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Tag: John Ashcroft

No Surprise: Tom Ridge Says He Was Pressured to Raise Terror Alert Before 2004 Election

Just as we suspected. There was something fishy about the code orange alerts. Sure it’s hard to believe politics could play into this all in a town like Washington where we know everything is above board and transparent.

Tom Ridge/gov photo

Tom Ridge/gov photo

By DEB RIECHMANN and EILEEN SULLIVAN
WASHINGTON — Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claims in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet to raise the nation’s terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election.

Ridge says he objected to raising the security level despite the urgings of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, according to a publicity release from Ridge’s publisher. He said the episode convinced him to follow through with his plans to leave the administration; he resigned on Nov. 30, 2004.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Robert Mueller and John Ashcroft Considered Resigning Over Warrantless Wiretaps

The story behind the warrantless wiretaps is not one the prouder moments for the Bush administration, which sometimes saw the laws as more of an inconvenience than anything else.

John Ashcroft/doj photo

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Noel Brinkerhoff
AllGov

President George W. Bush’s insistence on continuing the warrantless wiretapping program in 2004 almost forced the resignations of some of top law enforcement officials in the administration, according to federal inspectors of the government’s top intelligence agencies.

The report by the inspectors general of the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Agency and other offices reveals that multiple officials in the Department of Justice, including Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller, were seriously considering stepping down because Bush was adamant about maintaining the domestic spying program without approval from the Justice Department.

To Read More

Fed Judge Orders Boston Prosecutors to Explain Release of Pictures Involving 2 Politicians

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson

Will this case change the way prosecutors expose defendants to the media and the public? It will be interesting to see if this thing goes any where. The issue: Transparency vs. the Right to a Fair Trial or: The use of  the media to hype a case.

By Glen Johnson
Associated Press
BOSTON –– A federal judge yesterday ordered prosecutors to produce affidavits explaining why photographs were released and publicity generated following the arrests of two Boston politicians on corruption charges last year.

The lead prosecutor in the case said he would have to determine whether he could comply.

Judge Douglas Woodlock told a pretrial hearing audience he wants to evaluate whether prosecutors tried to “gin things up” among the public after the arrests of former state senator Dianne Wilkerson and City Councilor Chuck Turner.

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House Panel Spars With Ex-N.J. U.S. Atty. Chris Christie Who Awarded Lucrative Contract to ex-Boss Ashcroft

The lucrative contract Christie approved has raised plenty eyebrows and some voices on Capitol Hill. No matter who’s right, one thing is for certain: Christie doesn’t need this type of publicity while he runs for New Jersey governor. And  oh yes, Democrats would prefer this doesn’t go away.

Christopher Christie

Christopher Christie

By KIMBERLY HEFLING
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A former U.S. attorney and New Jersey’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Thursday defended an arrangement in which one-time Attorney General John Ashcroft’s consulting firm made millions of dollars monitoring a controversial deferred prosecution agreement.

In a sometimes tense exchange with congressional Democrats, Chris Christie told the House Judiciary Committee that the choice of Ashcroft was acceptable to the company, Zimmer Holdings Inc. But the testimony from Christie, who once worked for Ashcroft, was at odds with e-mails that surfaced before the hearing that showed the company was unhappy with the fees it had to pay Ashcroft’s firms.

In one e-mail, Christie said he was “disappointed” by the firm’s complaints about the fees to Ashcroft’s firm and said “we can’t afford to be distracted.”

Ashcroft’s consulting firm stood to make $28 million to $52 million or more for 18 months of work monitoring a hip and knee replacement manufacturer accused of giving kickbacks to doctors.

For Full Story

Christie testifies about the selection of Ashcroft

Ex-Atty. Gen. Ashcroft Loading Up Law Firm With Ex-U.S. Attorneys

John Ashcroft is doing the smart thing, loading up his law firm with brand name attorneys. It can’t hurt.

By Amir Efrati
Wall Street Journal Law Blog
John Ashcroft, the U.S. attorney general during President Bush’s first term – and noted singer of “Let the Eagle Soar” (YouTube clip below) – is spreading his wings. Today Ashcroft  announced that his law and consulting firm, The Ashcroft Group, is opening four new offices across the country, each to be led by Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys leaving office to make way for appointees by President Obama.
They are:

Michael Sullivan *Michael Sullivan, U.S. attorney in Boston and former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Washington. Click here for a recent LB post on Sullivan.

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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Missouri U.S. Atty. Catherine Hanaway to Step Down and Join Law Firm With Ex-A.G. John Ashcroft

U.S. Atty. Catherine Hanaway

U.S. Atty. Catherine Hanaway

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The exodus of U.S. Attorneys continues.

The Associated Press is reporting that U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway of the Eastern District of Missouri will resign to join a law firm with former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Her last day is Sunday.

The wire service reported that the Kansas City law firm will be called Ashcroft Hanaway. AP reported that Hanaway will work in St. Louis and Ashcroft will be based in Washington.

Should FBI Dir. Mueller and Ex-A.G. John Ashcroft Take Responsibility for Some Questionable Anti-Terrorism Policies?

Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

Have the U.S. anti-terrorism policies gone over the line? If so, who is responsible? The Supreme Court may bring some clarity to the issue.

John Ashcroft/doj photo

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Warren Richey
The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court this week takes up a case examining whether cabinet-level officials in the Bush White House can be held legally accountable for the administration’s controversial tactics in the war on terror.
At issue is an attempt to force former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller to stand trial with federal agents, prison guards, and their supervisors. They are all named in a lawsuit filed by a Pakistani man who was held as a terror suspect for five months in solitary confinement in a US prison although there was no evidence connecting him to terrorism.
The case is set for oral argument on Wednesday.
Javaid Iqbal was among hundreds of Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims who were swept up in a massive government dragnet in the New York City area in the weeks and months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of the men were arrested on valid immigration-related charges. But instead of being housed in an immigration detention center to await deportation, some of the men – including Mr. Iqbal – were taken to a maximum security section of a federal prison in Brooklyn.
Iqbal’s lawsuit alleges that he was subjected to “brutal mistreatment and discrimination” by federal officials who arbitrarily classified him as a Sept. 11 suspect “of high interest” to the FBI solely because he was a Muslim from Pakistan.
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