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Entries in John Ashcroft (2)

Saturday
Sep102011

Ted Olson on 9/11: ‘Far More Than a Day That Will Live in Infamy’

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Current and former Justice Department officials gathered Friday for an emotional 9/11 ceremony to remember the victims of the attacks and reflect on the days since then.

The ceremony was gripped by a stirring and emotional speech by former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson, whose wife, Barbara Olson, died on 9/11 aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon.

On the day of the attacks, Barbara Olson had called her husband from the plane relaying information about the hijacking to her husband, who was working at Justice Department headquarters.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft joined Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole in the ceremony that was also attended by 9/11 family members that included Carrie Lemack whose mother, Judy Larocque, died on American Airlines Flight 11, and Abraham Scott, who lost wife Janice Marie Holmes, who worked at the Pentagon.

On display at the ceremony was a mosaic of thumbnail pictures of most of the 9/11 victims. The pictures were used as a trial exhibit during the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui for his role in the 9/11 plot. The posters were created by an FBI artist for the trial and captured the vast numbers of innocent people who died.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar022011

Can Former Attorney General John Ashcroft Be Sued for 9/11 Policies?

Photo Courtesy - Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Abdullah Al-Kidd, a U.S. citizen and former football star at the University of Idaho, was arrested by the FBI nearly eight years ago and held for 15 days because of his connections to a suspected terrorist.

Al-Kidd was never charged with a crime, arguing now that he was improperly detained and should be able to sue former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Wednesday.

Like many people after the attacks of 9-11, Al-Kidd was held under the material witness statute that allows law enforcement to detain individuals if their testimony might be material to an ongoing criminal proceeding.

However, Al-Kidd, 37, alleges Ashcroft stretched the material witness law and used it not to detain witnesses for testimony but to hold them without probable cause as terrorism suspects.

A lower court ruled that the case could go forward because Ashcroft, as a former government official, does not have immunity against such suits. The Supreme Court will review the ruling Wednesday.

In court papers, Ashcroft -- who, as a former government official, is being represented by the Obama Administration -- argues that a federal magistrate issued a warrant for Al-Kidd's arrest under the material witness statute because of Al-Kidd's ties to Sami Omar Al-Hussayen.

Al-Hussayen, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, was at the time being investigated for false statement and visa fraud offenses. Ashcroft argues that the FBI moved to detain Al-Kidd after learning he had immediate plans to fly to Saudi Arabia.

But Al-Kidd, a Muslim who is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, said he was going to Saudi Arabia to study, and that his only connection to Al-Hussayen was a charitable organization where they both worked.

He says that when held for his potential testimony against Al-Hussayen, he was confined to a high security wing, strip-searched, and routinely shackled. Al-Kid's attorneys claims that Ashcroft improperly instituted a nationwide policy regarding the material witness statute, using it as a pretext to detain terrorism suspects for investigative purposes. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio