Bush nominee for attorney general sparks concerns

NEW YORK: Civil-liberties and human-rights groups moved quickly last week to raise concerns in the media about President Bush's nominee to replace John Ashcroft as US attorney general, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.

NEW YORK: Civil-liberties and human-rights groups moved quickly last week to raise concerns in the media about President Bush's nominee to replace John Ashcroft as US attorney general, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.

Moments after the announcement Wednesday afternoon, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Center for Constitutional Rights, and Amnesty International circulated memos to the press highlighting what they consider to be troubling positions taken by the nominee.

Much of their efforts centered on a 2002 memo written by Gonzales saying "the new war on terror" renders aspects of the Geneva Conventions "obsolete" and "quaint."

"We're expressing our hopes that the President would have chosen someone with a better record on civil liberties than John Ashcroft," said Emily Whitfield, communications director with the ACLU.

AI circulated a statement on Wednesday tying Gonzales' memo to the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal and urging legislators to explore the connection during his confirmation hearings.

"We think the nominations process will offer an opportunity for further scrutiny of some of his positions," said Alistair Hodgett, media director.

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