Obama Administration Reportedly Considering Withholding Vital Information in Torture Memos

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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

Obama Administration Reportedly Considering Withholding Vital Information in Torture Memos

New Administration Should Not Cover up Bush Administration Crimes, Says ACLU

NEW YORK - In response to a troubling Wall Street Journal report that the Obama administration is considering withholding key information from Bush-era memos that authorized torture, the American Civil Liberties Union today once again urged the Justice Department to turn over the memos in full. According to a deadline set in an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the government has until tomorrow to turn over memos authored by Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury, then top lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel, that supplied the framework for the Bush administration interrogation program - or else explain why they continue to withhold them from the public. Until now, reports have indicated that the White House wanted to release the memos but was facing pressure from CIA officials to keep them a secret.

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

"The new Justice Department should turn over unredacted versions of these memos, not blacked out versions that cover up critical information. The information in these memos is vital to the historical record and to informing the public about what actions were carried out in its name. The release of the memos is also crucial to holding officials accountable for authorizing torture. Withholding this information would be completely inconsistent with the Obama administration's promise of transparency and its commitment to turn the page on the abuses of the last eight years."

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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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