Early report doesn’t recommend charges for torture memos

John Yoo is among the former Bush administration lawyers under scrutiny.
A preliminary internal report on the Justice Department investigation into the Bush Justice Department authors of the "torture memos" does not call for them to be criminally prosecuted for the writing and distribution of the controversial legal policies but raises the possibility of sanctions by state bar associations, according to two government sources familiar with the report.

The draft, which now goes to Attorney General Eric Holder for approval or revisions, is expected to be finalized in the coming days and is likely to be made public in the near future, Justice Department sources said Tuesday. Other sources say the investigators for the Justice Department’s ethics unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility, have focused heavily on internal communications involving former Office of Legal Counsel lawyers John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury. The three men were top officials in the Office of Legal Counsel who provided legal guidance, including allowable interrogation procedures to the executive branch agencies. The report is said to be critical of Yoo and Bybee in particular.

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A statement late Tuesday by Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, who received an update from the Justice Department on Monday night, appeared to confirm that Bradbury’s role may not be strongly criticized. “While we are disappointed to learn that DOJ allowed Steven Bradbury to participate in OLC’s ‘review and response’ to the report — despite the fact that he played a leading role in drafting the memos under review — we look forward to the prompt completion of this report,” the senators said.