Ashcroft Resorts to the Politics of Intimidation to Silence Critics

During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General John Ashcroft said that those who have raised concerns about the impact of his recent actions on Americans’ civil liberties are aiding terrorists and giving ammunition to America’s enemies. People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas called Ashcroft’s remarks "shocking and unconscionable."

"Attorney General Ashcroft’s attempts to smear and silence his critics demeans his office," said Neas. "Smothering dissent is not the American Way. People from across the political spectrum have raised questions about Ashcroft’s efforts to amend our Constitution and laws by executive fiat, and their long-term impact on our freedom. We will not be silenced by Ashcroft’s politics of intimidation."

From John Ashcroft’s testimony:

To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil. Our efforts have been crafted carefully to avoid infringing on constitutional rights while saving American lives.

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