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Torture Memo Gave White House Broad Powers
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of ABC News

ABC News, April 2, 2008
Posted: April 10th, 2008

The Justice Department's newly declassified torture memo outlined the broad legal authority its lawyers gave to the Bush White House on matters of torture and presidential authority during times of war. The March 14, 2003 memorandum ... provided legal "guidance" for military interrogations of "alien unlawful combatants," and concluded that the president's authority during wartime took precedence over the individual rights of enemies captured in the field. The memo ... determined that amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which in part protect rights of individuals charged with crimes, do not apply equally to enemy combatants. "The Fifth Amendment due process clause does not apply to the president's conduct of a war," the memo noted. It also asserted, "The detention of enemy combatants can in no sense be deemed 'punishment' for purposes of the Eighth Amendment," which prohibits "cruel and unusual" forms of punishment. The memo was drafted by John Yoo, who was at the time the deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Former aides to John Ashcroft say the then-attorney general privately dubbed Yoo "Dr. Yes" for being so closely aligned with lawyers at the White House. The memo also provided an argument in defense of government interrogators who used harsh tactics in their line of work. The memo also laid out a defense against the authority of the U.N. Convention Against Torture, or CAT. Jack Goldsmith who headed OLC from October 2003 to July 2004, and worked at the Pentagon before coming to the department ... described the problems he had reviewing and standing by Yoo's work. "My first [reaction] was disbelief that programs of this importance could be supported by legal opinions that were this flawed."

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