President Bush rebuked the Justice Department for injecting partisan politics into the work of the panel probing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by releasing documents intended to raise questions about a Democratic member, says the Los Angeles Times. Bush expressed his displeasure yesterday in a commission session in the Oval Office. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney met with the 10-member group for more than three hours.
Bush “doesn’t believe that there ought to be finger-pointing. We ought to all be working together to learn the lessons of Sept. 11,” said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.
The controversy involves Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. Attorney General John Ashcroft declassified a 1995 Gorelick memo and gave it to the commission. The memo instructed federal officials to keep counterintelligence “more clearly separate” from criminal intelligence. On Wednesday, the Justice Department released more Gorelick-related memos, posting them on its Web site. The action prompted Bush’s remarks to the commission that he was “disappointed” in the Justice Department.