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Jeh Johnson Signals An End To Haynes Era At DOD

While I don’t want to step on my colleagues’ coverage of Eric Holder’s hearings, I’m at the Dirksen building for the joint confirmation hearings of Detp. of Defense subcabinet officials-designate Bill Lynn (deputy secretary), Robert Hale (comptroller), Michele Flournoy (undersecretary for policy), and Jeh Charles Johnson (general counsel).

The hearing is just being gaveled in as I type, but in Johnson’s answers to prepared questions, the general counsel-designate indicated he’ll be tearing up the legal opinions of his predecessor, Jim Haynes, which the Senate Armed Services Committee tied to the torture that has occurred under the Rumsfeld-controlled Pentagon.

If confirmed, are there specific categories of General Counsel legal opinions that you expect to reconsider and possibly revise? If so, what categories?

If confirmed, one of my objectives is to asses whether the DoD General Counsel’s legal opinions currently in effect need to be reconsidered or revised.

What role do you expect to play, if confirmed, in the development and consideration (or reconsideration) of legal opinions by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the Department of Justce that directly affect the Department of Defense?

If confirmed, I expect to work with the Office of legal Counsel in the development, consideration and reconsideration of OLC legal opinions, while recognizing that the ultimate responsibility for the development of those opinions resides with the Department of Justice.

What actions would you take in response to an opinion issued by OLC with which you disagreed as a matter of proper interpretation of the law?

If OLC issued an opinion with which I materially disagreed, I would not hesitate to inform OLC of the extend and nature of the disagreement, mindful, again, that the Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the United States and that his or her legal opinions are controlling throughout the Executive Branch.

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