Leahy Announces Hearing On OPR Report

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Office of Professional Responsibility Report on the Office of Legal Counsel, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today.  The report was released to Congress today. 

The hearing will be held Friday, February 26, at 10:00 a.m.  Witnesses will be announced in the coming days, and the hearing will be webcast live online.

Below is Chairman Leahy’s comment on the report.

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On The Release Of A Report By OPR
On The Office Of Legal Counsel Memoranda
February 19, 2010

“The report from the Office of Professional Responsibility is acondemnation of the legal memoranda drafted by key architects of the Bush administration’s legal policy, including Jay Bybee and John Yoo, on the treatment of detainees.  The deeply flawed legal opinions proffered by these former OLC officials created a ‘golden shield’ that sought to protect from scrutiny and prosecution the Bush administration’s torture of detainees in U.S. custody.  In drafting and signing these unsound legal analyses, OLC attorneys sanctioned torture, contrary to our domestic anti-torture laws, our international treaty obligations and the fundamental values of this country. 

“I have serious concerns about the role each of these government lawyers played in the development of these policies.  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.  The right thing to do would be for him to resign from this lifetime appointment. 

“As a United States Senator, as a former prosecutor, and as an American citizen, I am offended by the premeditated approach taken by former high-ranking officials in the Office of Legal Counsel in constructing the legal underpinnings of seriously flawed national security policies.”

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The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on “The Office of Professional Responsibility Investigation into the Office of Legal Counsel Memoranda” for Friday, February 26, 2010, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

            By order of the Chairman.

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