Last Valentine's Day, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff broke the story about the existence of an internal Justice Department report that questioned the professional ethics of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) lawyers who authored the torture memos. After many delays, it's finally out. John Yoo and Jay Bybee are found to have exercised "poor judgement" when they wrote the legal authorizations for the use of abusive interrogation techniques on detainees in U.S. custody overseas.
Poor judgement indeed. Yoo and Bybee are now well known for their role in enabling the atrocities that went on in black sites and at Guantánamo. Waterboarding. Extreme sleep deprivation. Stress positions. Some detainees were tortured to death. We all know the results of those legal memos.
Included in the OPR report is this quote from Yoo: "I had actually thought that we prohibited waterboarding. I didn't recollect that we had actually said that you could do it."
But the key to remember is the OLC is tasked with providing the executive branch legal advice. They're "the President's lawyers." So that makes the OLC's clients the highest levels of the Bush administration. There's no denying it: senior Bush administration officials knowingly authorized torture, and the OLC lawyers gave them the false legal framework to carry it out.
Don't let them get away with it. Send a message to Attorney General Eric Holder now. It isn't too late to demonstrate this country's commitment to the rule of law.
To read more about and see documentary evidence of the Bush administration's torture program, go to thetorturereport.com.