Judge Sets Hearing On Obama Administration's Request To Delay Lawsuit Over Release Of Torture Memos

February 13, 2009 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – A federal judge today called a hearing to examine the Obama administration’s request for a 90-day delay of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit concerning public access to controversial Bush-era legal memos. The memos, written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, supplied the basis for the Bush administration’s torture and rendition programs. The hearing is scheduled for February 18 at 3:00 p.m. in New York.

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

“The Obama administration deserves credit for its disavowal of torture and for the commitment it has made to transparency, but the public has waited long enough for the disclosure of these memos. These memos supplied the legal basis for the Bush administration’s torture and rendition programs; they are crucial to the historical record. The Obama administration wants to put the litigation on hold for months, but delay is not costless. There is a public debate taking place right now about the role of the CIA going forward and about accountability for the abuses of the last eight years. The immediate release of the memos would allow the public to participate more meaningfully in that debate. While we applaud the administration for its promise of transparency, it’s now time to make good on that promise.”

The government’s request for a 90-day extension is available at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/38739lgl20090211.html

The ACLU’s letter in opposition to the delay is available at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/38738lgl20090211.html

The documents received in the ACLU’s Freedom of Information litigation are online at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia

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