In describing the post-9/11 mindset at the Department of Justice which included the promotion of such methods as waterboarding during interrogations and domestic surveillance via wiretapping, Attorney General Michael Mukasey stressed the need to be "more aggressive" and "to push to the limits of the law" during a speech at Boston College Law School's graduation ceremony today:
"In short, the message sent to our national security lawyers in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was clear; it was bipartisan; and it was all but unanimous. It was that the legal culture in our intelligence agencies, and in the Justice Department, was too risk-averse. It needed to be more aggressive, it needed to push to the limits of the law, to give policymakers and operators the most flexibility possible to confront the existential threat of international terrorism....In evaluating the work of national security lawyers, political leaders and the public must not forget what was asked of those lawyers six-and-a-half years ago. We cannot afford to invite another "cycle of timidity" in the intelligence community; the stakes are simply too high."