January 04, 2002

Congressional Oversight

Questioning of Ashcroft by Edwards on Military Tribunals

The questioning of Attorney General John Ashcroft by Senator John Edwards, the Democrat from North Carolina, during the Senate Judiciary Committee's oversight hearing on December 6, 2001.

SEN. LEAHY: The senator from North Carolina.

SEN. EDWARDS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon, Mr. Attorney General.

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Good afternoon.

SEN. EDWARDS: Appreciate your patience. I know this has been a long hearing. We want very badly to make sure that you have the tools you need to protect the American people, including new laws and new measures. But while we are protecting American lives we also need to be certain that we protect American values and American principles. And it seems to me that these times of crisis and times of war are times when those principles and values are most at risk, when people get caught up in the passion of doing what's necessary under the circumstances. We have seen in the past during World War II the internment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans by a great president. And I am sure at that time that was a very popular move. But it is not something I don't think that we are very proud of today. And I am not suggesting that these military tribunals are equivalent to that, but whatever we do I want to make sure that your children and mine and our grandchildren will be proud of what we have done. And my concern about the whole issue of military tribunals is not the notion of using them. I can easily see that there would be circumstances in which it would make sense to use them. My concern is that this directive, this order, is extraordinarily broad. And I want to ask you about three or four areas, if I can, to see if we can make sure that some of the things that the order would appear to allow in fact are not something that you intended or intend to do...

Posted by DeLong at January 4, 2002 04:48 PM | TrackBack

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