Despite Holder’s Pledge, Justice Department Torture Report Not Yet Out

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December 1, 2009 6:21 a.m.

That long-awaited Justice Department report on torture may keep us waiting a little longer.

Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress in mid-November that the report would be out by the end of the month. So today, we asked the Justice Department where it was.“We’ll have something for you soon,” a Justice Department spokeswoman told TPMmuckraker via email.

But soon afterwards, a second spokeswoman responded with a less positive-sounding assessment:

Once the review process is complete, we hope to make as much of the report available as possible. I don’t have a specific date, but expect it will be in the not too distant future.

We followed up, asking whether we were talking about a matter of days, weeks, or months, and — given Holder’s recent assurances to Congress — what the cause of this latest hold-up is.

The spokeswoman responded: “No delay … Going through the normal review process.”

Holder told Congress on November 18 that a career prosecutor still had to review the report. “We expect that process should be done by the end of the month. At that point the report should be issued.”

Back in June, Holder told Congress the report would be out “in a matter of weeks.”

Based on leaked information, it seems clear that the report, by DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility, will be critical of the work of DOJ lawyers like John Yoo who approved torture, and could lead to disciplinary measures for Yoo and others.

Other leaks have suggested that the report had been held up previously in order to give Bush DOJ officials like former AG Michael Mukasey and his top deputy a chance to respond, and that former Bushies launched a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to pressure DOJ to soften the report.

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