Office of Professional Responsibility

Lawyers Cleared Over 9/11 Memos

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703787304575076064250798340.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

FEBRUARY 19, 2010, 9:18 P.M. ET

Lawyers Cleared Over 9/11 Memos

By JESS BRAVIN

WASHINGTON—A senior Justice Department official cleared two Bush administration lawyers of professional-misconduct allegations in connection with memorandums the lawyers wrote authorizing harsh interrogations.

The decision by David Margolis, the deputy associate attorney general, overruled internal findings that the Bush officials committed professional misconduct and should be referred to their state bar associations for disciplinary proceedings.

The legal work was at the heart of the debate over Bush-era practices in the war on terror, with critics calling the practices approved in the memorandums torture. Mr. Margolis didn't endorse the legal work performed by the lawyers, John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who drafted the once-secret memorandums. But the men should not face punishment, Mr. Margolis decided, because the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks placed them under extraordinary pressure and it would be unfair to hold them to "best practices" after the fact.