The Other Author of the DOJ ‘Torture’ Memos
By Andrew Ramonas | February 22, 2022 5:53 pm

A junior ex-Justice Department lawyer played a pivotal role in drafting the memos that authorized harsh interrogation methods, Talking Points Memo reported today.

Jennifer K. Hardy (Kirkland & Ellis)

Former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer Jennifer Koester, now Jennifer K. Hardy, wrote early drafts of the “torture” memos, consulting with her superiors, including ex-OLC official John Yoo, who was recently cleared of any misconduct stemming from the memos. She was less than 30 years old at the time, according to TPM.

Her name was redacted through all but one part of the final DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility report on possible misconduct in the authorization of the harsh interrogation methods, which included waterboarding. In an apparent oversight by the redactors, her name appears in a footnote in the report.

Here is the footnote found on page 50 of the final OPR report:

“In her notes, REDACTED raised several problems with the defenses, including the comment that self-defense “seems to me wholly implausible” because of the requirement that threatened harm to be imminent. In her interview with OPR, Koester told us that she ultimately resolved all of her problems with the defense, and concluded that the defenses were applicable to the torture statute.”

Koestler, who is now a partner at D.C. law firm Kirkland & Ellis, did not respond to a request for comment from TPM. Read more about her here.

Here are some more excerpts TPM found about her in the OPR documents released Friday by the House Judiciary Committee:

“According to Yoo, they agreed that REDACTED was the best choice, probably because she had recently joined OLC and therefore had some time available.”

“I have a number of large projects with different people. I would have said no but it didn’t seem like that was an option here,” Koestler wrote in an e-mail to a friend. She added that she enjoyed the projects but wanted “enough time to do a good job on it.”

“Koester, because of relative inexperience and subordinate position, did not commit misconduct,” but that “she appears to bear initial responsibility for a number of significant errors of scholarship and judgment.”



  1. James A says:

    Yes, why was that? I would have indeed expected Huffpost to take this up! Instead it was the TALKING POINTS MEMO to break the story! Well, I hope the Judiciary Committee holds hearings, and burns Koester-Hardy’s ass, as she so deserves!

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