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October 19th, 2009
01:36 PM ET

Obama wrong to release interrogation memos

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/05/22/torture.health.effects/art.guantanmo.afp.gi.jpg caption="A U.S. miliary guard stands inside the Camp V area at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba"]

Michael V. Hayden
Special to CNN

I know that the story has moved on, that the outline of the journalistic narrative has been set, and that the "first draft" of history has been just about finalized. Before the ink dries though, I would like to offer at least a footnote.

And this footnote has to do with President Obama's decision in April to release opinions drafted by the Department of Justice that detailed the CIA's interrogation program for high-value al Qaeda detainees.

Specifically, it has to do with the argument made publicly and privately by the administration that its hand was being forced by a pending decision in a Freedom of Information Act case by the American Civil Liberties Union before Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York.

Indeed, when Obama visited the CIA the Monday after the release of the documents, he specifically cited this argument in his remarks to the work force.

He said that he released "... the Justice Department Office of Legal Council (OLC) memos as a consequence of a court case that was pending and to which it was very difficult for us to mount an effective legal defense. ..."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Guantanomo Bay • Torture
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