A major civil liberties organization has petitioned the Justice Department to release secret memos dating from the time of the Bush administration.
In a letter to the department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) requested the release of the memos that provided the legal basis for the former administration’s controversial national security decisions.
"Releasing the memos would allow the public to better understand the legal basis for the Bush administration’s national security policies; to better understand the role that the OLC played in developing, justifying, and advocating those policies," ACLU wrote in the latter.
The memos in which the organization is particularly interested relate to interrogation, detention, rendition, surveillance and other policies conducted under the banner of the "war on terror."
The letter goes on to say that releasing the documents would send a message to the American people and the world that the government is ready to "turn the page on an era in which the OLC served not as a source of objective legal advice but as a facilitator for the executive’s lawless conduct."
After taking office on January 20, President Obama moved to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and prohibit the use of torture, but his executive order did not explicitly ban the controversial practice known as "extraordinary rendition."