Yoo's Memos Gave Retroactive Cover | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Yoo's Memos Gave Retroactive Cover

A Justice Department inquiry has found that the Bush administration's legal opinions justifying the torture of "war on terror"- detainees were hastily drafted after one prisoner was already subjected to waterboarding, a practice that creates the sensation of drowning, according to several sources familiar with the still-classified report.

The implication of the finding is that John Yoo and other lawyers for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel violated ethical standards by collaborating with senior White House officials to create legal cover for violating anti-torture and other federal statutes after the fact, rather than providing objective advice for future actions.

The finding also undercuts President George W. Bush's chief legal defense for authorizing abusive treatment of detainees, that he and other administration officials were following what they regarded as independent legal opinions from the OLC, the office that advises the White House on the limits of its constitutional authority.

As more becomes known about the genesis of those OLC opinions, the evidence increasingly points to a different reality, that Bush and his top aides essentially worked with Yoo and the OLC to fix the legal opinions around their desired policy, even to justify actions that had already occurred.