Washington (CNN) – Former Attorney General John Ashcroft suggested Wednesday that the Obama administration’s criminal investigation into the circumstances that led to the Gulf oil spill should have come sooner than it did.
Almost six weeks after the initial explosion on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, the Justice Department announced Tuesday it had launched a criminal and civil investigation into the oil spill.
Asked during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, whether he thought the investigations or the timing of the announcement were politically motivated, Ashcroft said he didn’t know “enough facts and circumstances” to comment. But the former head of the Justice Department went on to say, “If someone ever commits a crime against me or my family I would hope that in something less than five weeks they would decide to investigate it.”
Ashcroft also criticized the Obama administration’s decision to close the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where a number of suspected terrorists have been held by the federal government.
“I think its right to take people out of battle. It is right to dislocate them. The alternatives are either to kill them on the field or to re-arm them and send them back out to take another shot. Or to detain them.” said Ashcroft. “I think detention is the only acceptable thing.”
Ashcroft described the idea of detaining people who fight against the United States as an act of mercy.
The problem, he explained, was when people confused detention for purposes of removing people from the battlefield with punishment.
“The idea somehow there is something evil about Guantanamo– I think it is a bankrupt idea.”
Soon after being sworn in, President Obama pledged to close the Guantanamo facility by the time his first year in office was up. But that self-imposed deadline came and went while the facility remained open and as Obama faced pushed back from Capitol Hill over how to handle the suspected terrorists. The White House has not announced a specific date for Gitmo’s closing.