Justice Department targets… librarians

In the next step in the war on terror, Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday launched an attack on… librarians! As uneasiness grows over the scope of the Patriot Act, librarians have been on the front line in calling attention to attacks on civil liberties. Today’s New York Times reports:

In an unusually pointed attack as part of his latest speech in defense of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism initiatives, Mr. Ashcroft mocked and condemned the American Library Association and other Justice Department critics for believing that the F.B.I. wants to know “how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel.”

In response, Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington office said, “If he’s coming after us so specifically, we must be having an impact.” Of course other critics of the administration, such as Head Start early education teachers, have already been warned by the administration not to talk back. Librarians have now joined the ranks of environmentalists, pro-choice Americans, and defenders of the Bill of Rights as Ashcroft’s list of respected targets. (They also join the ever-expanding list of Bush targets — including retired and current military officers, soldiers on the front lines in Iraq, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and news reporters — who dare voice any criticism of Bush policies.) [Kicking Ass]

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