It was only published online last night at about 8:30 PM. But already Congress is getting agitated about the New York Times story alleging that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issued secret orders justifying the use of harsh interrogation measures by the CIA that may have amounted to torture.
The Times' lengthy A1 report claims that Gonzales worked to tamp down a Justice Department rebellion against the White House's push for aggressive executive action in the fight against al Qaida. And the House Judiciary Committee is now the first to get in the game and call for the memos to be turned over to Congressional investigators. Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairmen of the Judiciary Committee on and the Subcommitee on Civil Liberties respectively, sought the secret memos in a letter just released this morning:
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.
A Committee spokesman told the Huffington Post that it is typically publishes all documents online that it receives from the Justice Department. That means that we could soon be one step closer to knowing the actual marching orders given to America's secret prison wardens.
Whether the Justice Department will comply with the request is another matter entirely - a spokesman was unavailable for comment at press time.