Will Obama Release the Missing Bush “Terror” Memos?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dozens of secret documents supporting the Bush administration's “War on Terror” could see the light of day thanks to President Barack Obama’s pledge to increase transparency. The American Civil Liberties Union asked the Obama administration on Wednesday to release Justice Department memos to determine whether former administration officials should be held accountable for legal opinions that justified various antiterrorism measures that may have actually been illegal. The memos, written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, are considered to be the legal justifications for the Bush administration’s controversial policies on detentions, interrogations and warrantless wiretapping. Although some key documents have been made public, at least 50 memos remain secret. ProPublica has compiled a list of the relevant memos, both public and secret. Here are the titles of a few of the more significant memos that still remain secret:

10/23/01 - Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to military operations abroad or in the U.S. (from John Yoo and Robert Delahunty to Alberto Gonzales)
11/20/01 - Laws and treaties regarding treatment of prisoners (from John Yoo and Robert Delahunty to Alberto Gonzales)
1/9/02 - Reauthorization of warrantless wiretapping program (from OLC to John Ashcroft)
1/11/02 - Administration's power to interpret international law (from Jay Bybee to Alberto Gonzales)
1/14/02 - The War Crimes Act’s application to American interrogators (from John Yoo and Robert Delahunty to William Taft, IV)
1/24/02 - Options for interpreting the Geneva Conventions (from John Yoo to Alberto Gonzales)
3/13/02 - RE: The President's Power as Commander in Chief to Transfer Captured Terrorists to the Control and Custody of Foreign Nations (from Jay Bybee to William Haynes, II)
6/27/02 - President's authority to detain U.S. citizens (from John Yoo to Daniel Bryant)
7/22/02 - Convention Against Torture has limited application in the U.S. (from John Yoo to Alberto Gonzales)
8/1/02 - Determines whether a specific interrogation was torture (from Jay Bybee to unknown)
10/11/02 - Legality of communications intelligence activities (from OLC to John Ashcroft)
6/1/03 - Approval of CIA interrogation techniques (from The White House to George Tenet)
11/18/03 - Interpretation of the Geneva Convention (from Jack Goldsmith and Robert Delahunty to Department of Defense)
3/16/04 - Legal guidance on classified intelligence activities (from James Comey to Alberto Gonzales)
3/30/04 - Briefing to Ashcroft on the warrantless wiretapping program (from James Comey to John Ashcroft)
5/30/05 - Determination that all CIA interrogations were legal (from Stephen Bradbury to unknown)
-Aaron Wallechinsky
The Missing Memos (by Dan Nguyen and Christopher Weaver, ProPublica)
ACLU tests Obama with request for secret Bush-era memos (by Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers)


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