The Corner

First (Able Danger) Post of The Day

An e-mailer: “I suggest that you get rid of your obsession about Gorelick’s “Wall”, regarding Able Danger. Remember, it was a military operation (different from the DOJ). Military intelligence guys and military lawyers.

What have we heard? Blow-back, like what happened at WACO. What happened to the military re: WACO. Charges that they violated the Posse Comitatus Law. In my view, from what I’ve read, that’s what the DOD lawyers were concerned about regarding admitting surveillance of persons here legally, to the FBI. Turns out, Posse Comitatus doesn’t apply to non-citizens here legally. So the lawyers were wrong. But nowhere – NOWHERE- in this mess do I see Gorelick’s ‘Wall’.”

Me: You are certainly right about the fear of “posse comitatus,” the post-Civil War law forbidding the military from functioning as domestic police officers. The Waco thing, though, militates against that –a GAO report cleared the Pentagon of any wrongdoing precisely because of the Executive Order governing intelligence signed by President Reagan in 1981, which specifically allows the Defense Department to involve itself in domestic intelligence in coordination with the FBI. I think, in dealing with these matters, you have to consider the question of the mindset in Washington in 2000 — and it was that domestic counterintelligence itself was prima facie problematic and that you were better off staying far away from it. That’s the psychology of the Gorelick “wall,” which demanded that the Justice Department “go beyond what is legally required” in order to be like Caesar’s wife.

So while I take your point, I also don’t, and neither should you.

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