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Former Bush Lawyers Will Not Face Sanctions for “Torture Memos”
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A forthcoming Department of Justice report from the Office of Professional Responsibility will clear Bush administration lawyers of professional misconduct in their authorship of memos that many consider a justification for torture. Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor, are the two lawyers mainly responsible for the memos. The probe is extremely critical of the legal reasoning used to justify water boarding and “enhanced” interrogation techniques many consider torture but there are indications that the Justice Department has “softened” the language they use in their condemnation.

Initially the report stated that Bybee and Yoo violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they authored the 2002 memos approving the use of questionable tactics. David Margolis, a department veteran and the “reviewer” of the report, has reportedly downgraded the language of the report to say that the two lawyers showed “poor judgment”. Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct. The original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for possible disciplinary action, which could have led to an impeachment inquiry in Bybee’s case.

The report is still being declassified but will provide new details about how water boarding was adopted and the role top White House officials played in the process.

  
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