The federal government 's effort to prevent terrorism may well
be one of the most difficult challenges in recent American history.
And Attorney General John Ashcroft is a key player. Chitra Ragavan,
along with Brian Duffy and Christopher H. Smith, outlined the
complex administrative and political issues involved in directing
the enforcement aspects of this effort in a special cover report
focused on Ashcroft. A key question put to him was his view of
a December 8, 2003 TRAC report on terrorism enforcement in the
two years after 9/11/01. The report found that while more than
6,400 individuals had been targeted, only 184 had been convicted
and five had received sentences of 20 years or more. The median
sentence for convicted individuals identified as international
terrorists was 24 days. Ashcroft said the effort was of high importance
and that he would do anything to prevent further attacks.