Justice Department Releases Bush Administration National Security Memos

March 2, 2009

Newly Released Legal Documents Responsive To ACLU Lawsuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK - The Justice Department today released nine secret memos and opinions written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that authorized some of the Bush administration's unlawful national security policies, including a memo written by OLC lawyer John Yoo that argued the Fourth Amendment does not apply to military activities inside the United States. Some of the memos are responsive to American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits seeking OLC legal opinions and other government records.

In a recent letter to the Obama administration, the ACLU called on the OLC to release, at the earliest possible date, dozens of still-secret legal memos related to interrogation, detention, rendition, surveillance and other Bush administration policies.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

"We welcome the Justice Department's decision to release these memos, some of which provided the basis for the Bush administration's unlawful national security policies. These memos essentially argue that the president has a blank check to disregard the Constitution during wartime, not only on foreign battlefields, but also inside the United States. We hope today's release is a first step, because dozens of other OLC memos, including memos that provided the basis for the Bush administration's torture and warrantless wiretapping policies, are still being withheld. In order to truly turn the page on a lawless era, these memos should be released immediately."

More information, including a copy of the ACLU's recent letter to the OLC, a chart of the still-secret OLC memos, a video and information about the ACLU's FOIA litigation, is available at: www.aclu.org/safefree/general/olc_memos.html

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