Bybee Rues Signature on Torture Memos

Friends say he regrets way the legal opinions were used
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2009 2:00 PM CDT
Jay Bybee on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Jay Bybee has told friends and colleagues that he regrets his role as one of the authors of the so-called torture memos, the Washington Post reports. Most notably, Bybee, who's now a federal judge, signed off on the 2002 memo that authorized waterboarding. "I've heard him express regret at the contents of the memo," said a friend. "I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused."

A former law clerk said Bybee has defended the legal reasoning of the memos but not the actual treatment of prisoners. "The spirit of liberty has left the republic," he quoted Bybee as saying. "Jay would be the sort of lawyer who would say, 'Look, I'll give you the legal advice, but it's up to someone else to make the policy decision whether you implement it,' " said another friend. Meanwhile, some are calling for Bybee’s impeachment, saying his part in the memos was unknown when his judgeship was confirmed.