The American Civil Liberties Union announced that it had filed suit against the Justice Department today, demanding that it release a report on possible ethics violations by the authors the Bush administration’s so-called "torture memos."
In November, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said that the report by the department's Office of Professional Responsibility was complete and that he expected it to be made public by the end of the month. According to its suit, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the report in December.
“The Bush torture program has severely damaged America’s standing in the world,” ACLU lawyer Alex Abdo said in a statement. “We cannot move forward from that lawless era until we investigate and account for violations committed by those responsible for this illegal program. The results of the OPR’s ethics probe are a crucial part of that process. The report must be released now.”
The ACLU did not immediately return a call for additional comment.
The OPR report is expected to discuss whether lawyers in the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel committed any misconduct when they issued memos approving harsh interrogation methods many say amounted to torture. The four memos at the center of the report were released in April following a suit by the ACLU.
In an interview, Abdo said:
“At this point, two months after [Holder] said the report was complete, political reasons might be holding up the release. If that’s the case, we think it’s important that there be an explanation of those reasons. But in any event, we think the report should be released sooner rather than later.”
He added that the release of the report would be a "modest starting point" for an inquiry into the Bush administration's interrogation programs.