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May 11, 2009

Saturday’s Washington Post opined on the release of the long-awaited Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report. This report, you’ll recall, is an ethics probe that considers the work of three DOJ attorneys — Steven Bradbury, John Yoo and Jay Bybee — who authorized the torture and abusive interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody through legal memoranda the three authored while at the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The Post writes:

Investigations of this type are usually kept secret unless and until the investigating entity determines that wrongdoing has occurred…Yet the existence of the investigation and many details of the OPR report have already found their way into the public arena. For example, The Post and other news outlets have reported that the OPR will recommend that Judge Bybee and Mr. Yoo be referred to their respective bar associations for possible sanctions.

The best way to proceed — both to ensure fairness and to fulfill the strong and legitimate public need to know how questionable policies and legal opinions came into being — is to make all material relating to this investigation public, regardless of the Justice Department’s findings. Documents that should be released include the full OPR report, all submissions by the subjects of the probe, and the letter written by former attorney general Michael B. Mukasey and former deputy attorney general Mark R. Filip that criticized the draft report. (emphasis ours)

Even though we’re still waiting on the key information contained in this report, enough is already publicly known to warrant a criminal investigation. Call for accountability now. Ask Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate those who authorized the torture and abuse of prisoners.

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