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Thread: DOJ releases Bush post-9/11 memos

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    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
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    Default DOJ releases Bush post-9/11 memos

    DOJ releases Bush post-9/11 memos
    By: Josh Gerstein
    March 2, 2009 08:46 PM EST

    Weeks after the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush’s Justice Department issued a sweeping legal opinion declaring that American military forces operating on U.S. soil did not have to obey the Constitution’s limits on search and seizure of individuals and their property, documents released Monday show.

    In addition, Bush’s top lawyers argued that First Amendment rights “may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” said the October 2001 memo drafted by two former attorneys in the Office of Legal Counsel, John Yoo and Robert Delahunty.

    The memo’s conclusions remained the official but unannounced policy of the U.S. government for nearly seven years – until October 2008, when a new head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Bradbury, renounced much of the 2001 opinion, again without notice to the public.

    The memo and others surfaced as President Barack Obama’s administration demonstrated his stated commitment to transparency by revealing some of the most closely guarded legal secrets of his predecessor. The documents – long sought by critics of Bush’s expansive view of executive power – show that some of those legal claims proved to be too edgy even for the Bush administration, at least by the time it prepared to leave office.

    In 2001, Yoo and Delahunty argued that the Fourth Amendment protections against search-and-seizure didn’t apply to domestic military operations, as long as they were designed to deter and prevent further terrorist attacks.

    “We believe that the Constitution, properly interpreted, allows the President as Commander in Chief, and the forces under his control, to use military force against foreign enemies who operate on American soil, free from the constraints of the Fourth Amendment,” the pair wrote.

    Seven years later, another lawyer, Bradbury, rejected that out of hand.

    The 2001 opinion “states several propositions that are either incorrect or highly questionable,” Bradbury wrote in another newly-released memo. He labeled as “erroneous” Yoo’s conclusion that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to domestic military activity. He called the opinion’s assertions about war and the First Amendment “overbroad and general” and “not authoritative.”

    The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit to seek release of some of the opinions, said the claims about the authority of the armed forces were particularly disturbing.

    “That memo takes the position essentially that the Constitution doesn’t constrain the military inside the U.S. It’s a memo that sees war as a blank check for the president,” an ACLU lawyer, Jameel Jaffer, said. “That memo provides a great argument for the transparency we’d been calling for because I don’t think if that memo had been released when it was written it could have survived public scrutiny but the result of it not being released was that the Bush administration was able to build an entire national security strategy on top of it.”

    Several of the newly-disclosed memos were drafted by Yoo, who has been criticized by human rights advocates for penning a previously released opinion asserting that rough treatment of prisoners might not constitute torture unless it produced pain akin to that of organ failure. Justice withdrew that memo in 2004.

    Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment for this article.

    The documents suggest that Yoo was not a rogue operator, but that his views were consistent with the thoughts of other powerful attorneys in the administration. In Yoo’s memo on the legal use of the military within the U.S., he devotes his first footnote to a citation to a book chapter on executive power written by Lewis Libby, the vice presidential chief of staff who was later convicted of obstructing justice in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.

    A 2002 opinion from Yoo’s boss, Jay Bybee, seemed to bless the practice of extraordinary rendition—sending a prisoner to a foreign country without legal process—even in “borderline” cases where there was a substantial chance the prisoner would be tortured.

    “Although such transfers might violate our treaty obligations if such transfer is to a country where torture is likely, the applicable domestic law constraints arguably amount to little more than precatory policy statements,” wrote Bybee, who is now a federal appeals judge.

    The documents show that the Justice Department also repudiated another opinion Yoo co-authored in 2001 which found the president had the authority to withdraw from parts of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty without permission from Congress.

    “Just as Congressional action is not necessary when the president exercises his discretion not to enforce a law, so Senate approval is not necessary for a treaty suspension,” the ABM memo said. In 2007, Justice withdrew the main conclusions of that opinion, the records show.

    As the clock wound down on Bush’s term, administration lawyers seemed to do some last-minute legal housekeeping. Just five days before Obama was sworn in, Bradbury issued another memo stressing that a variety of conclusions the legal counsel’s office reached after the 2001 attacks were no longer valid.

    However, in an apparent bid to head off lawsuits and bar complaints against former officials, Bradbury added that he did not intend “to suggest in any way that the attorneys involved in the preparation of the opinions in question did not satisfy all applicable standards of professional responsibility.”

    On his second day in office, Obama formally repudiated all Bush-era legal memos on prisoner interrogation. Obama also nominated a strident critic of Yoo and Bybee’s work, Dawn Johnsen of Indiana University, to run the Office of Legal Counsel. Two other critics, Martin Lederman of Georgetown and David Barron of Harvard, were named to other slots in the office.
    © 2009 Capitol News Company, LLC

    DOJ releases Bush post-9/11 memos - Josh Gerstein - POLITICO.com
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    yeah, nice how the constitution and bill of rights just gets tossed out the window
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    among other things

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Angling for American Dictatorship. Funny how a couple of internal, secret memos and decisions made by a select group of cronies can override a document created over centuries by the American people.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    its disgusting. revolting! our forefathers would be turning in thier graves

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Despite the fact that Dubya tried to shred the Constitution you have Republicans claiming Obama is the real threat to America.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    ^ I still don't get that one

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Despite the fact that Dubya tried to shred the Constitution you have Republicans claiming Obama is the real threat to America.
    Yeah, I'd like to see some Republicans questioned about what Dubya did, particularly on shredding the Constitution, in the media. Of course, it'll never happen.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Yeah, I'd like to see some Republicans questioned about what Dubya did, particularly on shredding the Constitution, in the media. Of course, it'll never happen.
    Republicans would just say that Dubya did what he needed to do for the country's protection, which is why there wasn't another terrorist attack.

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Dubya took away more freedoms from Americans than any freedumb-hatin' turrist ever did or could.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    the patriot act
    need we say more.

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    Elite Member qwerty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurkur View Post
    Dubya took away more freedoms from Americans than any freedumb-hatin' turrist ever did or could.
    So much for the U.S. being a constitutional republic. The Bush Oligarchy was a disaster for personal and economic freedoms.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Yeah, I'd like to see some Republicans questioned about what Dubya did, particularly on shredding the Constitution, in the media. Of course, it'll never happen.
    Exchange that for pooping on one side of the Constitution, wiping their bottoms with the other, and setting fire to the document and you would be right.

  15. #15
    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Interesting priority on legal documents... U.S. Constitution is irrelevant, but "Hussein's" birth certificate is Number One.

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