Jamie Gorelick

  • July 9, 2014

    by Paul Guequierre

    Must it be that we have to make a choice between national security and constitutional principles? It’s a question that has been asked by people from across the political spectrum for generations. But after 9/11 senators and representatives from both political parties strongly backed the sweeping PATRIOT Act, which would help exponentially grow the federal government’s spying apparatus. Far removed from 9/11 and with much more information about the federal government’s eavesdropping operations, more people and groups are questioning the government's motives and mechanisms for spying on Americans.

    In the past 18 months, the extent of how far the government is going in monitoring both Americans and foreigners has taken center stage. When former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed secret documents detailing just how deep our government’s spying went, heated debates erupted over whether the government was justified in backing intrusive and massive spying programs. People of all political stripes continue to weigh in, some calling Snowden a hero, others a traitor. But regardless of how you feel about Snowden, you can’t help but be amazed, and perhaps troubled, by what he has exposed.

    Snowden’s latest disclosures show other countries are working with the NSA in spying on their own citizens. And just yesterday, we got a look at which Muslim-American leaders the FBI and NSA have been spying on.    

    According to Ryan Gallagher at The Intercept, huge volumes of private e-mails, phone calls and internet chats are being intercepted by the NSA with secret cooperation of more foreign governments than previously known. Gallagher says, the classified files leaked by Snowden, shed light on how the NSA’s surveillance of global communications has expanded under a clandestine program, known as RAMPART-A, which depends on the participation of a growing network of intelligence agencies. The latest Snowden documents show that a number of countries, described by the NSA as “third-party partners,” are playing an increasingly important role – by secretly allowing the NSA to install surveillance equipment on their fiber-optic cables.

  • March 9, 2011
    Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, one of the longest-serving in history, details parts of her remarkable career, including tackling prejudices long set in place by a male-dominated profession, in a "Legends in the Law," profile for Washington Lawyer.

    Gorelick, a partner at WilmerHale, served as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, recounted an early experience as the only woman attorney at a small law firm. On her first day Gorelick said the firm's managing partner assured her that she should feel comfortable at the firm and that she was welcome there. Then the managing attorney proceeded to tell her about the practice's "atmosphere." The managing attorney, Gorelick recounted, said the "guys call each other by their first names and the gals, meaning the secretaries, call the guys by their first names unless there is a client around, in which case they call them by their last names. As he talked about ‘the guys do this and the gals do that,' I asked him, What am I? He said, without skipping a beat, ‘Oh, you're a guy.' This was my first introduction to how odd a duck I was in this water. I had to prove to my colleagues at the firm and in the white collar litigation bar that I was capable of being a litigator."

    Before serving in the Justice Department, Gorelick (pictured at the 2007 ACS National Convention) was the general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense, when the Clinton administration was struggling with the service of lesbian and gay men in the military. Regarding the development of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy, which Congress and the Obama administration have repealed, Gorelick said it was due to "tremendous resistance in Congress to changing the policy toward gays, and the way in which the president announced it, without letting it percolate at DOD, ...."

    She continued, "I thought at the time, and General Powell has said this since, that ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' was a way station. The senior military officers knew that they had gay service members around them, but the enlisted personnel and the mid-level personnel thought that there weren't any gays in the military. That was because, of course, you were discharged if you revealed that you were gay. That made the views about gay people highly distorted. It seemed inevitable to me that society would become more welcoming to gays."

    Regarding her work with former Attorney General Jane Reno, Gorelick described Reno as having an "enormous appetite and capacity for learning. She made decisions by really burrowing into issues. That meant that her decisions had great intellectual integrity because she really paid attention; she was her own quality control."

    The entire interview is available here.