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9/11 commissioner: 'I've received threats'

Gorelick says she won't step down; FBI investigating

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Justice Department
September 11 attacks
Jamie Gorelick
John Ashcroft

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Jamie Gorelick, a member of the commission investigating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, said Saturday that she received death threats this week after a number of conservatives alleged that her former work in the Justice Department may have contributed to failures leading to the attacks.

In the mid-1990s, Gorelick served as deputy attorney general of the United States.

During that time, she wrote a memorandum establishing distinctions between intelligence that could be used for law-enforcement purposes and intelligence that could be used for national security purposes.

That separation was originally required as a safeguard against abuse of citizens' rights by government investigative agencies. But passage of the Patriot Act in the wake of the attacks eliminated the requirement.

The so-called "wall" governing intelligence uses has been a key subject at hearings of the commission. It has been blamed for being a main obstacle to better sharing of information in connection with the September 11 attacks.

"I can confirm that I've received threats at my office and my home," she told CNN on Saturday. "I did get a bomb threat to my home."

She added, "I have gotten a lot of very vile e-mails. The bomb threat was by phone."

ABC News first reported the story Saturday.

The threats were "scary," she said, but added that she was "not intimidated enough to resign from the commission."

A law enforcement source told CNN that the FBI is investigating the threats.

The existence of the memo, disclosed Wednesday by Attorney General John Ashcroft in his testimony before the commission, led House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner to call for her resignation earlier this week.

"Gorelick has an inherent conflict of interest as the author of this memo and as a government official at the center of the events in questions," Sensenbrenner said in a written statement.

But Gorelick said she planned to continue her current duties.

"This is not a basis for resignation," she said, noting that Ashcroft's own deputy ratified the memorandum in August 2001.

Gorelick said she has recused herself from reviewing any actions that occurred while she was at the Justice Department.

Democratic and Republican commission members, including Chairman Tom Kean, supported her decision.

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