Report May Indicate Ethical Violations by Bush Lawyers

The Open Society Institute joins leading human rights organizations in calling on U.S. Attorney General Holder to release a Bush administration report investigating the approval of torture by Justice Department lawyers.

The report highlights the findings of a Justice Department investigation examining whether legal advice sanctioning torture was consistent with professional ethical standards.

The Open Society Institute, along with 12 human rights, faith-based, and justice organizations, sent Holder a letter urging the timely release of the report, consistent with his commitment to transparency and openness.

The text of the letter is as follows:

The Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We write to urge you to release the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report on its investigation into Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) legal advice that authorized abusive interrogations during the post-9/11 period. Release of this report is an essential step in making a clean break with the abusive practices, excessive secrecy, and faulty legal reasoning that have marred the United States’ reputation as a country that upholds the rule of law.

We welcomed your decision to release several OLC memoranda that authorized the use of abusive and illegal interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, forced nakedness, stress positions, and exposure to frigid temperatures. But within the four corners of these legal documents is only a small part of the picture. When you released nine of the OLC memoranda in March you stated, “Americans deserve a government that operates with transparency and openness.” By releasing the OPR report you will demonstrate the administration’s continuing commitment to transparency and openness. You will also help strengthen a proper understanding of the important role played by government lawyers serving the United States.

1 2 3