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Show Us the Memos

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November 24, 2008

We’re full of suggestions for President-elect Obama. Today, we have another one. Last week’s New York Times suggested the Obama administration could review the Bush administration’s use of the state secrets privilege to shield the National Security Agency from legal review of its very unlawful warrantless wiretapping program.

Today Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, suggested a second way Bush administration activities regarding the NSA’s spy program can be reviewed: release the Justice Department memos that provided the legal basis for all this unlawful activity. After all, as Jameel writes, “The memos are being withheld simply because their analysis will not survive scrutiny. Releasing them would be a good way for the new administration to signal a renewed commitment to the rule of law.”

We’ve seen what kind of havoc these legal memos have wreaked when it comes to torture. (Paging John Yoo…) We aren’t the only ones who would like to know the reasoning behind spying on Americans’ phone calls — we’re guessing the public would like to know too.

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