State Dept Lawyer: White House Tried To Destroy My Alternative Memo On Torture

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April 21, 2009 10:06 am
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As David noted over at TPM, there was some potentially big news in a blog post that was written this morning over at Foreign Policy by Philip Zelikow, a top State Department lawyer under Condoleezza Rice.

Zelikow wrote that, in 2005, he had written a memo on the legality of harsh interrogation techniques that expressed an “alternative view” to the OLC memos. He continued:

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.

Trying to get a copy of the memo, we contacted Zelikow. He declined to add much to his blog post, but did say, via email:

The memo I mentioned was highly classified at the time. So any extant copies, or drafts, would only be in an appropriate government safe. Any extant copies at State would be in their archival facilities for top secret papers from my files, or possibly Bellinger’s files, or Secretary Rice’s files.

We’ve contacted the State Department, as well as John Bellinger, who served as Rice’s chief legal adviser at the department, and is now at the Washington law firm Arnold & Porter. We’ll keep you posted…

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