March 3rd, 2009
05:00 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama releases internal Bush Justice Department memos

Attorney General Eric Holder says the government can fight terrorism while also honoring the Constitution.

Attorney General Eric Holder says the government can fight terrorism while also honoring the Constitution.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration Monday released nine previously secret internal Justice Department memos and opinions defining the legal limits of government power in combating terrorism.

The Bush administration had refused to make the documents public, rejecting demands from congressional Democrats.

The release ends a tug-of-war over copies of controversial legal guidance from the post-9/11 period that advocated greatly expanded executive power to combat terrorism.

Among the documents from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is a 2001 memo declaring that in terrorism cases the military may conduct searches in the United States without a warrant if approved by the president.

"We conclude that the president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States," wrote John Yoo, then a deputy assistant attorney general. "We further believe that the use of such military force generally is consistent with constitutional standards, and that it need not follow the exact procedures that govern law enforcement operations." Read the memo

The October 23, 2001, memo was sent to then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales later became Bush's attorney general.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Had It

    Oh My – now let's read Cheney's emails. What? They can't be found? Oh My.

    March 3, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Todd

    and the problem with this is???????

    Terrorists, people. This only applies to terrorists!!! Get over party affiliation and remember what things were like in 2001!

    March 3, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Axl in Iowa

    I don't think Holder "HONORS" the constitution at all. I think Holder should be fired. Bet he hasn't paid his taxes either.

    March 3, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. Tom in S.A.

    If your not a terrorist none of this should bother you.

    March 3, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Freed_From_W

    Actually, what the memo states is that the President may order military strikes, searches and seizures on both locations and people without divulging why it is necessary to do so to the target if the intended target has been deemed a "terrorist". If captured alive, the target does not have to have the charges they are being held for explained to them, and they do not have the right to a trial under US law.

    Who determines if that person is a "terrorist"? ... The President.

    I'm not quite sure why there aren't riots in the streets right now. I'm furious at this!! How is this not dictatorial power?!?!

    March 3, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. George

    Under Bush the US adopted the German doctrine of "Night and Fog" How strange, the greatest generation which included his father died by the thousands to stop this kind of government policy.

    March 3, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. John

    The former JUSTICE DEPT made G W BUSH an EMPEROR or KING not having to answer to anyone! (even AMERICAN CITIZENS)

    March 3, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. Mary Diaz

    Whats wrong with this people, the Obama team do not seem to understand that we are still in War, how can they make this public
    at this time. Think what they are going to do to our troops, This Administration is out of control and by the way I voted for Obama.

    March 3, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. Lush Limprick is the HEAD of the Republican NAZI Committee

    President Obama, that is the type tranparentancy we wanted when the majority of the voters voted for change on 11/04!

    We knew the shrub was acting like he was a dictator now it is verified.


    March 3, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |