ACLU Urges Obama Administration To Turn Over Torture Documents

April 1, 2009 12:00 am

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May 2005 Bradbury Memos Said To Ratify CIA’s Torture Program

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NEW YORK – In advance of a looming deadline in long-running Freedom of Information Act litigation, the American Civil Liberties Union today urged the government to immediately release Bush-era legal memos that authorized the torture of prisoners in CIA custody. According to reports, there is a debate within the Obama administration about whether to continue to withhold the documents, which include three legal memoranda authored in May 2005 by Stephen Bradbury, who was then a lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. In connection with an ACLU lawsuit seeking these memos and other government records, a federal judge has given the Justice Department until tomorrow to disclose the memos or explain its refusal to do so.

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

“Using national security as a pretext, the Bush administration managed to suppress these memos for more than three years, denying the public crucial information about government policy and shielding government officials from accountability. The Obama administration should end this cover-up and release the memos. The memos supplied the foundation for an interrogation program that permitted the most barbaric forms of abuse, violated domestic and international law, alienated America’s allies, and yielded information that was both unreliable and unusable in court. The public should be permitted to see the documents that purported to justify this lawless program. If the Obama administration is truly committed to restoring transparency to government, it should disclose these documents immediately.”

More information about the ACLU’s litigation is available online at:

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