House Judiciary Releases OPR Report on Torture Memos
By Ryan J. Reilly | February 19, 2022 5:52 pm

In a classic Friday night document dump, the House Judiciary Committee released the long-awaited Department of Justice report on the conduct of former Office of Legal Counsel lawyers Jay Bybee and John Yoo, authors the so-called 2002 “torture memo” authorizing harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects.

The report by the DOJ’s ethics watchdog, the Office of Professional Responsibility, was more than five years in the making. Its release was delayed repeatedly as Bybee and Yoo sought additional time to respond. An earlier draft of the report concluded that Bybee, now a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Yoo, a law professor, had failed to meet professional standards when drafting  the flawed legal advice on interrogations, which the Bush administration later withdrew.

But DOJ veteran David Margolis, a career lawyer who has helped run the department for many years, softened the conclusion to say Bybee and Yoo showed only “poor judgment,” Newsweek previously reported.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced his panel would hold a hearing on the report next Friday.

“I have said before that if the Judiciary Committee, and the Senate, knew of Judge Bybee’s role in creating these policies, he would have never been confirmed to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench,” Leahy said in a statement. “The right thing to do would be for him to resign from this lifetime appointment.”

Here are the documents. We’ll update with new information as we go through them.

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