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Slade Gorton: Shaffer Changes His Story about Able Danger

Reported by Marie Therese - August 23, 2005

On last night's O'Reilly Factor (8/22/05), Republican Slade Gorton, a member of the 9/11 Commission, went head-to-head with the avuncular Bill O'Reilly on the topic of Jamie Gorelick. Gorton proved more than equal to the task and refused to let O'Reilly intimidate him. In the course of the interview Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's story of botched pre-9/11 intelligence began to unravel.

After taking a few more potshots at Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan, O'Reilly went on to poor-mouth another woman, former Justice Department official and 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick who has claimed that FOX News is not telling the truth about her alleged involvement in creating a wall between the various investigative agencies during her tenure in the Clinton administration.

As usual, O'Reilly mentioned that Ms. Gorelick declined to appear on his show. However, her surrogate - fellow Commissioner and former Republican Senator Slade Gorton - proved a worthy and chivalrous champion for the absent attorney. As you will see in the transcript below, by the end of the interview, O'Reilly was left with nothing much to say other than to regurgitate the FOX-GOP spin and tell Gorton that he'd see the light after a good night's sleep!


O'REILLY: [Gorelick] says we're not telling you the truth about her involvement in building a symbolic wall between US intelligence agencies and those investigating criminal activity. As you may know, former Army Intelligence Officer Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer says his unit, called Able Danger, identified 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat but were prevented from passing on the information to the FBI.

VIDEO CLIP of Anthony Shaffer, Aug. 19, 2005, FOX News Channel, speaking to host Tony Snow: "To go back in history, back to 2000, yeah, we, we tried in, in, in the summer-fall time-frame one - the special operations command lawyer said: Ya' can't look at this. They're here legally. Pretend they don't exist." END clip.

O'REILLY: Now, Miss Gorelick says it wasn't her fault, that she was simply enforcing the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But US Attorney General Mary Jo White disagreed with Ms. Gorelick's aggressive posture on the act and wrote to [then Attorney General] Janet Reno in 1995: "It's hard to be totally comfortable with instruction's [sic] to the FBI prohibiting contact with Unites States' Attorney's offices when such prohibitions are not legally required." [Mary Jo White Memo to AG Janet Reno, June 13, 1995]

Bottom line - mass confusion among the agencies that are supposed to protect us, confusion aided in part by Jamie Gorelick in my opinion. But - I could be wrong. By the way the Patriot Act knocked down that symbolic wall. And that's the Memo. Now for the top story tonight. Miss Gorelick has declined to appear on this program but joining us now from Seattle is former Senator Slade Gorton who worked with Jamie Gorelick on the 9/11 Commission. So where am I going wrong here, Senator?

SLADE GORTON: Well, in the first place you're not going to have anything that had to do with 9/11 unless there was some intelligence to share and it's becoming more and more evident that there wasn't any intelligence to share.

O'REILLY: So you don't believe Shaffer? You think Shaffer's lying?

GORTON: I - God, Sha - Shaffer originally said that he told our staff in Afghanistan about Mohammed Atta. He didn't. There were four people there. None of them heard it. Since then, he has agreed that he did not do so ...

O'REILLY (louder): Alright, well wait, wait, wait, wait ...

GORTON (ignoring the interruption) ... now he says ...

O'REILLY: Wait, wait, wait ..

GORTON: ... now he says ...

O'REILLY: Wait ..

GORTON: ... now he says that he first learned about it from someone else in the - in these defense agencies after 9/11.

O'REILLY: But, but Senator look ...

GORTON (still ignoring him): If he learned it after 9/11 how could he have wanted to turn it over ...

O'REILLY: Senator ...

GORTON (barreling on): ... to prosecutors in the year 2000.

O'REILLY: Senator, you just heard a sound bite from Col. Shaffer that was recorded on Friday [August 19] - three days ago, OK? He flat out says - and I don't know whether he's tellin' the truth or not - I don't know. How do I know? I wasn't there! But he flat out says that his crew - Able Danger - brought information to the US government that Mohammed Atta - in the United States legally - he came in on a visa - alright? - was a threat and was told to shut up, stuff it - intelligence can't go over to the FBI so they can surveil him.

GORTON: Well, what ...

O'REILLY: That's what the Colonel's sayin'! And you're sayin' he's a liar?

GORTON: What we know on the 9/11 Commission is that he told us nothing about Mohammed Atta or anyone else in Afghanistan, that he did tell us about Able Danger. We followed up on Able Danger. We got records about Able Danger from the Department of Defense. It had nothing about Mohammed Atta ...


GORTON: ... in it ...

O'REILLY: ... and I believe you ...

GORTON (louder, overtalks): Since this has come ...

O'REILLY: I believe you.

GORTON: Since this has come out, the Defense Department ...

O'REILLY: They issued a statement sayin' that they didn't know anything ...

GORTON: ... has been scrambling to see if it has something.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

GORTON: It has nothing and, as of today, it tells us that the civilian female whom Col Shaffer has as a source does not corroborate what he has to say.

O'REILLY: OK. Alright. And that's all true. The Defense Department has said ...

GORTON: So what we're sayin' is there was nothing to share.

O'REILLY: OK. And I believe you. I don't know if I believe the Defense Department or not. That's a bureaucracy. But I believe YOU. You're an honorable man. You're sayin' you didn't know and I believe you. But, what I know to be true is that there was a tremendous amount of confusion from 1995 onward after this crazy Act that Janet Reno - for some reason in her office made everybody aware of - that intelligence sources overseas were not to brief criminal investigators like the FBI - we know they have an intelligence arm, criminal investigators - if they got something. It was a violation of people's rights. Now, you know that as well as I do.

GORTON: No. You're, you're - No. You've slightly misstated it, but the misstatement is a very important one. They were not to go to US attorneys who were prosecuting cases. There was no limitation on any intelligence agency sharing anything with any other intelligence ...

O'REILLY (louder): So, you, you think that subtlety ...

GORTON: ... agency at all.

O'REILLY: You think that subtlety ...

GORTON (louder): And so, it ...

O'REILLY: ... was known by all the investigators?

GORTON: Subtlety?!

O'REILLY: I - No, I don't.

GORTON: It isn't a rem ...

O'REILLY: I think it was a culture...

GORTON: It isn't a remote subtlety!

O'REILLY: ... it was a culture established by Attorney General Reno that ...


O'REILLY: ... "don't get involved - the overseas people doesn't [sic] get involved"!

GORTON: There was a policy established by Congress and by judges that you couldn't use the intelligence information gotten through one kind of, of - you know - of subpoena or wiretap in criminal prosecutions. It had nothing to do with sharing among agencies and, as you've rightly said, when it was finally taken down, you know, not by Ashcroft just - who went along completely with [what] Jamie said but by the Patriot Act ..

O'REILLY: Right.

GORTON: ... the courts still tried to interfere with it until a - until an appeals court finally ended that wall


GORTON: ... and TODAY we aren't getting the kind of cooperation we ought to have.

O'REILLY: I think you and I agree on 90% of this issue but there's one thing we disagree on, and, and if you think about it overnight I think you might see my point of view here. I'll put forth where I think you're making your mistake, then I'll give you the last word. There was a culture created when Janet Reno was Attorney General - she refused to investigate the Chinese contributions to our political campaigns, the Riati family. She refused to get involved with any kind of overseas intelligence vis a vis people on US soil. She flat out wouldn't do it. Jamie Gorelick was one of her top deputies who bought into this entirely. The message was sent: If you have stuff overseas - intelligence overseas - don't bother us with it. And I believe that firmly. Senator, I'll give you the last word, sir.

GORTON: We agree on a number of things. I'm no defender of Janet Reno as an Attorney General but what I'm telling you is that the law was created by laws sponsored by the Church Committee back in the 1970s and they went all the way through until after 9/11 was over and that nothing Jamie Gorelick wrote had the slightest impact on the Department of Defense or its willingness or ability to share intelligence information with intelligence agencies.

O'REILLY: Alright, we'll let the audience decide, Senator. It was a pleasure. If you see Miss Gorelick, tell her she's welcome any time on this program.


Chinese contributions and some unproven connections with the Riati family?

Here's a partial list of the scandals bubbling to the surface in the Bush administration:

Karl Rove

Jack Abramoff

Tom Delay

Randy "Duke" Cunningham

Gov. Bob Taft



Kellogg, Brown and Root

Missing $8 bllion in Iraq

O'Reilly clearly has a serious case of selective memory disease!

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