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Ethics Report Clears Bush Lawyers in Torture Memo

John Yoo and Jay Bybee accused only of 'poor judgment'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2010 1:54 PM CST
Ethics Report Clears Bush Lawyers in Torture Memo
A 2002 file photo of Jay Bybee.   (AP Photo, Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – Good news for the Bush lawyers who provided the legal rationale for waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics: An upcoming Justice Department report clears them of serious misconduct charges, reports Newsweek. The report's final reviewer softened an earlier version that accused John Yoo, now a law professor, and Jay Bybee, now a federal judge, of violating their professional obligations as lawyers.

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The new version merely accuses them of using "poor judgment." The distinction is huge, write Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, because the more serious charge could have led to investigations by state bar associations and even to the impeachment of Bybee. The report by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsiblity is still going through declassification.
(Read more John Yoo stories.)

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