June 2nd, 2010
07:36 PM ET
12 years ago

Ashcroft: BP criminal investigation should have come sooner

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.

Filed under: BP • Guantanamo Bay • John Ashcroft • Obama administration
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. rdepontb

    ASHCROFT??? CNN Political Ticker, please knock off this lousy trend of yours.. Geez louise. There are planet-threatening situations going off all around, and this is the best you can do for us? No, thank you.

    June 2, 2010 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  2. sooner than it did

    Mr. Ashcroft, I think from the Bush standpoint, you were a shinning star, given that they were all turds, you are a polished turd

    this is fine timing, Obama and crew have given BP time to screw up and show their work to try fix it

    now is a perfect time for the investigation

    what? a sooner investigation would have caught some records or such... yeah your boys were so good at uncovering wrong doing, worthless endeavors

    June 2, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. Larry

    Ashcroft, this investigation goes back to your corrupt boss's administration.

    Why was BP given a license when they couldn't demonstrated they could stop a catastrophe.

    Nice try Ashcroft. You Republicans just need to get smarter. Dumb, dumb, dumb, and getting dumber every day.

    You people really are desperate.

    June 2, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. Claude

    BP's dangerous drilling as well as it's handling of the oil catastrophe is nothing but a company acting as eco-terrorist.

    So in conclusion, the top management of BP should be sent to guantanamo prision until the leak is closed and the clean up is completed

    June 2, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Just Remember Folks,

    This is the same John Ashcroft who was quoted as saying "people need to be careful what they say". The quote was in refernece to some issue after the 9-11 attacks but I cannot see how it can be excused. Maybe he should take his own advice, on a voluntary basis of course.

    Lets hope the the drill stem cap plan will work but be prepared to keep trying anything else to stop the flow from the well. Leave the fing crimminal investigators out of it. No place for doughnut eaters in this crisis.

    June 2, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  6. alaskalu

    Either he didn't do it soon enough or he should have waited until later. Criticism no matter the situation.

    June 2, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  7. Katie B in NC

    John Ashcroft? Isn't he the guy who lost an election to a dead guy?

    June 2, 2010 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  8. Get A Grip

    How about fixing the well first then worry about a criminal investigation. Lets not put the cart before the horse. And what should be interesting is the fact this rig got a safety award in '09 from the Oblamer administration.

    June 2, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  9. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Considering BP's legendary track record of oil disasters and deaths, why didn't YOU start an investigation when YOU were Attorney General, Mr. Ashcroft?

    June 2, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Hey – don't give us this stuff. Not interesting at all.

    I want to hear more about Nikki's affairs !! Now THAT sounded like fun.

    June 2, 2010 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  11. Patsy, Texas

    Good grief, CNN, what in the world are you dong? More roaches
    crawling out of the woodwork with their useless opinions and
    criticisms, and you actually want to give them credibility? This guy
    was the worst and deserves nothing. What you are doing is
    destroying your own creds, and it is sickening. Have your ratings
    increased since you started this nonsense, or are you just mucking
    around for the fun of it??

    June 2, 2010 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  12. Dan, TX

    SOONER? It's only been six weeks. What the heck did everyone here get done in the last six weeks?

    June 2, 2010 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. normajean

    Was this a crime or incredible stupidity.. ?

    June 2, 2010 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. Why

    Why close gitmo to start with? dumb idea.

    June 2, 2010 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  15. stevetall

    Who dredged up this old cootie? John Ashcroft was never more than a pimple on the butt of the American justice system, and a failed politician as well. Beaten in a race for the Senate by a dead guy, Ashcroft became just another bad decision by the Bush administration. Why was he never prosecuted for all the lying he did about inappropriate handling of Justice Department business during his tenture there?

    June 3, 2010 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  16. Jim in Idaho

    Investigations should have come sooner? Where was Ashcroft when illegal wiretapping and decisions about torture were being made on his judicial watch, and what investigations did he initiate? Oh yeah.......none

    June 3, 2010 12:29 am at 12:29 am |

    I am belived that ashcroft are keep great

    June 3, 2010 05:30 am at 5:30 am |