So, the Justice Department refuses to allow the FBI to access the records of people who have had their backgrounds checked in order to make gun purchases. The FBI wanted to check the records to see if any of the people detained after 9/11 had purchased guns, but the Justice Department made principled stand and refused to allow them to do so. Those records are supposed to be private, and are not intended for use by law enforcement, so I agree that access to them should be denied. What I find interesting is that when it comes to gun ownership, John Ashcroft’s Justice Department is willing to uphold both the letter and spirit of the law, in spite of the fact that consulting those records might legitimately make the “war on terrorism” ever so slightly easier. However, when it comes to granting people a jury trial, or allowing them to converse with their lawyers without fear of snooping, or tapping people’s phone lines, or actually charging them with a crime before detaining them, John Ashcroft isn’t on board. If that’s not hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.