David Bossie: embraced by his posse

Conservative media organizations are giving David N. Bossie -- a man whom fellow Republicans Newt Gingrich, Representative Dan Burton (R-IN), and former President George H. W. Bush have excoriated -- a forum to promote his new book, Intelligence Failure: How Clinton's National Security Policy Set the Stage for 9/11, which, according to its publisher, World Net Daily Books (WND Books), reveals, “The truth ... that the attacks of September 11, 2001 will remain Bill Clinton's legacy.” On May 19, The Washington Times published an op-ed by Bossie, which the newspaper bolstered with an editorial in support of his book's conclusions. On May 20, Bossie appeared on FOX News Channel's morning show, FOX & Friends, in which co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade were a receptive audience.

As Media Matters for America has previously noted, Bossie was fired in 1998 from his job as chief investigator for the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight -- which was investigating alleged Clinton White House campaign finance abuses -- for his role in releasing selectively edited transcripts of former Clinton administration official Webster Hubbell's prison conversations. (Hubbell went to prison for defrauding his Little Rock, AR, law firm.) According to a May 7, 1998, article in The Washington Times, “Mr. Burton said David Bossie had 'chosen to resign,' although House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Mr. Burton 'fired the one person he should have fired.'” The Washington Times quoted Burton conceding: “A mistake was made in not including in the 30 pages of transcripts a couple of comments made by Mr. Hubbell about himself and the first lady. They were relevant, and they should not have been left out.” The Washington Times concluded its piece by noting, “Mr. Bossie is no stranger to controversy. ... Republicans said yesterday that they also blamed Mr. Bossie for the notorious melon-shooting, staged re-enactment of the death of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr.”

Bossie currently runs the conservative organization Citizens United, which works “to enact key elements of President Bush's conservative legislative and policy agenda” and has a lobbying arm that works to “complete U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations,” among other foreign policy objectives. In 2000, Bossie co-wrote, with Floyd Brown, the book Prince Albert: the Life and Lies of Al Gore and is the author of the forthcoming book The Many Faces of John Kerry: Why this Massachusetts Liberal is Wrong for America (to be published by WND Books in July 2004).

Bossie's May 19, 2004, Washington Times op-ed argued that Jamie Gorelick (9-11 commissioner and former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration) was “hopelessly conflicted” because of the “wall” that she “was directly involved in ... building and guarding.” Identifying Bossie only as the “former chief investigator for the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight,” in an editorial published on the same day, The Washington Times agreed with Bossie's assertion. Both assigned blame to Gorelick for the “wall” that restricted information sharing between the CIA and FBI prior to September 11, 2001. The Washington Times editorialized:

On today's Op-Ed page, David Bossie, former chief investigator for the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, makes a powerful case that Jamie Gorelick, a member of the September 11 commission, has a major conflict-of-interest problem. Mr. Bossie is right. Given that Ms. Gorelick, during her tenure as deputy attorney general in the Clinton Justice Department, helped strengthen the ill-conceived legal “wall” that choked off cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence agencies prior to September 11, she has no business serving as an investigator of the attacks.

This “wall,” however, was built before Gorelick became deputy attorney general and was retained by Attorney General John Ashcroft's own deputy, Larry Thompson. The joint House and Senate Intelligence Committees' report of pre-September 11 intelligence failures did not find that the “wall” originated in the Clinton administration; their report states: “The 'wall' is not a single barrier, but a series of restrictions between and within agencies constructed over 60 years as a result of legal, policy, institutional and personal factors.” Similarly, a ruling by the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review -- when it met for the first time ever in 2002 -- traces the origin of the “wall” to “some point during the 1980s.”

Most recently, in his April 12, 2004, testimony before the 9-11 Commission, Ashcroft conceded that his own deputy attorney general, Larry Thompson, reauthorized the “wall” in August 2001.