3,686. 8/1/2002

“In August [1] 2002, the Justice Department advised the White House that torturing al Qaeda terrorists in captivity abroad ‘may be justified,’ and that international laws against torture ‘may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations’ conducted in President Bush’s war on terrorism, according to a newly obtained memo. If a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, ‘he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the Al Qaeda terrorist network,’ said the memo, from the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, written in response to a CIA request for legal guidance. It added that arguments centering on ‘necessity and self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability’ later.”

 – Mike Allen and Dana Priest, “Memo on Torture Draws Focus to Bush,” The Washington Post, June 9, 2004

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