Disappearing the Historic Record

April 21, 2009 7:39 am

Via Spencer Ackerman, I see that former Bush State Department official (and 9/11 Commission executive director) Philip Zelikow now says that not only did the Bush torture architects solicit terrible legal advice from the likes of Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury — but they actively worked to erase any evidence that dissenting legal advice was given:

At the time, in 2005, I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn’t entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable. My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views. They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department’s archives.

Can we see the Zelikow memo, please?

Late Update: We may not be seeing the memo anytime soon. Zelikow tells TPMmuckraker that it was highly classified, and any remaining drafts or copies should be in a government safe.

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