ACLU Agrees To Extension Of Torture Memo Deadline Based On DOJ Pledge To Consider Releasing Bybee Memo

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666; media@aclu.org

ACLU Agrees To Extension Of Torture Memo Deadline Based On DOJ Pledge To Consider Releasing Bybee Memo

WASHINGTON - The
Justice Department has sought an extension of the government's deadline
to decide whether to disclose three legal memoranda authored in May
2005 by Steven Bradbury, then a lawyer in the Justice Department's
Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). The memos authorized the CIA to subject
prisoners to torture methods including waterboarding. In ongoing
Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by the American Civil
Liberties Union, a federal judge had given the Justice Department until
today to disclose the memos or explain its refusal to do so. The ACLU
has consented to extend the production deadline to April 16 in return
for the government's representation that high-level officials will
consider the release not only of the Bradbury memos but also a memo
authored in August 2002 by Jay S. Bybee, who was then the head of the
OLC. The Bush administration had previously withheld the Bybee memo.

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

"We reluctantly consented to this
extension based on the government's representation that within two
weeks it will re-review not only the May 2005 Bradbury memos included
in today's deadline but also the August 2002 Bybee memo that was one of
the cornerstones of the CIA's torture program. Collectively, these
memos supplied the framework for an interrogation program that
permitted the most barbaric forms of abuse, violated domestic and
international law, alienated America's allies and yielded information
that was both unreliable and unusable in court. Using national security
as a pretext, the Bush administration managed to suppress these memos
for years, denying the public crucial information about government
policy and shielding government officials from accountability. While we
are disappointed that the Bradbury memos were not released today, we
are optimistic that the extension will result in the release of
information that would not otherwise have been available to the public."

The Justice Department's letter seeking an extension is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/39274lgl20090402.html

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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