This post has been corrected.
Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick has been retained by British oil giant BP PLC to prepare the company to respond to congressional inquiries related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Greenwire reported Wednesday.
“We have been retained to help the company respond to the numerous congressional inquiries that are underway,” Gorelick, now of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, said in an e-mail to Greenwire. “We have not been retained to advocate for any position.”
Apart from the congressional inquiries, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday that the Justice Department had opened a criminal probe into who was responsible for the oil spill, but declined to name the target. Investigators are considering both civil actions and criminal charges, Holder said.
Gorelick served as Deputy Attorney General under then-Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton administration. Gorelick also sat on the bipartisan Sept. 11 Commission.
BP has worked with Gorelick before; she was a lobbyist in 2007 when she helped BP respond to an inquiry from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to Greenwire.
Kenneth Green, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told Greenwire that Gorelick’s knowledge of the Justice Department will help BP steer “the ins and outs of the process. You want an inside player for that.”
The company that owned and leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, Transocean Ltd., has recruited Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, while Halliburton Co. — which worked on the rig — has hired Patton Boggs LLP, Greenwire reported.
Another DOJ veteran, former Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, is coordinating BP’s response to Justice Department inquiry and civil response alongside Kirkland & Ellis partners Richard Godfrey, Andrew Langan, John Hickey Jr. the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reported. Thomas Milch of Arnold & Porter LLP is coordinating BP’s interactions with environmental regulators.
Gorelick is well known at the Justice Department where she preceded Eric Holder who took over from her as deputy attorney general in 1997. Since then Gorelick has become known as one of Washington’s best connected lawyers and lobbyists, with close ties to Democratic administrations.
During Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, Gorelick was part of an informal group of lawyers, including Gregory Craig, the former White House Counsel and Walter Dellinger, a former acting Solicitor General in the Clinton years, who met occasionally to discuss possible legal strategies if Obama was elected.
Gorelick was thought in legal circles to be angling for the Attorney General’s job if Obama won, but legal insiders regarded the possibility of such an appointment remote. That was because of her association with Federal National Mortgage Association, the government-backed financial institution, commonly known as Fannie Mae, that was established to pump money into the home lending market and plummeted to near ruin when the subprime mortgage market collapsed.
Although she had no prior banking or financial experience, Gorelick was named Fannie Mae’s vice chairman from 1998 to 2003. In 2002 she told an inteviewer that Fannie Mae was safely managed, but regulators said a year later that the institution was undermined by serious accounting irregularities and had unrecorded losses of $9 billion.
The financial manipulations had created a false picture of prosperity and stability that led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses for Gorelick and other top executives. A government oversight report in 2006 found that between 1998 and 2002 she had been paid more than $25 million.
An earlier version of this story said that Gorelick would lead the legal team responding to the Justice Department investigation. Gorelick will deal with the congressional inquiries into the BP spill, while other lawyers, now noted above, will deal with civil challenges and the Justice Department probe.
Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick said that President Barack Obama should speak in front of members of the militia movement to calm down rhetoric in the midst of a resurgent anti-government movement.
Gorelick was speaking Friday as part of a panel discussion marking the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on Monday. On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people. McVeigh, an anti-government extremist who was hoping to spark a revolt against the federal government, was convicted, sentenced to the death penalty and executed on June 11, 2001.
“It is harder to demonize someone who is real and right in front of you,” said Gorelick, now of WilmerHale. “Although it was a long time ago, our experience dealing with militia groups in the aftermath of Oklahoma City was pretty powerful.”
According to Gorelick, after the bombing, the Justice Department asked the FBI to approach militia movements across the country and tell them they could speak out and hold exercises in the woods but that they couldn’t threaten violence against the government. President Bill Clinton also went to Michigan State and spoke to students and members of the militia movement and thanked those who had opposed the bombing.
Gorelick recommended that Obama try a similar approach.
“I see these things as waves, and I believe we’re having another wave right now, it feels that way to me, and I’m hoping there’s something short of a catharsis — which in the case of Oklahoma City and the abortion clinic bombings and others has been death — that will stop that pendulum swing,” said Gorelick.
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Former officials, including a former deputy attorney general, gathered yesterday to imagine what would happen during a cyberattack — an assault on a computer network.
Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, played the role of Attorney General.
The war game involved a working group of high-ranking former White House, cabinet and national security officials who were role-playing advisers to the president on how to handle the situation. The program was hosted by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which live-tweeted the event.
From The Washington Post:
Former senior officials from Republican and Democratic administrations participated in the war game, as did one former senator. Jamie S. Gorelick, a deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton, pressed the issue of individual privacy. In a crisis, she said, “Americans need to know that they should not expect to have their cell phone and other communications to be private — not if the government is going to have to take aggressive action to tamp down the threat.”
She recommended that the Obama administration seek legislation for comprehensive authority to deal with a cyber emergency.
Click here to see photos that the Bipartisan Policy Center posted on Facebook.
CNN will be showing the full Cyber ShockWave event this Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.