For Immediate Release
Mary Boyle, Common Cause, (202) 736-5770
AG Holder Must Reject Whitewash of Torture Findings
Common Cause Calls on Holder to Stand by His Agency’s Own Internal Watchdog
WASHINGTON - Common Cause calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to reject
the whitewashing of an internal Justice Department ethics review of
former Bush Administration lawyers who authored memos that paved the
way for torture of terror suspects, and to stand by the report's
original findings and recommendations.
Justice's internal watchdog, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), late Friday released a long-awaited report that concluded
that legal advice provided by John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, who worked
in the Office of Legal Counsel, constituted professional misconduct and
warranted possible disbarment. But Associate Deputy Attorney
General David Margolis, who was in charge of the final recommendations,
softened it and said neither lawyer should face discipline or
"This sad chapter in our nation's history should not end with
one man's interpretation that flies in the face of international
standards and our own nation's prior positions," Common Cause President
Bob Edgar said, referring to Margolis. "This report only drives home
what we suspected: The top lawyers advising President Bush on the issue
of torture had no regard for the Constitution, and no regard for
In an especially troubling segment of the report, Yoo told an
investigator that he believed that President Bush's commander-in-chief
powers were so sweeping that the President had a wartime right to
massacre a village.
"Given that statement alone, it is mindboggling that Mr.
Margolis found Mr. Yoo and his boss Mr. Bybee guilty of only ‘poor
judgment,'" Edgar said. "Clearly this document is a compromised and
politicized finding. We need a legally grounded objective
investigation. It certainly appears that Mr. Yoo and Mr. Bybee should
Yoo is currently a law professor at the University of California Berkeley and Bybee is a 9th Circuit Appeals Court judge.
Margolis' findings dishonor the men and women who risked their
careers and lives to stand up for the rule of law and against torture,
Edgar said. "High ranking members of the U.S. JAG corps and the U.S.
armed services knew that torture was wrong and illegal -- and risked
their careers and personal safety to stop it," Edgar said referring top
JAG corps prosecutors and intelligence officers who worked to stop the
use of torture.
Last year, Common Cause presented a letter of commendation to
members of JAG Corps and servicemen and women who stood up to torture.
They included career intelligence operators Col. Steve Kleinman, Col.
Brit Mallow, Deputy Commander Mark Fallon, JAG corps prosecutors Lt.
Col. Stuart Couch, Lt. Col. Darrell Vandeveld and Navy General Counsel
Alberto Mora. The letter was signed by President Carter, former secretaries of defense, as well as retired military officers. Click here to read the honorees' profiles.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.