Report: Bush lawyers will not face charges for approving torture
A draft report of a Justice Department inquiry recommends the officials face professional sanctions, but no criminal charges.
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The AP reports that the results of the inquiry were supposed to be made public last year, but were delayed after then-Attorney General Robery Mukasey requested that the three men be allowed time to respond to the findings.Skip to next paragraph
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Now, The Guardian reports that the full results of the inquiry may be released as early as next month, along with information on how the memos were written and e-mail transcripts of exchanges between the three men and officials within the administration and the CIA.
"You'd have to have some sort of information that those three guys understood that the memo was in itself just garbage. I'd be looking for something that shows they understood what they wrote was just unsupportable, but they decided they were going to write it anyway."
The Atlantic reports that "a draft report suggests" that more senior administration officials may have leaned on the legal advisers at the Office of Legal Counsel to write justifications for tactics to which they were already committed.
Ostensibly, Yoo, an attorney for the Office of Legal Counsel and Bybee, that section's chief, were tasked by Attorney General John Ashcroft with determining whether so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" violated U.S. law and treaty obligations. But a draft report, prepared by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Review, suggests that, at the direction of the White House, the OLC worked to justify a policy that had already been determined and did not begin their inquiry from a neutral position.
It is not clear – and sources would not say – who in the White House communicated with the two lawyers about the memos, and it is not clear whether Yoo or Bybee felt unduly pressured to provide a legal framework for a decision already made by senior administration officials.
But the independence of the inquiry may be drawn into question by today's report from The Washington Post that former Bush administration officials "have launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften" the report and its recommendations. The report cites two anonymous sources.
Representatives for John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, subjects of the ethics probe, have encouraged former Justice Department and White House officials to contact new officials at the department to point out the troubling precedent of imposing sanctions on legal advisers, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.
The effort began in recent weeks, the sources said, and it could not be determined how many former officials had reached out to their new counterparts.