04/22/2004 17:31:47 EST Senators Call on Gorelick to Testify
By LIBBY QUAID
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Eleven Republican senators called on former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick to testify before the Sept. 11 commission on which she serves.
Gorelick was a top deputy to Clinton administration Attorney General Janet Reno. Some Republicans have called on her to resign from the panel, claiming her tenure at the Justice Department amounts to a conflict of interest.

The senators did not ask her to step aside, but said she should testify under oath before the panel.

"It is our firm belief that any committee report or recommendations will be incomplete without public testimony by Ms. Gorelick about her activities while serving as Deputy Attorney General," the senators wrote in a letter sent Thursday to commission chairman Thomas Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton.

The senators noted Gorelick has made important contributions to fighting terrorism, including her advocacy of harsher sentences for terrorist activities.

Gorelick came under fire from current Attorney General John Ashcroft at last week's Sept. 11 commission public hearing.

Ashcroft released a previously classified 1995 memo written by Gorelick which had instructions to "more clearly separate" counterintelligence from criminal investigations. Ashcroft said this "wall" was a major barrier to terrorism probes.

Kean, a Republican, has rejected calls for Gorelick to step aside. He said she is one of the hardest working panel members and noted she recused herself from parts of the probe involving her tenure.

Among the senators who signed the letter are Intelligence Committee members Kit Bond of Missouri, Trent Lott of Mississippi, and Georgia's Saxby Chambliss.