Department of Justice Seal
Larry D. Thompson
Deputy Attorney General
Swearing-In Ceremony
Asa Hutchinson—Administrator
Arlington, Virginia
August 20, 2001

Good afternoon. Thank you, Catherine, for those gracious remarks. It's my honor to be here today. I could not be more pleased for Asa Hutchinson and his family. The DEA and the American people are indeed fortunate to be getting such a highly qualified individual to lead this country's fight against drugs.

Asa Hutchinson is truly one of our country's finest and most dedicated public servants. As a U.S. Attorney and member of Congress, he has devoted his considerable talents, energy, and enthusiasm to making this country safe from drugs. He has steadfastly stood beside law enforcement, making sure the resources and support were there to bring criminal drug traffickers to justice. He knows the challenges law enforcement face and will lead this agency with vigorous and fair enforcement of our nation's drug laws.

But Asa Hutchinson also knows that solving the drug problem requires more than enforcing drug laws. As a civic leader and a parent, he knows that strong communities and strong families are key to winning this fight.

Young people need involved parents and positive role models. They need strong character to withstand the temptation of drugs. No American can afford to be indifferent about drugs. Asa Hutchinson will deliver a strong, clear message that drug use is a grave threat to American society and to the lives of the people who use them.

I can't think of a better way to lead than by example. Asa is a man of great faith, a man of great integrity, and a man dedicated to making this country stronger. People who know Asa recognize that he's a genuinely caring person, a man who knows how important it is to temper justice with a sense of compassion.

Perhaps the most important characteristic he brings to this position is his optimism that the fight against drugs can be won. We all look forward to the many outstanding contributions Asa Hutchinson will make for DEA and this country.

Asa, congratulations on this well-deserved appointment. This is a special day for you and your family, a special day for this great organization, and a special day for the millions of citizens who want to see an end to the epidemic of drug use in America. Thank you.


It is now my honor to introduce Attorney General John Ashcroft. The Attorney General has had a long and distinguished career in public service. He served two terms as Attorney General of Missouri, two terms as that state's Governor, and six years in the United States Senate.

In all of those positions, he has been a strong supporter of law enforcement and a fierce opponent of drug traffickers. While Governor of Missouri, he spearheaded the state's efforts to reduce the use of illegal drugs. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he continued his efforts to combat illegal drugs, and worked closely with Missouri's law enforcement officers to develop strategies to counter Missouri's growing methamphetamine problem.

Attorney General Ashcroft is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago law school. He is a former professor of business law and a published author.

As Attorney General, he has pledged to renew the fight against drugs, to reduce the incidence of gun violence, and to combat discrimination so no American feels outside the protection of the law. It's a privilege to work with him. Please welcome Attorney General John Ashcroft.