WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, a lightning rod
of criticism by civil liberties groups for his anti-terror policies after
the September 11 attacks and who once even ordered the robing of two
partially nude statues in his department, has resigned.
A leading candidate to replace Ashcroft is former Deputy Attorney General
Larry Thompson, who once ran the department under Ashcroft and faithfully
implemented his policies.
Others likely candidates were White House counsel Alberto Gonzales,
President George W. Bush's election campaign chairman Marc Racicot and
former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, a
Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group, said many American
Muslims had concerns about Ashcroft's application of a number of provisions
of the Patriot Act.
"We would hope that his successor would have strong support for American
traditions of civil liberties," Hooper said..