I find I use the word chutzpah too often, but then again I often write about politicians. Back during the 9/11 hearings, Jamie Gorelick was selected as a 9/11 commission member. Gorelick was Janet Reno’s deputy at the justice department during the Clinton years, and was generally credited with strengthening the wall between the CIA and FBI which prevented them from sharing information. This is one as of the reasons many feel we failed to connect the dots prior to the terrorist attacks. The spectacle of Gorelick questioning Reno at the hearings about policies she (Gorelick) implemented was head-scratching, indeed. Observers rightly wondered why Gorelick wasn’t on the other side of the table, answering – instead of asking – the committee’s questions.
I only dredge this up in light of Christopher Dodd’s scheduled hearings today into the causes of the banking crisis. Once again, we have someone who should be answering, not asking, questions about their portion of the blame. Dodd was instrumental in blocking oversight reform into Fannie and Freddie, and was encouraging the mortgage giants to delve deeper into the subprime market as early as a few months ago (by the way – even though she had no previous experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed vice chairman of Fannie Mae from 1997 to 2003. She walked away with $26.5 million over the five-year period).
I believe Gorelick was placed in her position on the 9/11 commission to insulate her from blame. Dodd is attempting to do the same with today’s bank hearings. If an uninformed public allows them to do it, they’ll continue to play us for fools, and the change we hear so much about will be anything but.