'Weighty' Torture Memo Decision Took Weeks

President's belief in rule of law won out in choice to release Bush-era memos
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2009 7:32 AM CDT
President Barack Obama considered releasing Bush-era memos on harsh interrogation techniques "a weighty decision," according to a senior adviser.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – President Obama spent weeks thinking "very long and hard" about his "weighty decision" to release memos on harsh CIA interrogation techniques green-lighted by the Bush administration, senior adviser David Axelrod tells Politico. In the end, Axelrod says, the president's belief in transparency and the rule of law won out over the principle of the sanctity of covert operations.

Obama, though, is catching flak from several directions for the decision. A top official from the Bush administration said publicizing the use of techniques such as the "confinement box" was giving terrorists too much information and could jeopardize national security, while liberal critics of Bush complained about Obama's assurances that the government officials involved would not be prosecuted.