John Ashcroft's First Year as Attorney General

The "War on Terror"

In the wake of the terrorist attacks it was imperative to ensure that our laws and policies provided officials with the tools they need to protect national security and the safety of Americans.

It was also essential that a serious inquiry be conducted to review the work of our nation's intelligence forces and law enforcement agencies, with the goal of learning lessons and preventing future catastrophes, rather than casting blame. Such efforts could have been valuable in determining whether there was truly a need for sweeping changes in federal investigative or police powers, rather than basing changes on the assumptions of the attorney general. Congress undertook no such inquiry.

John Ashcroft and the White House aggressively promoted an anti-terrorism bill and took a series of executive actions which threaten constitutional liberties and the constitutional system of checks and balances.

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