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Will Bush's Secret Legal Memos Be Released?

An interactive guide to the Bush administration's classified legal opinions in the 'War on Terror' reveals how much we still don't know.

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Two veterans of the OLC, from the Bush Sr. and Clinton administrations, have slammed Yoo and Bybee's critics. In a commentary for American Lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro and Lee Casey wrote that the memo's authors properly answered the specific legal questions they were asked rather than expound on policy or morality. They called Giller's criticisms "personal" and "completely unpersuasive."

So far the Obama administration hasn't committed to disclosing the withheld memos, much less pursuing next steps. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder was circumspect when asked by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee whether favorable OLC opinions would shield a government actor from liability. It would matter whether the opinion was "appropriately and in good faith drafted," he said in his confirmation hearings. If Holder is confirmed, as is generally expected, the OPR investigators will answer to him.

Johnsen has said, "Questions of atonement and remedy and prevention" can only be answered with "transparency[24] about the wrong committed" -- with "full disclosure."

See ProPublica's interactice chart of the Bush administration's still secret memos.