of the proof of our lack of will he needed.

And it was Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, who created the wall of separation between the FBI and the CIA that kept us from connecting the information and preventing 9-11.

What's the word that describes all of this? Ah, yes, incompetence.

So that is some of the detail behind some of the disputed scenes in this ABC documentary that you can see on Sunday and Monday, The Path to 9-11.

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