Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | June 12, 2002

Ashcroft as the Fall Guy

It's been subtle, but it seems as though Ashcroft is slowly being set up to take the blame for 9-11. In a series of strategic leaks, rumors, innuendo, and information gleaned from the 9-11 hearings on Capitol Hill, it seems Ashcroft's position at the head of Justice is increasingly tenous. As of now, we know that the pre-9-11 Ashcroft:

  • did not fly commercial airliners starting July 2001 because of credible threats of terrorist hijackings;
  • killed an FBI request for an additional $58 million in anti-terrorist funds;
  • submitted budget increases for 68 programs, none related to terrorism;
  • ignored FBI Director Freeh's efforts to focus more on terrorism, preferring to focus on his pet obsessions: drugs, porn, guns, and naked statues;
  • turned down a request to assign hundreds of agents to the counter-terrorism beat;
  • sent a memorandum to his department heads listing his top seven priorities. The list didn't include terrorism;
  • has seen his FBI admit to ignoring warning signs that might've prevented the 9-11 attacks;

The voices against Ashcroft are steadily rising, not from the predictable left, but also on the right and from within the administration itself. Conservative columnists (and former Nixon speechwriter) William Safire recently wrote, "To fabricate an alibi for his nonfeasance, and to cover up his department's embarrassing cut of the counterterrorism budget last year, Attorney General John Ashcroft ... has gutted guidelines put in place a generation ago to prevent the abuse of police power by the federal government." Nonfeasance? Ouch.

And now, the administration is openly expressing its disapproval of Ashcroft's triumphant announcement of Padilla's arrest. There's no doubt in my mind that the Padilla announcement was coordinated by Karl Rove in his attempt to keep the American public scared and divert attention from the 9-11 and Enron hearings and other political ills afflicting the administration. However, now that the Padilla arrest has been exposed for the sham that it is, someone has to take the blame.

And isn't it funny that it's Ashcroft taking the hit? It seems clear that the Bush Administration will have to offer a sacrificial lamb to cleanse Dubya of any taint of responsibility for 9-11. And, that sacrificial lamb has to be someone with heft. Mueller just won't cut it. Ashcroft, on the other hand, fits the bill perfectly.

Posted June 12, 2002 10:54 AM | Comments (1)


Bush Administration
Business and Economy
Foreign Policy

© 2002. Steal all you want.
(For non-commercial use, that is.)