Ashcroft cites successes, Psalms in farewell letter to Americans
Ashcroft cites successes, Psalms in farewell letter to Americans

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice Wednesday posted on its website a public letter from outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft entitled "Farewell to the American People". In the letter, Ashcroft says he accomplished what he set out to accomplish during his tenure, leaving what he described as a "safer and stronger America than the one I found". The letter ends:

For the past three years, my every working day has begun with a report – a catalog of the murderous acts being plotted against Americans. That we have passed these three years in safety and security is a credit to the men and women with whom I serve. But it would be the height of arrogance to assume we achieved this alone. The Psalms remind us: “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stands guard in vain.”

My fellow Americans, for four years we have stood watch together. We have endured many things and we have accomplished many more. It has been the honor of my lifetime to stand beside you. And as I take my leave of this privileged post, I know that our efforts have not been in vain. The Builder of our city and the Author of our freedom has stood beside us. He stands beside us still.

A document linked from the bottom of the letter cites what are presented as the Justice Department's leading accomplishments over the past four years:
  • There have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since September 11th, 2001;

  • Federal gun crime prosecutions are up 76% over the past four years and Americans are safer;
  • Violent crime has dropped to a 30-year low;
  • Major drug trafficking organizations are being targeted and dismantled, and drug use among youth is declining;
  • Integrity is being restored in the marketplace under the leadership of President Bush’s Corporate Fraud Task Force;
  • Civil rights laws are being vigorously enforced, preserving the freedoms of all Americans;
  • Americans are being protected from civil fraud through aggressive prosecution and enforcement of the law;
  • Environmental laws are being strongly enforced, resulting in a cleaner environment and tough penalties for polluters.

The full text of Ashcroft's letter can be found here, and the list of the DOJ's accomplishments since 2000 is here.