ACLU Commends Senate Judiciary Subpoena for Interrogation Documents

For Immediate Release


Matthew Allee, (202) 675-2312, or
James Freedland, (212) 549-2666,

ACLU Commends Senate Judiciary Subpoena for Interrogation Documents

Torture memos have been kept in the dark for too long

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union
commends the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote today to authorize a subpoena of
the Department of Justice (DOJ) legal opinions justifying harsh interrogation

committee has repeatedly requested these documents justifying harsh
interrogations of detainees held by the United States and has seen very little
cooperation from DOJ. The Justice Department has provided some heavily redacted
documents, which Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter
(R-PA) have called inadequate. A subpoena would legally require DOJ to comply
with the committee's request to produce complete documents. The vote was
scheduled to take place a week ago, but was delayed at the request of one of the
committee members.

Department of Justice has been stonewalling Congress for far too long," said
Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "The
level of secrecy and noncompliance this administration has exhibited further
underscores the lack of legal rationale for conducting torture in America's
name. President Bush and the Justice Department knew then, as they know now,
that torture is clearly illegal under federal criminal law. Only through full
disclosure can we begin to wipe away this stain on America's

October 2003, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for
records concerning the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad. While more
than 100,000 pages of government documents have been released in response to the
ACLU's FOIA lawsuit, the government continues to withhold many vital records and
litigation is ongoing.

Justice Department has repeatedly twisted or ignored the law in order to justify
the use of brutal interrogation techniques the U.S. once prosecuted as war
crimes," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project.
"This administration continues to use 'national security' as a pretext to shield
government officials from embarrassment, criticism and even criminal
prosecution. Far too much information is being withheld and the public has
a right to the documents still being concealed."

The ACLU has led the charge in calling for an
independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any violations of federal
criminal laws related to the interrogation of detainees, including any
obstruction of justice. To view the ACLU letter to Congress, go to:

To view
documents from ACLU FOIA litigation, go to:

For today's New York
Times article, "Bush Aides Link to Talks on Interrogations," go to:


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