October 3, 2006, - 8:41 am

Never Again?: New John Ashcroft Book is Exercise in Hypocrisy

By Debbie Schlussel
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft has a new book out, today, “Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice.” He began his media tour last night, on FOX News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor,” claiming he did so much to protect America from terrorists.
But the only thing I can never forget (and hope is “never again”) is how much John Ashcroft did to make us less safe from terrorists by crippling the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Secret Service investigations into terrorist money-laundering. And how he made us less safe by urging his Justice Department to do whatever it took to overturn convictions against the Detroit terror cell and indict the brave prosecutor, Richard Convertino, who obtained the convictions. And he established preferences in the Justice Department for those who fit the profile of the 9/11 hijackers to get a special set of justice before the rest of us.

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Skip this Hypocritical Ashcroft Book

He talks a great game about how tough he was. But it’s just that–talk. If anyone did more to make America less secure and destroy justice, it was John Ashcroft.
That’s why the thought of Ashcroft writing such a book is a joke. And why we recommend skipping the blowhard pages of this phony. We look forward to the day the book goes to the bargain bin.
Here’s what Ashcroft did do:
* Ended most terrorism money-laundering investigations, allowing terrorists to easily fund attacks here and abroad.
Ashcroft took all terrorism investigations away from the Department of Homeland Security, rendering it an extremely neutered entity, and shutting down successful investigations into terrorism money laundering.
On May 13, 2003, after months of pressuring then-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, Ashcroft obtained Ridge’s signature on a “Memorandum of Agreement Between The Department of Justice and The Department of Homeland Security Concerning Terrorist Financing Investigations. The Agreement took all of those investigations away from the U.S. Customs Service Office of Investigations (then morphing into ICE-Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the U.S. Secret Service and gave them to the most incompetent bloated federal law enforcement agency, the FBI. That, despite the fact that the FBI consistently has the lowest conviction rate among federal law enforcement agencies, and an abysmal record in capturing and convicting terrorists.
I’ve been a frequent critic of ICE Director of Investigations Marcy Forman-Friedman. But, before ICE, she headed Operation Greenquest, the Customs operation which successfully investigated and stopped a lot of the terrorist money-laundering trail. Not cowed by political correctness, Forman’s Greenquest was not only very successful, her agents investigated and raided–without apology to Islamists–several prominent Muslim charities. She has a lot to be proud of in her leadership of Greenquest.
Fed up FBI agents whom I know cheered when Customs Agents raided and shut down charities the FBI agents were investigating but were not allowed to pursue because of the pervasive do-nothing, political correctness attitudes that dominate their agency. Several agents told me they were happy Customs Agents did what they were not allowed to do at the FBI.
Forman-Friedman fought to keep the Greenquest program, but lost out to the power that Ashcroft exercised at the Bush White House. He took the program away and shut it down. Then-Secret Service chief W. Ralph Basham (now head of Customs and Border Protection) was equally miffed. On May 20, 2003, he wrote a classified memo to Tom Ridge protesting the agreement:

I am convinced that this Agreement unnecessarily and inexplicably alters the Secret Service’s historic criminal investigative mission. The Agreement is contradictory to the Secret Service’s explicit statutory mandate to prevent and investigate financial crimes and provides an unworkable framework for current and future financial crime investigations. . . . The Agreement also presents a multitude of practical problems that would severely jeopardize thousands of ongoing investigations and could compromise the federal government’s ability to effectively prevent future attacks against our financial and critical infrastructures.

Islamic terrorists and money-launderers engage in significant amounts of document, credit-card, bank, and other fraud, historically under the jurisdiction of the Secret Service. But since Ashcroft’s agreement, all of those such investigations involving terrorists were taken away from the Service. The FBI has done little in this area in the three years since.
Why did Ashcroft take the terror-funding investigative mandate away from agencies who did a great job in pursuing it? Perhaps the fact that Customs and Secret Service Agents showed up his FBI as emasculated in the War on Terror had something to do with it. To date, each agency, alone, confiscated more money related to terrorism than the FBI ever has.
Since then, the FBI has done scant little to stop terrorist money-laundering that Customs historically pounced upon, and in fact, evidence points to the fact that terrorist money-laundering to fund attacks has expanded, unchecked by withering FBI agents. ICE Agents are forbidden in many cases from pursuing money-laundering cases, because superiors tell them that terror-related cases will be scooped up from them by the FBI where they will languish forever.

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Marcy Forman & Ralph Basham:

Top Federal Agents Protested Ashcroft’s Destruction of Terror Investigations

* Let Islamic terrorists go free, persecuted the man who successfully convicted them, and lost most important terror cases.
In 2003, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino obtained successful convictions of several Islamic terrorists. They apparently planned to blow up several American sites, including in Las Vegas, and the U.S. air base in Incirlik, Turkey, from which U.S. and Israeli F-16s and AWACS planes take off.
Ashcroft’s top terrorism officials, including Barry Sabin, got in Convertino’s way, every step of the way. They really didn’t want the terrorists prosecuted or for them to be convicted. Their actions indicate that, including Ashcroft’s personal violation of a court-ordered gag on the case. They gave Convertino no help and breathed down his neck.
When he convicted the terrorists, despite their obstacles, Ashcroft and company couldn’t handle it. Then-U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins was jealous, as were other Justice Department officials. So, they began a witch hunt, looking for information to overturn the case. They managed to find it and assaulted Convertino in the press, sabotaging the verdicts. Then, the USDOJ, in unprecedented moves, asked the judge to overturn the verdicts and indicted Convertino in the flimsiest of cases.
Ashcroft’s Justice Department also lost most other important terrorism cases on his watch, and those that had been developed on his watch, including the Sami Al-Arian case, the Sami Omar Al-Hussayen case, etc., etc., etc. Again, he had incompetent individuals, like Barry Sabin, running his counterterrorism operations.
* Instituted a Justice Department program that gives Muslims and Arabs more rights than all other Americans.
John Ashcroft is one of the people most instrumental in empowering extremist Muslims in America after 9/11. He did this by implementing “Initiative to Combat Post-9/11 Discriminatory Backlash,” a Justice “civil rights” program under which the most benign statements about Muslims in e-mails and online were prosecuted as hate-crimes. Since Ashcroft implemented this program, the Justice Department is clear that overzealously prosecuting free speech against Muslims is more important than going after terrorists, and the record bears that out. There are far more indictments and convictions under this absurd program than there are of terrorists.
From the Justice Department website:

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, members of these groups, and those perceived to be members of these groups, have been the victims of increased numbers of bias-related assaults, threats, vandalism and arson. Reducing the incidence of such attacks, and ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice, is a Civil Rights Division priority. The Division also has placed a priority on cases involving discrimination against Arab, Sikh, Muslim, and South-Asian Americans in employment, housing, education, access to public accommodations and facilities, and other areas within the Civil Rights Division’s jurisdiction.

The FBI has since harassed Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs over comments left on his blog. Ashcroft’s Justice Dept. arrested and indicted Michael Bratisax, a quadriplegic veteran in a wheelchair. His crime: He sent e-mails against Islam to extremist Imam Hassan Qazwini after Nicholas Berg was beheaded. Qazwini didn’t see the e-mails as threats, because he responded to them and engaged Bratisax in a discussion. Still, Ashcroft’s Justice Department sought jailtime for the wheelchair-bound man. Yes, because of Ashcroft, free speech for non-Muslims is dead in America.
But put the shoe on the other foot, and . . . nothing. I know. I got serious death threats from Muslims beginning in 2003. I reported them to the FBI and Justice Department. And I still haven’t seen a thing done to any of them. So what was that about Congress not establishing or preferring a national religion? Seems that part of the Constitution is dead, too. Thanks to John Ashcroft.
Most of this continues under Attorney General Gonzalez. But this is John Ashcroft’s unsung legacy. This is what we should “Never Again” about John Ashcroft. Don’t buy his phony book.

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17 Responses

Great piece, Debbie.
No doubt he’ll be all over talk radio, especially; Sean “It’s All About ME” Hannity.
Although Ashtray and Speedy Gonzalez are at fault with their PC prosecution of this war, the blame lies at the top. It seems as if Iraq is the only thing that matters.

Thee_Bruno on October 3, 2006 at 10:54 am

These are some serious charges however most of the evidence Debbie is presnting are not concrete rather weak and unconvincing. Her analysis that Ashcroft is trying to silence non-muslims do not make sense, considering he is a devoted christian and above all what is Ashcrofts gain by doing so?
Debbie is rationalizing is very weak here and I am sorry I do not buy it

thirdgoat on October 3, 2006 at 11:56 am

DEBBIE THE TITLE OF THE BOOK IS WRONG

thirdgoat on October 3, 2006 at 12:05 pm

Debbie, thank you, thank you, thank you! Political Correctness permeates the leadership of the Bush administration, and this preferential treatment for anyone and anything Muslim is oh so dangerous to America. And by the way thirdgoat, do you think maybe you can pony up some proof that Debbie is wrong? I think not.

Rocky on October 3, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Here comes “Turd goat” once again, weighing in with more of his fecal-infested monologue dredged from the depths of the “Cesspool of Cynics”. To begin with, unless you work or have worked in the agencies decimated by his myopic reign, upon what do you draw your insight? John “Asswipe” did more than his fair share in dismantling and denegrating the agencies charged with investigating and prosecuting these “charities” and their thugs who finance terrorist action both here and abroad. His interference with a successful prosecution, which he so ardently attempted to undermine, his success in overturning sound verdicts against the perpetrators, and his eventual crucifixion of the AUSA show his true colors. Of course, this is only one example of the blatant arrogance of this bloated waste of DNA. The mission we were supposed to undertake still remains undone, clouded in uncertainty and PC.
As for your view of why “Asswipe” would want to silence non-muslims not making sense with him being Christian, that has nothing to do with it. When one has the morals of a bastard alleycat, religion has no place. This has the markings of politically motivated malfeasance.
The facts are there; do your research.

Gunny on October 3, 2006 at 12:29 pm

Who will protect us from the morons who permeate our government? We need wartime leadership. Instead we have a “business-as-usual” attitude from too many of our mis-leaders.

FreethinkerNY on October 3, 2006 at 12:37 pm

Addendum to my previous comment, World Net Daily reports today that there is mandatory ìsensitivityî training for U.S. troops in Iraq and U.S. soldiers are being taught this month to ìunderstandî Ramadan and Islamic culture. Seems to me that our soldiers are witnessing first hand how peaceful Islamic culture really is.

Rocky on October 3, 2006 at 12:38 pm

NO YOU ARE WRONG THIRDGOAT..”These are some serious charges however most of the evidence Debbie is presnting are not concrete rather weak and unconvincing” QUOTE.
I have been activily involved in a terrorist funding operation in South West Florida since Feb. of 2003. The operation started out under ICE/Greenquest but was taken away by the FBI in early 2004, due to possible links to Terroism and FBI rules in Terrorism related cases.
The terrorist funding operation in South West Florida centers around vehicles sent to Middlle East Ports and and then into Iraq, by Muslim used car dealers. The vehicles are shipped legally and illegally (stolen) to finance terroist attacks and in some cases used as car bombs in Iraq (GMC Suburban is a favorite).
I know this for a fact, I also know for a fact that since the FBI took over the case, it has dragged, no arrests, no indictments and as you can see in the newspapers the car bombings in Iraq have skyrocted (where does the money come from ?)
The Washington Post quoted the other day, per the Brookings Institute, that there have been 343 car bomb attacks in Iraq since the fall of Saddam in April 2003, WRONG !
On Sunday 10/01/06, Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffak Al-Rubaie is QUOTED, Abu al-Masri has been involved in making more than 2,000 car bombs that have killed more than 6,000 Iraqis over the past two years (2 years not 3 1/2 years). Al-Qaeda in Iraq uses American made vehicles to get closer to US Military check points, the flow of stolen vehilces to Iraq is tremendous, and the FBI is not stopping the flow !
Debbie is oh so correct in her story today, sadly I know all too well.

bill warner on October 3, 2006 at 2:02 pm

TurdGoat tries to pass off his pro-Islamist opinions as facts. He has no facts whatsoever, and the few times he tried to pass something off as facts turned out to be lies.
The Turd doesn’t fall far from the Goat.

Thee_Bruno on October 3, 2006 at 2:17 pm

There turdgoat, you are wrong again. But maybe it is time for a change in Washington. I don’t know, yet at this point I am so disgusted with all of them you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.
We got child molestors writing laws to prevent what they themselves are trying to do to the capitol pages, we got a President who says he wants to protect America, yet he wants an open border to the south where 12 Million Illegals have flooded the southwest, and the American People are expected to pay for their keep.
We have a Senate where a majority voted to grant a mass amnesty to these illegals, totally flaunting the law. Now they are talking about a 700 mile fence, well the border is almost 2000 miles long.
George Wallace was right there’s not a dimes worth of difference between a Democrat and a Republican… And so was Nikita Khruschev , he said at the UN, ‘we will bury you, without firing a shot’… He was right too, it is being done by our own leaders. And Ashcroft is only the tip of the iceberg, only a part of the problem,…We had better Wake up.

mark on October 3, 2006 at 2:23 pm

GUYS most of these evidence are he said she said. It is impossible down right improbabale that Ashcroft is a muslim hugger. He had a job to do and he did the best he could. These are Debiie’s accusation and the merit of the arguments are weak. She has no hard evidence rather some tidbits from here and there. We certainly can not take them as fact.
no personal attack please

thirdgoat on October 3, 2006 at 2:37 pm

Third, did you bother reading the post before ‘popping’ off with YOUR accuasations ? That there is no supporting evidence ? What Debbie has written above is not news this has been out for quite awhile. The country is better off with Asschroft out of Washington and gone.

mark on October 3, 2006 at 4:34 pm

I had not heard about Michael Bratisax until I just read this post. I googled him and came up with the DOJ’s press release showing that he was actually convicted in March of 2006. It doesn’t say if he plea bargained and pled guilty. The sentence is quite Orwellian, especially the requirement that he create a web site about diversity and anger management:
Completion of a diversity class;
No consumption of alcoholic beverages;
No use of Electronic mail (E-mail) to communicate with strangers or unknown persons
Must create a web site devoted to diversity and anger management, and
Must submit to random drug and alcohol usage testing.
This is truly sickening and frightening.
P.S. I would put the link to the press release, except I don’ know how to hyperlink and I’m afraid that the full url would mess up Debbie’s page.

Sue Bob on October 3, 2006 at 7:27 pm

The fact that John Ashcroft screwed the legacy Customs Service (and its sucessor agency in ICE) and the Secret Service out of terrorism investigations is well established, but it is just the tip of the ICE-berg as to what deviltry and chiccanery Ashcroft perpetrated during his time at DOJ.
First, he agreed, upon their demand, that the FBI be given TOTAL and SOLE authority over ALL aspects of terrorism investigations. That meant that, if ICE was investigating a matter in any discipline of which it previously enjoyed sole or lead jurisdiction and it so happened that the case had SOME nexus to terrorism, ICE had to defer to the FBI’s jurisdiction, unless they didn’t want to deal with it. Interpretation? The FBI took the cream, while ICE got the shaft – not bad for an agency (i.e. the FBI) that TOTALLY screwed up 9/11 and, instead of getting punished for it, got rewarded with more authority and more money. And, what did ICE get for it’s years of fine work and expertise? Relegation to cleaning up the immigration related crap on JTTF squads around the country when they can’t bring a criminal case – something that legacy Customs was quite capable of doing.
Second, while we’re on the subject, did you know that the FBI was granted Title 8 (INA) authority by Ashcroft in re terrorism investigations. But, do you want to know something? Whenever FBI agents identified an illegal that they couldn’t get any other way, do you think they did (or do) the dirty immigration work themselves? HELL NO !!! They call ICE agents in. Why? Because thay don’t want to deal with the administrative bullcrap of processing them in the cumbersome and stupid ENFORCE booking system and then having to take their happy asses to the nearest immigration jail. But, you bet your sweet little behind that, if it was UBL or Adnan El Shukrijumah, the FBI would gladly push ICE aside and assume the prime spot on the podium front and center.
Finally, even regarding legacy Customs’/ICE’s role in its strong suit, drugs, Ashcroft bent ass over backwards to Karen Tandy and Michele Leonhart, the #’s 1 and 2 at DEA, respectively, and did everything he could to strip ICE of its traditional authorities regarding drug interdiction/investigations re. those cases originating at the border. Now, ICE has to beg, plead and cry before it can do anything regarding those types of cases, and now, its often worth not doing anything at all, given the aggravation ICE agents have to deal with when dealing with the DEA bureaucracy.
Of course, it didn’t help, in the early days of ICE, that we had weak leadership (Read: Ashcroft, Ridge, Loy, Hutchinson, Fragos-Townsend, Garcia, Doherty, blah, blah, blah) who were all too willing to sell ICE down the river while shoring up their political honeys like the Coast Guard, the FBI and DEA, etc. It also doesn’t help that we STILL, FIVE YEARS AFTER 9/11, and THREE YEARS since DHS’ creation, that ICE is still has weak leadership (READ: Chertoff, Myers and all the DHS turnover honeys too numerous to mention who cut and ran when the crap got too hot), and that ICE is STILL an UNMITIGATED disaster in terms of MONEY, STAFFING and MISSION.
In conclusion, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t tell me that the FBI “cheered” when legacy Customs/ICE did what they could not. True, maybe some rank and file agents (who I believe are very good hearted and COMPETENT people) were happy, BUT THE HEIRARCHY CERTAINLY WAS NOT, and to suggest otherwise that the FBI treats ICE (or any other DHS component for that matter) as an equal partner in terror investigations is disingenous and just plain false.
The bleeding continues at ICE, Ms. Schlussel: Nothing short of a congressional inquiry and the disbanding of ICE and the re-establishment of a Customs investigative branch and an EQUALLY WELL-FUNDED and WELL-STAFFED Immigration investigative branch will best serve our national interests in terms of anti- and counterterrorism investigations, as well as protecting the revenue and preventing the incursion of BOTH illegal GOODS and ALIENS across our borders.
OBVIOUSLY, I DID NOT MEAN THAT THE FBI BRASS CHEERED, BUT RATHER, A FEW RANK AND FILE AGENTS I KNOW WHO ARE GOOD GUYS AND ARE FED UP AND FRUSTRATED BY THEIR “LEADERSHIP.”
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

4EVERCUSTOMS on October 3, 2006 at 7:46 pm

I knew Ashcroft’s tenure would be a disaster–a farce of Political Correctness, compromise, timidity, cowardice, and holier-than-thou posturing. He sold out in his speech on the day he took office, fawning over Janet Reno and praising her record, with no mention of Waco or Ruby Ridge, and the blood on her hands from all the innocent people killed there by her storm trooper tactics. Nor did he mention the fact that Reno and her deputy, Jamie Gorelick, raised the wall between the FBI intelligence and criminal divsions, which kept information about the 9/11 flight trainees discovered by FBI agents from getting to the proper people who would have arrested them–thus failing to stop the 9/11 attack. Nor did he mention that, during the Clinton tenure, Gorelick had cemented the wall between FBI divisions in order to keep intelligence information suppressed which concerned Clinton and Gore’s givng and selling our missile technology to Red China in exchange for money which went to the Democratic National Committee. Ashcroft would not even expose treason in our highest offices. Nor did he intend to open up the file and the court case in the Southern District of New York implicating Bill and Hillary in connection with the financial fraud and criminal activities of the fugitive recipient of Bubba’s infamous 11th-hour pardon, and others already found to be guilty. The District Attorney had enough evidence on all of the parties, and links to the White House, to put the Clintons away and remove their threat to the nation. We should never have expected any strength from Ashcroft, though. He was that kind of a U.S. senator, and he couldn’t even win an election campaign against a dead man.

Lively Comments on October 11, 2006 at 8:06 pm

Dear debbie,
i am sorry, but i donot agree with what you have written. i respect john ashcroft and i think that his work on his book “NEVER AGAIN” was fantastic.
Thanking you,
Yours truly
Karina kuruvilla
KARINA:
CONGRATS ON BEING BLIND, DEAF, AND DUMB. YOU MUST LEARN TO SEE BEYOND THE PR OF A MAN TRYING TO PUT LIPSTICK ON THE FACE OF A PIG. AND, ABOVE ALL, WAKE UP!!!!! DO YOU SUPPORT THE WAR ON TERROR? THEN, WHY DO YOU LAUD THE MAN WHO PULLED THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER IT?
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

karina on May 19, 2007 at 6:33 pm

Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and established military commissions for civilians. He kept his effective yet sometimes embarassing generals in place (Grant, Sherman). Obama needs to read up on his hero as Commander-in-Chief and follow his lead.

For the real story on detention and medical duty at Gitmo, read “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.”

http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/SavingGraceAtGuantanamoBay.html

Montgomery Granger on July 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

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