Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Bush Picks Ex-Prosecutor for Homeland Post

"WASHINGTON -- President Bush nominated federal judge Michael Chertoff as the new homeland security chief Tuesday, completing the second-term Cabinet with a former prosecutor who recently called for a new look at the tough terrorist detainee laws that he helped craft after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday that as an architect of the act, Chertoff seemed to view the Bill of Rights "as an obstacle to national security rather than a guidebook for how to do security properly.

Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a friend of the nominee. "I know he believes the act was necessary and was working well and has not been abused, but there's nothing wrong with looking at it," Olson said.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said he doubted Chertoff's role in crafting the Patriot Act "will be, in itself, a disqualification." More pressing, Lieberman said, are Chertoff's plans to manage a sprawling bureaucracy prone to infighting and competition with outside law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Several Democrats also quickly offered praise for Chertoff's credentials. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Chertoff has "the resume to be an excellent Homeland Security secretary."

It would seem that the President has selected a man who is respected on both sides of the aisle. The opposition of the ACLU is an added plus as far as I can see. The Patriot Act will no doubt be revisited, but that discussion should happen so that the reasoning behind the provisions of the act are debated.

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