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Leahy to Hold Hearing on Bush-era Torture Memos

Vermont weekly Seven Days reports the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Patrick Leahy (D-VT), will hold a hearing Friday to look into the recent Department of Justice report on the “torture memos” authored by the Bush administration’s office of Legal Counsel—namely former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee.

From Shay Totten’s Seven Days staff blog, “Blurt”:

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Friday to delve into the recent report issued by the Department of Justice regarding the so-called “torture memos” authored by the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility found that former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo engaged in professional misconduct by failing to provide “thorough, objective, and candid” legal advice in creating memoranda regarding the “enhanced interrogation” of detained terrorist suspects, while his boss Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee acted in “reckless disregard” for failing to provide “thorough, objective, and candid legal advice.”

OPR said it wanted to refer its findings to state bar disciplinary authorities where Yoo and Bybee are licensed. However, a top DOJ official rejected those findings, after reviewing responses to the report by Yoo and Bybee. Yoo is currently teaching law, while Bybee is now a federal judge.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the hearing on Friday, claiming the report should force Bybee to resign his lifetime judicial appointment.

“I have serious concerns about the role each of these government lawyers played in the development of these policies. I have said before that if the judiciary committee, and the senate, knew of Judge Bybee’s role in creating these policies, he would have never been confirmed to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. The right thing to do would be for him to resign from this lifetime appointment,” said Leahy in a statement. “As a United States Senator, as a former prosecutor, and as an American citizen, I am offended by the premeditated approach taken by former high-ranking officials in the Office of Legal Counsel in constructing the legal underpinnings of seriously flawed national security policies.”

Read the whole article here.

 

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