Michael Chertoff, President Bush’s nominee to be secretary of homeland
security, is widely hailed for his intellectual heft and tireless work
habits as a federal prosecutor and judge. But he also faces criticism as an
architect of some of the most controversial elements of the Bush
administration’s domestic war on terrorism that followed the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks.

As an assistant attorney general in the months after the attacks, Chertoff
helped oversee the detention of 762 foreign nationals for immigration
violations; none of them was charged with terrorism-related crimes. A
subsequent report by the Justice Department’s inspector general determined
that Justice’s “no bond” policy for the detainees — a tactic whose
legality was questioned at the time by immigration officials — led to
lengthy delays in releasing them from prison, where some faced “a pattern
of physical and verbal abuse…


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