Justice Department Releases Several Legal Memos On Bush Administration's War Policies

January 9, 2009 12:00 am

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ACLU Seeks Release Of Still-Secret National Security Opinions

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NEW YORK – In the final days of the Bush administration, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) released several memos that provide the legal basis for some of the president’s war policies. However, the Justice Department continues to withhold many legal opinions, including memos justifying torture and surveillance policies that are responsive to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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

“We welcome the long-overdue release of these legal memos. It is important to note, however, that the OLC is still withholding many of the memos that supplied the legal basis for the Bush administration’s interrogation, detention, rendition and surveillance policies. The public has a right to see these memos, and the memos should be released immediately. As we have argued in litigation, release of the memos would allow the public to better understand the legal basis for the Bush administration’s national security policies; to better understand the role that the OLC played in developing, justifying and advocating those policies; and to participate more meaningfully in the ongoing debate about national security, civil liberties and human rights. We hope that the next administration will be more committed to transparency than the Bush administration. For now, we will continue to seek the release of the still-secret OLC memos through litigation.”

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