The following is from the April 4, 2008, edition of The Daily Campus.

Ashcroft speaks on defending liberty, freedom in America

John Coleman
Staff Writer

Defending America's freedom and liberty in the years to come is a responsibility that lies in the hands of the students of America, according to former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft
spoke at SMU on Thursday.

Ashcroft served as the Attorney General under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He served this post during the attacks of Sept. 11 and played an integral role in the creation of the Patriot Act and other key legislation designed to prevent future attacks.

Ashcroft recalled the events in the aftermath of the attacks and working with President Bush and the rest of the Cabinet to decide what to do next.

"I remember very vividly the president never wavered, never seemed unsure," Ashcroft said. "He turned to me and said firmly and decisively, 'Never let this happen again,' and I knew he was charging me with the responsibility to get it done."

From this, Ashcroft described his efforts in creating the Patriot Act, which was put into law on Oct. 26, 2001, a mere month and a half after the attacks. He described his motives behind the act as a means of securing Americans' liberty, which, he noted, is meaningless without security. His only regret about the act was how the public perceived it.

"If there was a major failing in my time as attorney general, it was with the Patriot Act," he said. "We did an excellent job putting it together, but the American public was led [to believe], by dissenters, that somehow this act was a threat to their civil liberties."

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