<center><h2><a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/15/opinion/15KRUG.html?pagewanted=print&position=>Travesty of Justice</a></h2></center> <blockquote>By PAUL KRUGMAN No question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history. For this column, let's just focus on Mr. Ashcroft's role in the fight against terror. Before 9/11 he was aggressively uninterested in the terrorist threat. He didn't even mention counterterrorism in a May 2001 memo outlining strategic priorities for the Justice Department. When the 9/11 commission asked him why, he responded by blaming the Clinton administration, with a personal attack on one of the commission members thrown in for good measure. We can't tell directly whether Mr. Ashcroft's post-9/11 policies are protecting the United States from terrorist attacks. But a number of pieces of evidence suggest otherwise. First, there's the absence of any major successful prosecutions. The one set of convictions that seemed fairly significant that of the "Detroit 3" appears to be collapsing over accusations of prosecutorial misconduct. (The lead prosecutor has filed a whistle-blower suit against Mr. Ashcroft, accusing him of botching the case. The Justice Department, in turn, has opened investigations against the prosecutor. Payback? I report; you decide.) Then there is the lack of any major captures. Somewhere, the anthrax terrorist is laughing. But the Justice Department, you'll be happy to know, is trying to determine whether it can file bioterrorism charges against a Buffalo art professor whose work includes harmless bacteria in petri dishes. Perhaps most telling is the way Mr. Ashcroft responds to criticism of his performance. His first move is always to withhold the evidence. Then he tries to change the subject by making a dramatic announcement of a terrorist threat.</a></h2></center> Yessiree...John "Beaten by a Dead Man" Ashcroft, appointed USAG not for his qualifications, but as a sop to the religious right-wing nuts who helped propel Dubbyuh to political prominence. Herr Ashcroft is simply too mean spirited and stupid to be more than a spear-carrier for the Administration, and fall upon his sword when ordered. As he did when he was in contempt of Congress just last week. And justice is a concept on the very periphery of his consciousness.