News Release

Obama Shielding Torture Memo Lawyers?


Newsweek recently told readers that “an upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the ‘torture’ memos of professional-misconduct allegations.”

Cohn is immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She said today: “A prior draft of the Office of Professional Responsibility’s report reportedly determined that John Yoo and Jay Bybee violated their professional obligations by writing the now infamous 2002 torture memo. After several months and likely pressure from the White House, the OPR’s conclusion was downgraded to ‘poor judgment,’ which will not trigger potential discipline of Yoo and impeachment of Bybee. This is consistent with Obama’s approach of shielding Bush officials from accountability to curry favor with Republicans.”

Cohn’s books include Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and the forthcoming The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. She is featured in a new documentary film called “Tortured Law.” Cohn’s writing and an excerpt from the documentary are at

See Cohn’s past piece ” War Criminals, Including Their Lawyers, Must Be Prosecuted.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167