February 19th, 2010
05:27 PM ET
11 years ago

Justice Dept. report recommends no action against Bush officials

Washington (CNN) - A long-awaited Justice Department internal investigation of Bush-era lawyers who authored so-called "torture" memos clears them of allegations of professional misconduct and recommends no legal consequences for their actions.

The report by the Justice Department ethics unit concludes the high-ranking lawyers who developed controversial legal opinions on waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques may have exercised poor judgment but not professional misconduct.

The detailed examination of the legal guidance authored by Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee found they did not constitute a professional breach that could have led to potential disbarment.

Filed under: Justice Department
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Stop the Nonsense

    The system works- they got there day in court. I may not like what they did or even the men involved, but if the courts siad they did nothing criminal in this matter, so be it.

    February 19, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Well, this is a sad day indeed. Bush & DICK threw our Constitution under the bus, when they decided to spy on every American citizen. Talk about our Rights being trashed! And when they decided to torture POW's and created secret foreign prisons. Sadly, they will not be held accountable in this world.

    But there is another Justice, whom they will answer to, eventually.

    February 19, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. get real

    But....we should go after the guys who says he's a fan of waterboarding. That man should be the first inmate in the super-max prision in northwestern Illinois.

    February 19, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. jwenko

    Can someone tell me how to get on the Palin-bashing list? Everytime I want to leave a comment when she does something stupid, the comments fill up to the 300 max limit the moment the story hits the wire.
    Thanks in advance!

    February 19, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. MAnderson

    No surprise here.

    February 19, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Seth

    Unbelievable the way this BOZO administration went after GW.

    GW has integrity and faith that he puts into action.

    If they had spend ANY time investigating President Obama's Czars,
    then that would have been a better use of their time. Thankfully, Glen Beck is an ace investigator.

    February 19, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Same old same old

    I thought the Obama administration was going to bring our country back the respect we once had in the world. Unfortunately nothing has changed. Obama ran on the promise of the rule of law, something new in our country from the previous 3 years. To my mind that means the law applies to everyone. No one is exempted from prosecution based on who they are. But that doesn't seem to be the case. These people are war criminals starting from the top down and should be treated and prosecuted as such. Other countries are on the hunt for these people as war criminals. Let's hope they catch them since we won't stand up for our own principals.

    February 19, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Sean

    "Poor judgement" is one thing. "Poor judgement" that results in people being tortured and possibly even killed in the process is another thing entirely. This should not be discounted.

    February 19, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. Objective Thinking

    Bush-bashing in 3... 2... 1...

    February 19, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    OMG – Cheney and his torture (fun for him) will go unpunished?

    I want the names of the people that think the American AlQuaeda are innocent. Give me names - and addresses.

    February 19, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. JP

    This administration is becoming more and more disappointing... You have Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld getting away with war crimes while the Democrat controlled congress can't get anything done because they have no backbone... If we had elected Hillary we would not be having these problems because she would lay down the hammer!!! I like Obama and think he is a decent man but he does not understand how congress works...

    February 19, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. Dave

    In other words, the Bush administration had incompetent lawyers making these judgements. There's a shocker. Idiots tend to hire idiots and Bush pretty much stuck to the script.

    February 19, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Bull Pucky!

    These crimianls should be sitting in a cell with the other war criminal Dick Cheney!


    February 19, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  14. OldUncleTom

    If it was a professional breach to be a very bad lawyer, we might run out of them quickly.

    If Yoo and Bybee made any professional mistake, it was in forgetting they were America's lawyers, not Dick Cheney's.

    February 19, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. jules sand-perkins

    "Actions against" Bush officials for what?
    The rants to "put them in prison, where they belong," have always been absurd.
    Bush, Cheney, et al tried to protect USA citizens from terrorists to the furthest extent possible. That's certainly more than can be said for President Obama, Vice President Biden (to properly respect them with job titles so no fans and worshipers are offended), et al.
    Go ahead, liberal ranters: write in to remind us that "the system worked."

    February 19, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  16. single mom

    Then someone needs to tell Holder to leave the CIA interrogators alone.
    Some people need to get out of their ivory towers and find out what the real world is about. There are fanatics who want to attack this country. The CIA and our military risk their lives to keep us safe and Holder and his ilk want to hamstring that capability.

    February 19, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. mjm

    I could have told you that.

    What else you got libs? Other than 9-10% unemployment and 3-4 trillion debt in 1 year?

    February 19, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. A. Smith, Oregon

    Such a surprise! US Justice finds US Justice not guilty!

    If a layperson kidnapped a goat herder in Afghanistan, imprisoned him for 7 long years with frequent amounts of torture sprinkled into the routine of sleep depervation, constant interrogations and beatings. That layperson would spend the rest of his life in prison.

    Bush jr and his long time crony Dick Cheney orders their DC lawyers to re-write laws which Bush jr. pens into legal standings to permit that crass unconstitutional abuse, its LEGAL!

    Thankfully, the utterly corrupt US Justice system is not the only Justice system in the world. European Courts have a great deal of clout when it comes to applying substantial monetary damage claims against such unlawful practices.

    Americans and their European friends need to bypass US Justice entirely. Take cases against Bush-Cheney and their cohorts directly to the World Courts and European Justice System for jurisprudence and actual justice.

    February 19, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. JoeAvalon

    While I don't know enough about the law to know whether this was an appropriate judgement, I do know enough to recognize that this reveals a remarkable hole in our system of check and balances and presidential accountability.

    These lawyers worked for a justice department office which was responsible for verifying whether presidential actions are legal. I strongly suspect they were strong armed by their counterparts lawyers in the White House. Their actions essentially provided a "get out of jail free card" for one of the most reprehensible actions ever taken by a president of the United States. Torture is never acceptable, and is one of the few things that differentiate us and the "bad guys".

    If we accept this legal shift of accountability from the president to the justice department, then we should be holding the lawyers who signed off on it responsible for the resulting war crimes. If we don't hold either side accountable, then our government is existing in a de-facto state of the president being completely above the law.

    February 19, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Torture or condoning torture is not poor judgment. It is TORTURE plain and simple. So much for real justice in the US.

    February 19, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. Nik

    this makes me sick, but doesn't surprise me one bit

    February 19, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Susie

    "Poor judgment?" Tell that to the people who died at the heads of our interrogators. Tell that to the innocent people held for years in that torture chamber Republicans are so fond of. This decision reeks of politics, not justice. The Obama administration is afraid of finding more fault with the Bushies....so it will be up to foreign nations to bring them to justice after all. This is a sad day for the Constitution.

    February 19, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Richard in California

    I don't understand how anyone can consider themselves a patriotic American, and not feel 100% that Bush administration officials, up to and including Cheney and Bush, should be prosecuted as war criminals. Cheney just admitted that he supported and defended waterboarding. This is a war crime.

    By all that is good and American, this MUST be investigated. Otherwise, the moral fabric of the US is torn apart, and the terrorists succeed in making America truly a land with no firm morals or beliefs.

    Anyone who claims that this is politically untouchable is looking out for their own political skin, and is pushing America off the cliff.

    February 19, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    OK, so now even the uber-liberal Obama Justice Dept. says there was no wrongdoing. Will you 'war crimes' nut jobs give it a rest now? Better yet, volunteer for the military and serve in Afghanistan and see how easy you think it is.

    February 19, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. RAG

    Don't you lovers of justice worry, they will burn in Hell forever.

    February 19, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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