Senate Should Vote No On ‘Torture Memo’ Author

Just Security publishes a piece citing a letter Mark, and other national security professionals signed opposing the nomination of Stephen Bradbury as general counsel for the Department of Transportation.  Bradbury served in the Bush administration and helped provide the legal cover for torture.

As acting director of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under President George W. Bush, Bradbury was the primary author of four now-infamous memos that provided legal authorization for a range of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” that are widely considered methods of torture or cruel treatment. (His memos have since been discredited, and in 2009, were formally withdrawn.) Even if one believes his legal justifications were defensible at the time, the Senate should not approve a nominee who authorized some of the most damaging and embarrassing national security policies in recent U.S. history. The senators on the committee should reject his nomination.

Bradbury’s memos concluded that waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions and forced nudity of detainees, among other things, either alone or in combination, did not violate the international Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), or the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 passed to similarly prohibit “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” of anyone in U.S. custody.

Awarding one of the key figures who approved that torture with a plum legal job implicitly undermines that consensus, and taints not only the Trump administration, but everyone who votes to affirm him. There are plenty of other qualified, ethical and independent legal professionals who can assume the important role of providing legal advice to ensure the safety and security of our nation’s transportation systems.

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