The Department of Justice released four previously undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel opinions yesterday that were issued to the CIA in 2002 and 2005 to guide the treatment of prisoners apprehended in connection with the war on terrorism.
According to Bloomberg, the documents show that Justice Department lawyers authorized CIA to use techniques such as sleep deprivation, slapping, nudity and waterboarding.
Attorney General Eric Holder said officials who acted in good faith based on the legal advice from the Justice Department, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not be prosecuted.
"It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department," Holder said.
In response, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a lawsuit earlier this year to obtain the memos, said in a statement that those who "gave legal blessings to acts of torture" should be prosecuted.
Amnesty International, while welcoming the release, expressed a similar opinion to that of ACLU.
In the view of executive director Larry Cox "The Department of Justice appears to be offering a get-out-of-jail-free card to individuals who … were involved in acts of torture."