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Posts Tagged ‘Wiretapping’

Panetta: Too Dangerous To Release Torture Tape Docs

TPM Muckraker- By Zachary Roth – June 9, 2009, 9:58AM

Do we have yet another case of the Obama administration mimicking its predecessor’s notorious penchant for government secrecy?

The CIA argued yesterday that Bush-era documents detailing the videotaped interrogations of detainees should not be released, citing national security concerns, reports the Washington Post.

The videotapes, which depicted harsh interrogation tactics, were famously destroyed in 2005. As part of a wide-ranging lawsuit, the ACLU is seeking the release of CIA emails discussing the tapes, handwritten notes taken after reviewing the tapes, and a photograph of one high-value detainee, Abu Zubaydah, among other items relating to the tapes.

CIA director Leon Panetta argued in a statement that releasing the material “could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security by informing our enemies of what we knew about them, and when, and in some instances, how we obtained the intelligence we possessed.”

Panetta wrote that the “disclosure of explicit details of specific interrogations” would give al-Qaeda “propaganda it could use to recruit and raise funds.” He called it “ready-made ammunition.”

MORE HERE

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More OLC Memos To Come?

Some followup by the New York Times on the Bush-era OLC memos released yesterday by the Justice Department…

Department officials have told the paper that they may soon release more secret opinions about counter-terror tactics. Those that contain classified information will need to be cleared with other government agencies before they can be released.

Separately, some Democrats are jumping on the controversial memos to bolster their argument for a commission to look into the Bush administration’s counter-terror policies.

Senate Judiciary chair Pat Leahy, who has called for such a commission, put out a statement Monday that praised the Justice Department for releasing “some of these long-secret opinions.” But it also argued that a “fuller review of these policies” by the new Obama team was needed.

And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said: “These memos appear to have given the Bush administration a legal blank check to trample on Americans’ civil rights. We need to get to the bottom of what happened at O.L.C. and ensure it never happens again.”

Also, the Times picks up on that footnote in the Steven Bradbury memo that we highlighted earlier. Reports the paper:

In a footnote to Mr. Bradbury’s Jan. 15, 2009, memorandum sharply criticizing Mr. Yoo’s work, Mr. Bradbury signaled that he did not want his repudiation of the legal reasoning employed by Mr. Yoo to be used against Mr. Yoo as part of the ethics probe.Mr. Bradbury wrote that his retractions were not “intended to suggest in any way that the attorneys involved in the preparation of the opinions in question” violated any “applicable standards of professional responsibility.”

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Senate Chairman says he’d investigate Democrats who backed Bush policies

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Monday February 23, 2009

In little noticed one-line remark on Sunday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) endorsed the investigation of Democrats who approved of President George W. Bush’s policies as president that he aims to review as part of a “truth commission.”

The veteran Democrat has floated the idea of a “truth commission” to probe and put to rest alleged Bush Administration constitutional abuses, in areas such as wiretapping and harsh interrogation. Those who participated would likely be granted immunity from prosecution so long as their testimony is truthful, mirroring similar venues of public catharsis as were practiced in South Africa and Chile in previous decades.

Speaking to the New York Times’ Scott Shane, “Mr. Leahy said he has learned that the temptation to abuse powers in a crisis is bipartisan and the commission’s review should include the role of Democrats in Congress in approving the Bush policies. The work should be done in one year, he added, to avert accusations that it was being dragged out for political gain.”

Leahy’s commission has attracted unusual followers. While receiving a tepid response from President Barack Obama — who said he was “more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards” — former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he would cooperate if calling to speak.

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DOJ blocking Obama transition team from reviewing documents on wiretapping and torture.

Think Progress- By Amanda Terkel on Dec 12th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

According to the Blog of Legal Times, the Justice Department is blocking President-elect Obama’s agency review team’s request “to review classified legal opinions related to secret CIA and National Security Agency programs.” Included in these documents are the “legal rationale of the NSA’s warrantless spying program and the CIA’s detention and interrogation policies, among other intelligence initiatives.” According to a senior Justice Department official, they are “reluctant to provide the opinions to Obama’s team without permission from the two intelligence agencies whose activities they address.” (HT: Daily Kos and Talk Left)

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