Legal Memoranda and Commentary On Issues Related to Interrogation and Torture

In response to litigation brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Obama administration authorized the Justice Department to release four secret legal memoranda used by the Bush administration to justify torture. The memoranda were releasd on April 16, 2009. President Obama also issued a statement, emphasizing that “this is a time of reflection, not retribution”.

Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who was involved in the interrogations being discussed and who questioned Abu Zubaydah in 2002 has written an important Op Ed article, “My Tortured Decision”, which is published in the April 23, 2009 New York Times. In his article Mr. Soufan says trhat Abu Zubaydah provided important intelligence under traditional methods. He writes: “…I questioned him [Zubaydah] from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced late in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence”. Mr. Soufan also writes that he believes that it was the “right decision” to release the memos because “we need the truth to come out” and that releaseing these memos “enables us to begin the tricky business of finally bringing these terrorists to justice”.

Since the events being discussed transpired during the administration of George W. Bush, we thought it might be interesting and instructive to also provide a link to: Reigning in the Imperial Presidency, Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the Presidency of George W. Bush.; a report prepared by the majority staff of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

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