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NPR ran a poignant interview with former US Attorney General John Ashcroft a few days ago. Revelations include his hospital-bed rejection of a White House request to push through NSA's warrantless surveillance program, and reflections on his "biggest failure," regarding the USA PATRIOT Act, to "explain it well to the American people." Although he admits he is "almost as mean as I ever was," he draws several historical parallels to recent security measures and comes across as somewhat less... hysterical... than he did during his tenure in the Bush administration.