OLC’s Overseers Will Get to See Their Handiwork

The Hill reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee will get to read the Office of Legal Counsel memos authorizing the targeting of Anwar al-Awlaki tomorrow.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told The Hill that he and other members of the panel will be given access to the detailed Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos, which lay out the administration’s legal support for targeting U.S. citizens who are suspected of being terrorists, pose an “imminent threat” to U.S. national security and for whom capture is not an option.

On Tuesday Leahy said the administration was planning to make documents available for committee members to read on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the panel’s ranking member, is also planning to attend, according to his spokeswoman.

It appears that this will be one of those quickie reviews, where Senators are not allowed to share with lawyers who will conduct more in-depth analysis.

Also no word on whether the House Judiciary Committee will laso get to glimpse these memos.

They really don’t want people to really scrutinize these memos, I guess.

5 replies
  1. liberalrob says:

    All this will really “prove” is that the memos exist, then. Which we already knew.

    How I wish someone would rig up Leahy’s glasses with a spy camera, Mission:Impossible style, and record the memos as he reads them.

  2. sOLbus says:

    How does one know with certainty that these are truly the original memos?

    Is there a kind of document proofing process that follows them from origination to the now? I just wouldn’t expect the metadata to be all that reliable. Really, I’m just curious, I have no idea how these things are authenticated.

  3. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @sOLbus: Check the fonts and the kerning, it’s the only way to be sure.

    Now, since these are Obama-era memos, I’m sure that the deception is hidden in layers of weasel-worded legalese.

    Unlike Bush-era memos, which were on large pieces of construction paper, with “KILL! KILL! KILL!” scrawled in crayon. Plus drool-stains, from Cheney.

  4. Shoirca says:


    Leahy could read the memos on the Senate floor.

    On June 29,1971, to ensure the possibility of public debate about the content of the Pentagon Papers, US Senator Mike Gravel entered 4,100 pages of the Papers to the record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds. These portions of the Papers were subsequently published by Beacon Press.

    Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution provides that “for any Speech or Debate in either House, [a Senator or Representative] shall not be questioned in any other Place”, thus the Senator could not be prosecuted for anything said on the Senate floor, and, by extension, for anything entered to the Congressional Record, allowing the Papers to be publicly read without threat of a treason trial and conviction. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in the decision Gravel v. United States.

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