Bush-Era Torture Memos Released to ACLU

This afternoon, the Justice Department released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture. Authored by then-Office of Legal Counsel attorneys Steven Bradbury and Jay Bybee, the memos provided the legal framework for the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other illegal interrogation methods that violate domestic and international law. The memos were released with minimal redactions.

Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, said today:

Through these memos, Justice Department lawyers authorized interrogators to use the most barbaric interrogation methods, including methods that the U.S. once prosecuted as war crimes. The memos are based on legal reasoning that is spurious on its face, and in the end these aren’t legal memos at all – they are simply political documents that were meant to provide window dressing for war crimes. While the memos should never have been written, we welcome their release today. Transparency is a first step towards accountability.

The documents provide further conformation that government lawyers distorted the law to support the Bush administration’s torture program. It's time to demand accountability for torture: tell Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate these crimes. The Obama administration has taken an admirable first step towards transparency by releasing these memos. Now it's time to restore this country's reputation at home and abroad, and show that no one is above the law.


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Lyle Veldheer

What is moderation?

Lyle Veldheer

By the way, I will never join or contribute.


I looked thru your site and I see things referring to the constitution but not the pledge- one nation under God- I guess you guys forgot about that part

Bobbie Howard

This is what happens when Congress, and the ACLU, fail to support impeachment of Bush or even investigation of his crimes! I have supported the ACLU in the past, but no more.

Reality Check

You guys should actually read the memos. Do you have any support for your assertion that these memos are political?

Mr. Andy

Oh good grief. Torture? Our "torture" techniques are nowhere near as inflicting as those suffered by our captured citizens and foreigners during the current war era. Ask any living POW citizen if our techniques are as suffering as what they have had to encounter. Torture in general is completely wrong but how can it really be controlled? How can we tell our government that it's wrong and to not do it when your son/daughter/husband/wife/brother/sister/family member is being tortured and dismembered by their captor on some other side of the world? Perhaps groups like this can put their heads together and come up with alternative information gathering from captured enemies. What would the ACLU do if it needed to be present during an interrogation? What advice or different tactics would it offer to help those processing the interrogation?

The U.S.A., damned if we do...damned if we don't.

Bill Lilienthal

You folks really are the ultimate liberal antiamericas in our society.
I am 73 and I will gladly take the water board to show the people they are not going to kill me. You and others like you are going to be the end of the United States of America as we know it today.




With these previously secret memos, we can now expose the inhumane use of torture such as waterboarding and work with renewed vigor to keep barbaric torture and human rights violations where they belong.....in the government sanctioned arena of "Family Planning" where we have shown the world that, with a pair of forceps and a little suction, we will not be outdone! 50 million+ and counting! Just above the law and no accountability required! You've gotta love a woman's right to choose! Helping to make America great!


aclu suck AC-FU


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