Under pressure from civil liberties groups, a government agency has released documents vital to the understanding of the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war of terrorism.
The Justice Department has released nine secret memos and opinions that authorized some of the Bush administration’s national security policies, including a memo written by a department’s lawyer John Yoo that argued the Fourth Amendment does not apply to military activities inside the United States.
"These memos essentially argue that the president has a blank check to disregard the Constitution during wartime, not only on foreign battlefields, but also inside the United States," commented Jameel Jaffer, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.
He added, "We hope today’s release is a first step, because dozens of other OLC memos, including memos that provided the basis for the Bush administration’s torture and warrantless wiretapping policies, are still being withheld."
According to the ACLU, the full release of requested documents will help bring an end to "a lawless era."
In addition to the ACLU’s request for the memos, a coalition of human rights groups – including ACLU, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch – wrote to President Obama to request access to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
And a number of political and community leaders have called on President Obama to create a commission to investigate the detention, treatment and transfer of detainees during George W. Bush’s administration.