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  Ashcroft Bids Farewell to Justice Dept.
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Last EditedNone Entered  Jan 25, 2005 06:18am
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MediaWebsite - Yahoo News
News DateMonday, January 24, 2005 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionAttorney General John Ashcroft said goodbye Monday to the Justice Department he has led for four years, thanking workers for their efforts to prevent another terrorist attack.

"There seems to be a record of achievement that you have generated that far exceeds what we would have anticipated without 9/11, in spite of this demand that we invest so many resources in the fight against terror," Ashcroft said. "There is no limit to what can be achieved when we work together in harmony and unity."

Several hundred people gathered at the department's Great Hall to bid farewell to Ashcroft, who will leave as soon as President Bush's choice to replace him, Alberto Gonzales, is confirmed by the Senate.

Ashcroft has been a lightning rod for Bush administration critics who argued that civil liberties and privacy rights have been threatened by numerous actions taken in the war on terror. Ashcroft also has advocated staunchly conservative positions on such issues as gun rights, abortion and gay marriage, infuriating those on the other side.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said when Ashcroft's resignation was announced that he was "one of the most divisive faces in this administration."

But speaker after speaker Monday described Ashcroft as courageous, principled and modest, willing to take tough stands on important issues despite the criticism.
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