Three times during his tenure as Deputy Attorney General, Eric Holder was made fully aware that intelligence sharing with the Criminal Division was not taking place. As the officer in charge of day-to-day operations at the Department of Justice, his lack of due diligence ensured that the ‘Wall’ between the intelligence and criminal divisions of the FBI that Jamie Gorelick had built would remain in place for the foreseeable future. The ‘Wall’ stood as the Clinton administration and intelligence community saw the rising threat of al Qaeda, Ramzi Yousef prosecuted for making the bomb used in the 1993 attack upon the World Trade Center and “Bojinka” plot to bomb American jetliners, and our embassies in Africa attacked in 1998.
Despite being well informed in 1997 of the problem, Mr. Holder allowed the very working group he had formulated to not make a single serious recommendation; then he disbanded the group without action:
In June 1996, a memorandum was drafted for the Attorney General to issue emphasizing that contacts between intelligence and criminal agents were not prohibited. (Appendix D, Tab 28) This draft memorandum (961) was never issued, however. (McAdams 7/16/99) By September 1997, according to Daniel S. Seikaly, Director of the Executive Office for National Security (“EONS”), the Director of the FBI had complained to the Attorney General that, despite the July 1995 memorandum, OIPR was preventing the FBI from contacting the Criminal Division. (962) (Seikaly 4/4/00) According to a memorandum Seikaly wrote at the time, the Attorney General was “anxious” to see the problem resolved. (Appendix D, Tab 37) Deputy Attorney General Holder instructed Seikaly to convene a working group consisting of representatives from OIPR, the FBI, and the Criminal Division to address the issue. (Appendix D, Tab 37; Seikaly 4/4/00)) Seikaly concluded that the Attorney General’s memorandum was not being followed, indeed that both OIPR and the FBI “were ignoring the procedures out of an abundance of caution.” (Appendix D, Tab 45) One suggestion was “simply to ask the Attorney General to … reassert the validity of the Procedures,” (id) but there was some sentiment that it would be inappropriate for the Attorney General to issue a memorandum that essentially said “And we really mean it this time.” (Seikaly 4/4/00) In the end, the working group was disbanded without recommendation and no significant action was taken. [emphasis added mine] — Bellows Report, page 722, (pdf reader required)
As stated in Chapter 3 of the 9/11 Commission Report, in both 1999 and 2000, “[S]eparate reviews concluded independently that information sharing was not occurring, and that the intent of the 1995 procedures was ignored routinely,” yet again, Holder took no action.