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Whoa. Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed while giving a speech at the Federalist Society meeting in Washington tonight, according to AP and Politico. Apparently, he was still receiving medical treatment on stage at the event as of 15 minutes ago — 10:30pm Eastern.
Say a prayer and stand by for more details.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed during a speech Thursday night and was being taken to a hospital. Associate Attorney General Kevin O’Connor said Mukasey began shaking while addressing the Federalist Society at a Washington hotel. “He just started shaking and he collapsed,” O’Connor said. “They’re very concerned.” O’Connor said he did not know whether Mukasey, 67, had regained consciousness.”
Say an extra prayer.
More from Kathryn Lopez, who was in attendance at Mukasey’s speech: “Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed a few feet away from me while delivering a speech to the Federalist Society tonight.” A heckler called Mukasey a “tyrant” during his remarks and rattled the AG, Lopez writes.
The text of his prepared remarks for delivery can be found here. He was reportedly 20 minutes into the speech when he fell ill. An excerpt:
I want to turn to another subject, which I have taken from Day One to be my most solemn responsibility as Attorney General. That is ensuring that we put into place the institutions we need to keep our country safe from the continuing threat posed by Al Qaeda and other international terrorists.
On September 11th, 2001, nineteen terrorists inflicted the most catastrophic attack on our homeland since Pearl Harbor. What made that attack so devastating was not simply the toll inflicted upon our country, but the idea that nineteen lightly armed terrorists could murder nearly 3,000 Americans. The reality of such asymmetric warfare required us to dramatically reconsider how we should confront the threat of international terrorism.
When the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, when Al Qaeda attacked the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen and our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the United States deployed the FBI to the scene to collect evidence, pursue leads and; ultimately, indict and prosecute at least some of those responsible.
Following the September 11th attacks, however, it no longer seemed prudent to treat international terrorism solely as a criminal matter where suspects are pursued and prosecuted only after they have perpetrated a crime. Indeed, at the time of the September 11th attacks, Osama bin Laden was already under criminal indictment for his role in the embassy bombings. Instead, the United States recognized the attack of September 11th to be what it was: an act of war — a war that had been declared years earlier by enemies of the United States, and indeed of civilized people everywhere. In response, this Nation, under our President, committed to a comprehensive offensive strategy against the terrorists abroad using every resource at our disposal — military, intelligence, financial and law enforcement.
The U.S. military deployed to Afghanistan where Al Qaeda had found a safe haven within the confines of the brutal and inhumane regime of the Taliban. When our forces, or those of allies, captured members of the enemy, we detained them so that they could not simply return to the battlefield and, where we thought it appropriate, transferred them for detention to the U.S. naval station at Guantanamo Bay.
At home, the Administration sought to reorganize and modernize our government to reflect the new priorities of the War on Terror. We brought domestic security agencies, which historically had been scattered throughout the Executive Branch, under the umbrella of a Department of Homeland Security, and we established a Director of National Intelligence to ensure that our intelligence agencies would work together in tracking terrorist threats and preventing new attacks.
Within the Department of Justice, the FBI made preventing terrorism its top priority and restructured its resources accordingly. Since September 11th, the FBI has transformed itself into a world-class intelligence agency, designed to detect and prevent attacks before they occur, rather than simply investigating them afterwards. The FBI has doubled the number of intelligence analysts and translators in its ranks, and opened 16 new offices overseas, including in Kabul and Baghdad. We created the FBI’s new National Security Branch to bring together divisions responsible for counterterrorism and intelligence and counterespionage, and we made similar institutional reforms in establishing the National Security Division at the Department of Justice.
The Administration worked with Congress in reorganizing our government and with passing new laws to promote the collection and dissemination of critically important intelligence. Shortly after September 11th, Congress passed the Patriot Act to ensure that analysts and investigators could access the information they needed to protect our Nation, work together to “connect the dots,” and pursue a strategy of prevention. And this year, Congress did the same for our intelligence professionals, passing bi-partisan legislation that modernizes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow the intelligence community to quickly and effectively monitor terrorists’ communications while ensuring respect for our civil liberties.
Taken together, the Administration’s policies in the War on Terror represent nothing less than a fundamental reorganization of our government and will ensure that the next President has the tools he needs to continue to defend the country.
The Administration’s strategy in defending the Nation from terrorist threats has not only been comprehensive, but has also been successful based on what matters the most: Since September 11th, Al Qaeda has not managed to launch a single act of terrorism in the United States. This is a remarkable achievement that no one could have predicted in the days following the September 11th attacks. The credit for that goes to many people, including many brave men and women in our armed forces, and many brave men and women in law enforcement and intelligence services, who put their lives at risk routinely in parts of the world most Americans, to their great comfort, will never encounter. Much of that credit also goes to the President; in this area, as in many others, leadership and resolve matter.
As the end of this Administration draws near, you would expect to hear broad praise for this success at keeping our Nation safe. Instead, I am afraid what we hear is a chorus with a rather more dissonant refrain. Instead of appreciation, or even a fair appraisal, of the Administration’s accomplishments, we have heard relentless criticism of the very policies that have helped keep us safe. We have seen this in the media, we have seen this in the Congress, and we have heard it from the legal academy as well.
In some measure, those criticisms rest on a very dangerous form of amnesia that views the success of our counterterrorism efforts as something that undermines the justification for continuing them. In an odd way, we have become victims of our own success. In the eyes of these critics, if Al Qaeda has not struck our homeland for seven years, then perhaps it never posed much of a threat after all and we didn’t need these counterterrorism policies.
Update 9:45am Eastern 11/21: Andy McCarthy writes that Mukasey is doing better this morning and shares his insights.