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DoJ Releases Bush-era Terror Memos…and It’s Not Even Friday Afternoon Yet

If you heard a loud thud this afternoon, it might have been the sound of countless civil libertarians and human rights lawyers collectively hitting the floor. That’s because the Justice Department today released a slew of previously undisclosed Bush-era memos and opinions related to the “war on terror” from the Office of Legal Counsel. Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement in a [press release](who was recently a candidate for Republican National Committee chairman).

“Americans deserve a government that operates with transparency and openness,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “It is my goal to make OLC opinions available when possible while still protecting national security information and ensuring robust internal executive branch debate and decision-making.”

The two memoranda memorialized that certain legal propositions in ten OLC opinions issued between 2001 and 2003 no longer reflected the views of OLC and “should not be treated as authoritative for any purpose.” They further explained that some of the underlying opinions had been withdrawn or superseded and that “caution should be exercised” by the executive branch “before relying in other respects” on the other opinions that had not been superseded or withdrawn.

The release includes such classics as “Memorandum Regarding Constitutionality of Amending Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to Change the “Purpose” Standard for Searches (09-25-2001)” and “Memorandum Regarding Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a) to Military Detention of United States Citizens (06-27-2002).” And who could forget, “Memorandum Regarding October 23, 2001 OLC Opinion Addressing the Domestic Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities (10-06-2008).”

TWI’s own intrepid legal correspondent, Daphne Eviatar, is currently digging through the memos and seeking the opinions of other legal experts. You can expect much from her soon.

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