The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating memos and opinions rendered by the department that endorsed the practice of waterboarding, which many consider to be torture. The inquiry is unrelated to the FBI’s criminal investigation of the CIA, which destroyed video recordings of the waterboarding of suspects.

New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department revealed on Friday that its internal ethics office is investigating the department’s legal approval of waterboarding of Al Qaeda suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency and is likely to make public an unclassified version of its report.

The disclosure by H. Marshall Jarrett, head of the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, was the first public acknowledgment of an internal review of the series of legal memorandums the department has issued since 2002 authorizing waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods.

His report could become the first public accounting for legal advice that endorsed methods widely denounced by human rights groups and legal authorities as torture. Mr. Jarrett’s office can refer matters for criminal prosecution, but legal experts said the likely outcome was a public critique of the legal opinions on interrogation, conceivably including reprimands for some current or former Justice Department attorneys who drafted them.

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