Attorney General contender carries 9/11 related baggage

Monday’s New York Times reported that former Deputy A.G. and 9/11
Commissioner Jamie Gorelick was a candidate for Attorney General in the new
Obama Administration. Five-time Emmy winning investigative reporter Peter Lance
details a shocking, but little known story about Gorelick involving the loss
of a key al Qaeda operative. This is an excerpt from his 2006 HarperCollins
book TRIPLE CROSS soon to be published in trade paperback.

On December 16th, 1994, agents in the FBI’s San Francisco office made
an extraordinary seizure. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa (MJK) Osama bin Laden’s
brother-in-law and former roommate, was captured at a Holiday Inn in Morgan
Hill, California. If this arrest had been fully investigated by the FBI and
the Justice Department, it might have led to the seizure of 9/11 “mastermind”
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and stopped “planes as missiles” plot dead
in its tracks. But what followed was series of missteps and bad decisions at
the highest levels of the State and Justice departments that had a catastrophic
impact on America’s ability to cut short bin Laden’s jihad against

At the center of the decision making at the time, was Deputy Attorney General
Jamie Gorelick.


Even if the Feds were savvy enough to see the value in questioning him, however,
they never got the chance. On January 5, 1995, a decision was made by Secretary
of State Warren Christopher and supported by Deputy A.G. Gorelick, that arguably
ranks as one of the most profound intelligence errors committed by any U.S.
official in the years leading up to 9/11.

It’s difficult to fathom how it could have been in the interests of the
United States to allow the deportation of Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law;
a man the State Department had just named as “a terrorist.” But
Gorelick went on record personally as supporting Christopher’s recommendation,
concluding that “should deportation be ordered, deporting Mohammed Khalifah
to any country other than Jordan would be prejudicial to the interests of the
United States and that he should be deported to Jordan pursuant to Section 243
(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).”

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