Let's Not Fall for Re-Inventing John Ashcroft as a Good Guy
The Washington Post re-invents former Attorney General John Ashcroft, casting him as a protector of civil liberties in comparison to Alberto Gonzales.
Who are they kidding? John Ashcroft may have had a moment on his hospital sick bed in which he balked at re-authorizing the warrantless NSA surveillance program, and he may have expressed reservations about indefinite detentions at Guantanamo, but he was just as abominable as an Attorney General, and in my opinion, more so than Alberto Gonzales.
From his push on the Patriot Act, to his initiating warrantless monitoring of attorney-client conversations, to his many failed terrorism cases, his connection to Abu Ghraib, his insistence on prosecuting medical marijuana cases even in states that had legalized it, his attempt to keep tabs on federal judges, his belief that the undocumented could be held indefinitely and most spectacularly, his crusade to increase the use of the death penalty in federal cases, over the objections of his own prosectors and a federal judge, he should not be re-evaluated for his one moment of lucidity.
He was the worst Attorney General ever.
A blast from the past: The criticisms of Senators at his confirmation hearings.
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