Congressional Record: April 28, 2004 (Senate)
Page S4449-S4450

                          THE 9/11 COMMISSION

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I want to talk a few minutes about the 
work of the 9/11 Commission. I know it has become popular--perhaps it 
has always been that way--for those who sit on commissions, those who 
engage in political debate about the great causes of the day in 
Washington, DC, to try to find blame for various things that happen. 
That is no less true of the work of the 9/11 Commission in looking into 
both the causes of the terrible events of that day and also when it 
comes to coming up with recommendations about what we might be able to 
do to make sure that sort of tragedy never occurs on our own soil 
  But I think we ought to be clear about who is to blame for the 
terrible events of 9/11. It was not President Clinton or his 
administration. It was not President Bush or his administration. The 
individual and the organization at fault for the events of 9/11 were 
Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. Regardless of our differences, especially 
in this election year where we are going to select a President, I think 
we ought to make sure our enemies do not draw any comfort from the 
debates we have on the floor of the U.S. Senate or elsewhere that we 
somehow are redirecting the blame to others for political gain and to 
score political points. I think all Members of the U.S. Senate--indeed, 
all Members of the U.S. Congress--should be absolutely clear where the 
blame lies. As I said, that lies with al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.
  Indeed, after that terrible day there was an upswelling of bipartisan 
support in this country to try to make sure we did whatever we needed 
to do in order to make sure that the events of that day would never 
occur again. Indeed, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution 
authorizing the use of all necessary and appropriate force against the 
persons and organizations responsible for September 11.
  Indeed, in an unprecedented fashion, also, we saw that our allies in 
NATO, under article V of that treaty, declared that an attack against 
the United States was, in effect, an attack against all NATO nations.
  Of course, this issue is as current as today's news because we know 
there are two cases that are going to be argued before the U.S. Supreme 
Court, the Hamdi and Padilla cases, which are going to look at the 
limits of Presidential power under a declaration of war, such as was 
authorized by the Congress, by the Senate unanimously. Of course, they 
are going to decide, and it seems obvious to me, but perhaps it is not 
as obvious to others, that the approval of all necessary and 
appropriate force must necessarily include the capture and detention of 
enemy combatants. But that is perhaps an issue for another time.
  Also, in the spirit of bipartisan support for using all necessary and 
appropriate means to defend our country, the Senate passed the USA 
PATRIOT Act 98 to 1. Of course, this important legislation provides law 
enforcement with sorely needed tools to combat terrorism. 
Unfortunately, we also recall that spirit of bipartisan unanimity did 
not last very long.
  Once the Democratic Party began to choose its Democratic nominee, we 
heard a lot of disparaging remarks made about the USA PATRIOT Act. 
Indeed, in a misguided and perhaps ill-informed way, there are 287 
different municipalities around the country that have passed 
resolutions disparaging the USA PATRIOT Act.
  It is amazing, in Washington, how events can turn on a dime. After we 
heard testimony before the 9/11 Commission from Janet Reno, former FBI 
Director Louis Freeh, Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director 
Robert Mueller, and others, a bipartisan chorus said it was the USA 
PATRIOT Act which tore down the wall which

[[Page S4450]]

previously precluded information sharing between law enforcement and 
intelligence-gathering officials. We haven't heard very much more about 
the previous calls to either repeal or change the PATRIOT Act because, 
indeed, it was the PATRIOT Act that tore down that wall and which has 
made America safer. Perhaps the best evidence of that is not just my 
statement or anyone else's. It is the fact we have, thank God, avoided 
another 9/11 in the days since that terrible day.
  The spirit of bipartisanship that resulted in a resolution 
authorizing the use of necessary force against our enemies who brought 
the war to us on 9/11 and the spirit of bipartisanship that saw a 98-
to-1 vote in favor of the USA PATRIOT Act and tearing down that wall 
needs to continue to prevail on the National Commission on Terrorist 
Attacks on the United States that was created by Congress and appointed 
by both the Congress and the President. Of course, it is the job of 
that Commission to find facts, to create a historical record of the 
events that led up to that date, and then come up with recommendations. 
It is absolutely critical that the work of the National Commission on 
Terrorist Attacks, the 9/11 Commission, not be undermined and that the 
public confidence be preserved in that Commission.
  That brings me to the testimony which I believe must be provided in 
an open forum by Commissioner Jamie Gorelick. As Attorney General 
Ashcroft revealed during his testimony, when he declassified a key 1995 
memorandum, dated actually March 4, 1995, authored by Ms. Gorelick when 
she was Deputy Attorney General, it was the policy of the Justice 
Department, under Ms. Reno and under Ms. Gorelick, during the Clinton 
administration, that went further than the law required in establishing 
this wall which prohibited information sharing between law enforcement 
officials and counterintelligence officials. Indeed, in the days since 
Attorney General Ashcroft revealed the existence of this memo, we have 
seen Ms. Gorelick respond in a Washington Post op-ed piece explaining 
her role.

  My point is, Ms. Gorelick, serving in a high-level position in the 
Justice Department as Deputy Attorney General, in effect the chief 
operating officer in the Department of Justice under Attorney General 
Janet Reno, has special knowledge of the facts and circumstances 
leading up to that memo and the erection and buttressing of that wall 
barring the sharing of communications.
  I believe her testimony under ordinary circumstances would be sort of 
a no-brainer. The 9/11 Commission would say: This is a person with 
knowledge of relevant facts. Let's bring her before the Commission and 
ask her to tell us what she knows.
  That has been requested now, public testimony by Ms. Gorelick, in 
letters signed by a number of Senators, and now been refused by the 
cochairs, Chairman Kean and Chairman Hamilton.
  Simply put, this is a self-inflicted wound on the credibility of the 
9/11 Commission. We have learned that she has provided testimony in 
camera or, in English, in secret. In other words, she has been 
interviewed by the 9/11 Commission and told apparently what she knows 
out of the public eye. Obviously, she has written an op-ed piece 
explaining, without the benefit of further questions or followup, what 
it is she intended to do and the circumstances leading up to that 1995 
  If public testimony by persons with knowledge of relevant facts 
ranging from Janet Reno to Louis Freeh to John Ashcroft to Bob Mueller 
and others, if that testimony was important--and indeed, I believe it 
was--then public testimony by Ms. Gorelick is important to preserving 
the public credibility of the work product of the 9/11 Commission.
  Secret testimony will not cut it. In fact, we need to know what it 
was that led up to this policy and the reasons for it in order to 
understand why it is important never to go there again. As I said, this 
policy is stated in that very same memo, which went well beyond legal 
requirements. In other words, the PATRIOT Act, once it was passed 
virtually unanimously in this body, dismantled that wall in a way that 
made America safer.
  May I ask how much time I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Ten seconds.
  Mr. CORNYN. I ask unanimous consent for 2 additional minutes and also 
to extend the Democratic time by the same amount.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORNYN. First, Ms. Gorelick claims in this Washington Post op-ed 
piece that she had no choice when she penned the 1995 memo. It would be 
worth knowing why it is she thought she had no choice.
  Second, she claims this memo did nothing more than continue 
preexisting Justice Department policy first established in the 1980s. 
By the very terms of the memo, she states it is prudent to establish a 
set of instructions that will clearly separate counterintelligence 
investigations from criminal investigations. It is appropriate to ask 
her if she thought she was establishing a policy or continuing a 
policy, as she stated in another place.
  Finally, Ms. Gorelick appears to be shifting the blame for the 
policy--and we are not talking about blame for the policy--to then-
Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson. At a minimum, it is not 
appropriate for one Justice Department official to attack her successor 
for failing to adequately correct their own mistakes, as we now know 
that wall was a mistake.
  So, Mr. President, in conclusion, let me say because I know time is 
running out, I believe it is absolutely imperative that Ms. Gorelick 
offer to come forward and give public testimony about what she knows 
about the erection of the ``wall'' barring the critical sharing of 
information that has subsequently now made America much safer.
  I believe the credibility of the Commission's report depends on that 
public testimony, and I urge the chairman of the 9/11 Commission to 
reconsider, and indeed Ms. Gorelick to consider her refusal to testify 
in public and avoid what has, by all appearances, the status of a self-
inflicted wound on the credibility of the Commission.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada is recognized.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I think that in addition to having Ms. 
Gorelick reassess her position, it would be good for the President and 
administration to reassess their positions and testify publicly, or at 
least separately, instead of this appearance that they have in secret.