Ashcroft faces lawsuit

The Washington Post is reporting that an appeals court in California ruled that a man who was detained for weeks in a terrorism investigation can sue George W. Bush’s attorney general.

That attorney general is Missouri’s own John Ashcroft, who had previously served as a senator and governor.

From the Post article:

At the heart of the lawsuit is a strategy launched by the Justice Department and the FBI after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Ashcroft, the attorney general at the time, asserted that authorities would take “suspected terrorists off the street” and engage in “aggressive detention of lawbreakers and material witnesses” to disrupt possible al-Qaeda plots. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III cited al-Kidd’s detention in testimony to Congress about the bureau’s success in protecting national security.

Al-Kidd and his attorneys argued that Ashcroft knew or should have known that the material witness statute was being used in a sweeping and abusive manner. Ashcroft, who is being defended by the Justice Department, maintained that the case should be dismissed because he had no personal involvement in al-Kidd’s detention. He also argued that as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer at the time, he enjoyed broad protection from lawsuits.

Read it here. UPDATE: See the AP article here.

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