February 22, 2010 8:39 pm

ACLU calls for criminal investigation of the torture program

The American Civil Liberties Union called on the Justice Department to expand its criminal investigation of the Bush administration’s torture program after a Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report was released Feb. 19.

According to an ACLU press release, the report looked at the work of the three DOJ attorneys- Steven Bradbury, John Yoo and Jay Bybee “who authorized the torture and abusive interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody through legal memoranda the three authored while at the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration.”

The press release said the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the report next Friday, February 26.

Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project said:

“The OPR report confirms the central role that the Office of Legal Counsel played in developing the Bush administration’s torture program, and it underscores once again that the decision to endorse torture was made by the Bush administration’s most senior officials,” he said.

“It also makes clear that the investigation initiated by the Justice Department last year, which focuses on ‘rogue’ interrogators, is too narrow. Interrogators should be held accountable where they violated the law, but the core problem was not one of rogue interrogators but one of senior government officials who knowingly authorized the gravest crimes. The Justice Department should immediately expand its investigation to encompass not just the interrogators who used torture but the senior Bush administration officials who authorized and facilitated it.”

Read the ACLU’s blog about the OPR report and visit the “Accountability for Torture” campaign website.

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