John Ashcroft: Sword and shield for civil liberties

Ok, that’s a stretch. But yesterday the NY Times reported that Ashcroft and then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey expressed discomfort with the administration’s domestic spying program. While Ashcroft recovered from gallbladder surgery, Comey, as acting AG, refused to approve certain aspects of the program, and when White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales visited Ashcroft in the hospital, our favorite crooner also expressed his own unease:

But some officials said that Mr. Ashcroft, like his deputy, appeared reluctant to give Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales his authorization to continue with aspects of the program in light of concerns among some senior government officials about whether the proper oversight was in place at the security agency and whether the president had the legal and constitutional authority to conduct such an operation.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a great editorial on the issue on Wednesday:

Security is all-important, therefore the normal requirement to obtain court approval for surveillance had to be short-circuited?

That reasoning is an affront to Americans who hold dear both their liberty and their lives.

The issue here isn’t whether it was wise to tap into the phone calls and messages of people with suspected ties to al-Qaeda. Many Americans could be persuaded that national security concerns require such surveillance.

Instead, the issue is whether the President and aides at the National Security Agency (NSA) get to be the sole arbiters of who gets bugged.

Under the Constitution, they don’t.

Protect life and liberty

Finally, national ACLU has launched an ad campaign comparing President Bush to President Nixon.

Andy in H-burg

5 thoughts on “John Ashcroft: Sword and shield for civil liberties

  1. Do you guys have a printable copy of that ad that I can print & hang on my office wall? Nixon still looks better than Bush, when one compares notes. Yikes. P

  2. Paula, you can do a few things to get a printable copy. If you’re using Internet Explorer, you can right-click on the image, which will bring up a menu that includes “print image” as an option.

    Below the picture there is also a link that says “View PDF”, which displays the picture in 8.5×11 form.


  3. That worked Andy, but the print looked poor & unreadable and printed the same way. I’ll snag one from you guys when I get down there sometime. P

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