09/26/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

FLASHBACK: Ted Kennedy Vs. John Ashcroft (VIDEO)

As we dig through the latest rounds of torture disclosures, it's instructive to remember a moment from June of 2004. In the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib revelations, it came to light that the abuse of detainees received legal sanction from the Department of Justice two years earlier, through a series of memoranda asserting constitutional justifications for wartime abuse. John Yoo and Jay Bybee were not yet household names. Very few people, even in Washington, knew who David Addington was. John Ashcroft was the great progressive bete noire, and it wouldn't be known for another two years that for all his flaws, he resisted even further abuses from his hospital bed three months earlier, an act of patriotism of the highest order.

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