DOJ Report: Torture Memo Author John Yoo Said Bush Could Order "Massacre" of Whole Villages
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Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy also condemned the findings and announced that he will hold a hearing on the report's findings next Friday. In a statement, Leahy said the report "is a condemnation of the legal memoranda drafted by key architects of the Bush administration’s legal policy, including Jay Bybee and John Yoo, on the treatment of detainees."
"The deeply flawed legal opinions proffered by these former OLC officials created a 'golden shield' that sought to protect from scrutiny and prosecution the Bush administration’s torture of detainees in U.S. custody," Leahy said.
"In drafting and signing these unsound legal analyses, OLC attorneys sanctioned torture, contrary to our domestic anti-torture laws, our international treaty obligations and the fundamental values of this country," Leahy added.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which represents several detainees at Guantanamo and others who were tortured by military and CIA interrogators, called for Bybee to be impeached as a federal judge and for Holder to order a criminal probe headed by a special prosecutor.
CCR said the report makes it "makes it abundantly clear that the decisions about the torture program took place at the highest level, and the damning description of the program further show that the torture memos were written to order by the lawyers from the Office of Legal Counsel who played a key role in creating the program."
Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, which is largely responsible for bringing to light many of the revelations about the torture program described in the report, said, "The OPR report confirms the central role that the Office of Legal Counsel played in developing the Bush administration’s torture program, and it underscores once again that the decision to endorse torture was made by the Bush administration’s most senior officials."
"It also makes clear that the investigation initiated by the Justice Department last year, which focuses on 'rogue' interrogators, is too narrow," Jaffer added. "Interrogators should be held accountable where they violated the law, but the core problem was not one of rogue interrogators but one of senior government officials who knowingly authorized the gravest crimes.
"The Justice Department should immediately expand its investigation to encompass not just the interrogators who used torture but the senior Bush administration officials who authorized and facilitated it."
The Office of Legal Counsel is a powerful agency in the Justice Department that advises presidents on the limits of their power.
Jason Leopold is the former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires where he spent two years covering the energy crisis and the Enron bankruptcy. He just finished writing a book about the crisis, due out in December through Rowman & Littlefield.