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Michael Chertoff Approved by Committee as Head of Homeland Security

A Senate committee approved Michael Chertoff today as Homeland Security Chief. The ACLU says:

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee today approved, by voice vote, the nomination of Michael Chertoff -- the force behind the detention of hundreds of Arab, South Asian and Muslim men after 9/11 -- to serve as the secretary of Homeland Security. The full Senate is expected to vote on his nomination later this week.

"Chertoff's record does not match his rhetoric," said Christopher E. Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Saying you're committed to upholding the Bill of Rights is one thing. Actually doing it is another. His actions show that in his zealousness to provide security, fundamental freedoms too often became an obstacle to overcome rather than a guidepost to follow."

And while many details about his work remain unclear, one thing is certain: both Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had a hand in crafting the Bush Administration's torture policies, and are therefore too close to the issue to oversee any investigations. The ACLU has called for a special counsel to investigate and prosecute any criminal acts by civilians in the torture or abuse of detainees by the U.S. government, saying that doing so is the only way to fairly, and independently, get to the bottom of the issue.

In the latest report about his positions, the Associated Press this weekend reported that Chertoff "denied asylum, ordered deportation or otherwise ruled against foreigners in 14 of 18 immigration cases he handled during his short tenure as a federal appeals court judge." In one case, Chertoff denied asylum to a Bangladeshi man who claimed he was arrested after joining a non-violent political rally and beaten by police. The man provided proof the medical care he received.

"Chertoff has shown that he takes an extremely narrow view of what constitutes torture, a position that undermines the humanitarian provisions of our immigration policies," Anders said. "And his appointment marks the second promotion of a top Bush administration official with ties to the torture scandal. It's clear that Alberto Gonzales must make his first task as attorney general the appointment of a special counsel. Doing so is the only way to put this scandal behind us."

The ACLU's report on Chertoff's civil liberties record is here. A coaliton letter to the Senate asking for scrutiny of his record is here.

Does anyone think Bernie Kerik would have been a better choice?

[Note: Edited to reflect it was Senate committee, not full senate, that voted to approve Chertoff.]

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  • Re: Michael Chertoff Approved by Committee as Head (none / 0) (#1)
    by soccerdad on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 04:41:33 PM EST
    Medal of Freedom ceremony will be on Thurs

    Re: Michael Chertoff Approved by Committee as Head (none / 0) (#2)
    by ras on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 05:25:04 PM EST
    I wonder what Sandy Berger thinks of this, considering Mr. Chertoff's background ? Could get interesting. e.g.
    Chertoff was once a counsel to the Republican Whitewater committees that investigated the Clintons.
    It looks like Chertoff's job could include investigating Mr. Berger.

    Ras: You mean Sandy Burglar will actually have to face some form of justice for STEALING documents out of the National Archives!?!? Say it isn't so!! Oh the humanity of a DemocRAT crook actually having to face justice!!!

    And I may add the force that put one young white kid in prison for 20 years, do any of you remember his name? and the only one to be doing real time in our loving prison system. johnny(taliban) he did nothing against international laws or the laws of the usa but, will do the time. wait until the guys with the guns come to your door! (remember bush and 43 million to the taliban may 2001 buy the bush line and one world line and you will live in that third world hell.) long live the bill of rights and the ideals of FDR.

    So why no pointless long drawn out filibustering debate delaying the foregone conclusion? Boxer have a fund raiser to attend touting her obstinance over Condi?

    I think there is a rarified group think running the country. Variations exist with Cheney, Rummy, Dubya and others, but the underlying theme is world dominion, a belief in a new christian crusade. They are a scary bunch. I don't know enough about Chertoff to know if he fits in the cabal or is just a tool. I think this group is like Earthfirst organization - a circle with no definable points despite office appointments etc.

    Gee wg, If the situation was reversed, I think someone would be branded a racist! Condi comes into the office with the best credentials and qualifications since Eagleberger and you slander and malign her! When the CIA says something is a slam dunk, you run with it. She already has a cease fire on the table in the Mideast and Chirac kissing her backside, and you already have her written off as a failure. A bit early, methinks.

    Re: Michael Chertoff Approved by Committee as Head (none / 0) (#10)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Feb 08, 2005 at 10:05:31 AM EST
    Condi comes into the office with the best credentials and qualifications since Eagleberger and you slander and malign her! Boy you got that right. She's a corporate shill of the highest order.