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Conyers, Nadler Want DOJ Interrogation Memos

That didn't take long. The New York Times has a disturbing front-page story today on previously undisclosed memos by the Justice Department giving the CIA "explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures."

Now, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and civil liberties on Judiciary, want DOJ to turn over those documents to their panel.

They are also promising hearings on the issue soon.

Conyers and Nadler sent a letter to Peter Keisler, the acting attorney general, demanding to see copies of the legal opinions by Justice Dept. lawyers on these "severe" interrogation methods.

Here's the letter:

"We are writing about disturbing revelations in today’s New York Times story, "Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations." According to the article, the Department of Justice has issued two secret legal opinions since 2005 that have explicitly authorized the use of "painful physical and psychological tactics" on terrorism suspects, including one secret opinion that an anti-torture law passed by Congress did not prohibit such techniques. Both the alleged content of these opinions and the fact that they have been kept secret from Congress are extremely troubling, especially in light of the department’s 2004 withdrawal of an earlier opinion similarly approving such methods. We request that both these opinions be provided immediately to the Judiciary Committee, and that Steven Bradbury, the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel and the apparent author of the opinions, be made available for prompt committee hearings."