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Former President Bush's infamous warrant-free domestic surveillance plan, instituted after 9/11 to monitor potentially suspicious communication between parties within and outside of the U.S., has deservedly gotten a bad rap -- and it's about to get worse, thanks to a congressionally mandated report released Friday.

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Discussing the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, former Attorney General John Ashcroft said he didn't think waterboarding constituted torture and that the technique produced "very valuable" reports. He was testifying on the Bush administration's interrogation rules.

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In this clip from Thursday's House Judiciary Committee hearing about prisoner interrogation methods at Guantanamo Bay, former Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith gets into a tense round of questioning with Rep. Keith Ellison about what former Attorney General John Ashcroft did or didn't tell him about interrogation vis-à-vis the Third Geneva Convention.

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Here's another outrage that has stumbled out in the twilight of George W. Bush: Under the leadership of John Ashcroft and, especially, Alberto Gonzales, the Justice Department illegally sought to hire conservative lawyers, according to a preliminary report from the department's own inspector general.

Robert Scheer

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Are we Americans truly savages or merely tone-deaf in matters of morality, and therefore more guilty of terminal indifference than venality? It's a question demanding an answer in response to the publication of a 370-page report on U.S. complicity in torture.

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Bush administration officials Vice President Dick Cheney, current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell, and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft were among those who deliberated over, and eventually approved, the use of "harsh interrogation techniques" (which some would call torture) at meetings following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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Some 150 students donned hoods and turned their backs in silent protest of former Attorney General John Ashcroft at Cornell University on Thursday. Cornell law student and protest co-planner Michael Siegel told Truthdig the demonstrators were meant to represent "the detainees who were arrested and imprisoned without due process under Ashcroft's leadership."

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While speaking at the University of Colorado on Tuesday night, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft reaffirmed his belief in the Patriot Act and, when asked by an audience member if he'd submit to the controversial "interrogation" tactic of waterboarding, Ashcroft said he would.

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