Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Worst Attorney General ever?

I know, you're wondering why the question mark is even there...

Paul Krugman must have had a terrific vacation and come back tanned and rested. His column today in the NYTimes is one of his best - I don't say this very often, but you really should read it. In discussing the apparently non-newsworthy find in April of a cache automatic weapons, pipe bombs and chemical weapons in Texas and the subsequent arrest of a right-winger in connection with it, Krugman rightly asks:
More important, is Mr. Ashcroft neglecting real threats to the public because of his ideological biases?
In comparing this to the Jose Padilla case, that would certainly be the conclusion I'd draw. And further:
Even in the fight against foreign terrorists, Mr. Ashcroft's political leanings have distorted policy. Mr. Ashcroft is very close to the gun lobby — and these ties evidently trump public protection. After 9/11, he ordered that all government lists — including voter registration, immigration and driver's license lists — be checked for links to terrorists. All government lists, that is, except one: he specifically prohibited the F.B.I. from examining background checks on gun purchasers.

Mr. Ashcroft told Congress that the law prohibits the use of those background checks for other purposes — but he didn't tell Congress that his own staff had concluded that no such prohibition exists. Mr. Ashcroft issued a directive, later put into law, requiring that records of background checks on gun buyers be destroyed after only one business day.
At least he's going to protect us from naked statues and pr0n...

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