CREW Sues Department of Justice Over Missing Yoo Emails

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Matt Jacob
Phone: 202.408.5565

CREW Sues Department of Justice Over Missing Yoo Emails

WASHINGTON - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed
a lawsuit
against the Department of Justice (DOJ) for failing
to provide CREW with records relating to the missing John Yoo emails.
In February 2010, DOJ made
public a July 2009 report
of its investigation into the roles
of former high-ranking Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) officials John Yoo
and Patrick Philbin in the drafting of OLC's torture memos, which
authorized the use of torture when interrogating detainees outside of
the United States. The investigation was hampered by the
fact that most of Mr. Yoo's emails and many of Mr. Philbin's had
disappeared. CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on February
26, 2010
asking OLC to provide any guidance DOJ employees
received regarding preservation of emails as well as any records showing
there might have been problems with the storage or retention of emails
in OLC. CREW sent a follow-up FOIA request on March
3, 2010
seeking copies of all existing emails sent to or from
John Yoo, in an effort to ascertain the extent of the problem with his
missing emails.

Although OLC initially agreed to expedite CREW's request given public
interest in the issue, to date OLC has produced only two
documents
setting forth the record keeping requirements to
which Messrs. Yoo and Philbin were subject. DOJ has not provided any of
the emails sent to or from Mr. Yoo. In addition, DOJ has not responded
to the National Archives and Records Administration's request that the
department investigate and report back on whether the missing
high-ranking OLC officials' emails were destroyed in violation of the
Federal Records Act, which mandates the preservation of such emails.

Melanie Sloan, CREW's Executive Director, stated: "Given that
millions of emails disappeared from Bush White House servers, no one
should be surprised to find that emails disappeared from the Bush
Justice Department as well. What's violating federal records laws
compared with avoiding accountability?" Sloan continued, "The public
deserves to know the truth behind the OLC torture memos and the Obama
administration faces a choice: it can cover-up the Bush administration's
misdeeds or allow the truth to come out and help the country confront
and move past this shameful episode."

Click
here
to read CREW's complaint.

###

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.

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