Secret Bush memos circumventing constitutional rights released to public

March 2, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The Obama administration earlier today released court documents Monday showing that the CIA destroyed 92 videos involving terror suspects, including interrogations far more than had been known. The administration also on Monday began turning over documents related to the videos to a federal judge to make as much information public as possible.

As part of that effort, the Justice Department released nine secret legal opinions showing that, following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration determined that certain constitutional rights need not apply.

The conclusion, in the pages of documents, was that the president had broad authority to set aside constitutional rights.

One of the legal memos suggested constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure would not apply to terror suspects in the U.S., as long as the president or another high official authorized the action.

A second memo showed that, within two weeks of Sept. 11, the administration was contemplating ways to use wiretaps without getting warrants.

Another suggested new restrictions on the press and speech, without spelling out what those might be.

While these were once important legal foundations of the U.S. fight against al-Qaida, the Bush administration eventually abandoned many of the legal conclusions.


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