FOR CONVICTIONS BEFORE THEY WERE AGAINST THEM…. During the Bush/Cheney era, federal officials arrested, mirandized, charged, convicted, and imprisoned hundreds of terrorists, all on American soil and in American courts. This was the norm, and it was not deemed controversial in the slightest.

Indeed, Republicans thought this system was worth bragging about.

On Wednesday, a Democratic source sent over even more evidence that the GOP under Bush once thought that the criminal justice system was fully capable of prosecuting terrorism-related cases.

A document from John Ashcroft’s Department of Justice in 2005 praises the work done by criminal prosecutors to put terrorists behind bars.

“Altogether, the Department has brought charges against 375 individuals in terrorism-related investigations, and has convicted 195 to date,” the 24-page memo reads. “While every component within the Justice family has contributed to the fight against terror, the men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review have led the Department’s work to protect America from terror.”

To be sure, the document appears to be filled with exaggerations and hyperbole. The data, like most assessments from the Ashcroft era, is not to be accepted at face value.

But that’s not the point here. The takeaway to remember is that the Justice Department, just a few years ago, bragged about its role in charging and convicting terrorists in federal civilian courts — and no one batted an eye. This isn’t ancient history, and it’s not pre-9/11. This was Ashcroft, Bush, and Cheney, in 2005.

Again, the GOP and its allies have a choice. Either they can explain why they were entirely silent when Bush followed a process Republicans are decrying now, or they can accept the fact that they’re acting like shameless, transparent, dishonest hacks.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.