Leading House Judiciary Committee Democrats requested a memo written by former State Department counselor Philip Zelikow that reportedly argued that harsh interrogation methods used against suspected terrorists were illegal. Read the letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here and the letter to Acting Archivist of the United States Adrienne Thomas here.
The letters were signed by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and panel members Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.). The letters were sent last week but released publicly today.
Zelikow wrote on the Foreign Policy blog late last month that he questioned the legality of the interrogation methods authorized by the Bush administration in a May 2005 memo to the Justice Department. He said the Bush administration tried to destroy this memo.
“My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views,” Zelikow wrote. “They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo.”
He said on the blog that Americans “could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked, sleep deprived, water-boarded, and all the rest — if the alleged national security justification was compelling.” He added: “I did not believe our federal courts could reasonably be expected to agree with such a reading of the Constitution.”
Zelikow was counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Bush administration and executive director of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.