Obama Defends Bush 'Torture Memo' Author

Yoo case should be up to executive, Congress, Justice Dept argues
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 8, 2009 2:38 PM CDT
President Barack Obama's Justice Department is defending John Yoo in a lawsuit.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – President Obama’s Justice Department is defending a Bush official being sued over his interrogation memos, ABC News reports. Lawyers for Jose Padilla, who was sentenced to 17 years in jail for conspiring to support Islamist extremists, are arguing in court that John Yoo’s memos were behind Padilla’s detention and torture. The Justice Department has moved to dismiss the California federal court case, saying the case against a government lawyer “is for the executive” or Congress “to decide.”

“This administration has made no secret of the fact that it disagrees with the previous administration’s approach to many legal issues in the national security arena,” said a Justice spokesman. “Nevertheless, the Department of Justice generally defends employees and former employees in lawsuits” linked to their official duties. But “we’re not saying we condone torture,” noted a Justice Department attorney.