The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

Obama Administration Reportedly Considering Withholding Vital Information in Torture Memos

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


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."

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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