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DOJ not recommending prosecution of CIA interrogation memo authors: report

[JURIST] US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] investigators have concluded that three former Bush administration lawyers responsible for authoring controversial CIA interrogation memos [JURIST news archive] should not face criminal prosecutions, according to Wednesday media reports. A draft report from the investigation has concluded that while no criminal prosecution should be conducted, professional sanctions [AP report] could be appropriate. The report suggests that two Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) [official website] lawyers, John Yoo and Jay Bybee [JURIST news archives], should be subject to some disciplinary action. The report also concludes that the third lawyer, Steven Bradbury [JURIST news archive] did not engage in behavior that warrants disciplinary action.

The recent release of four CIA interrogation memos [JURIST report] has renewed calls for the criminal prosecution of the memos' authors. Last week, chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official profile] invited [press release and letter; JURIST report] Bybee to testify before the committee. Leahy wants Bybee to explain apparently contradictory statements in which Bybee expressed regret [Washington Post report] for signing the memos and then defended [NYT report] his actions. Last month, UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC] said that the US must prosecute [JURIST report] DOJ lawyers who drafted the memos. US President Barack Obama has said that he would not rule out the possibility of prosecuting [transcript; JURIST report] lawyers responsible for authoring the memos. Obama had previously said that he would not pursue prosecutions of CIA interrogators [statement], a pledge which drew sharp international criticism [JURIST report].

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