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Context of 'March 11-16, 2004: OLC Clarifies Stance on Classified Foreign Intelligence Activities'

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The new head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jack Goldsmith, sends a classified memo to Deputy Attorney General James Comey. The contents of the memo remain secret, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will later learn that the memo concerns classified foreign intelligence activities (see February 25, 2003). (American Civil Liberties Union [PDF] 1/28/2009 pdf file) (The ACLU has Goldsmith as the author of the memo, even though he is not nominated for the OLC slot until May 2003 (Savage 2007, pp. 183) , and will not be confirmed for the position until five months after that (see October 6, 2003). The reason for the apparent discrepancy is not immediately discernible.)

The head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jack Goldsmith, and OLC lawyer Robert Delahunty, send a classified memo to the Defense Department. The contents of the memo remain secret, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will later learn that the memo concerns the Geneva Conventions as they apply to the treatment of detainees in US custody. Presumably, the memo is in reference to previous legal advice submitted to Goldsmith by an OLC attorney-adviser regarding Geneva (see October 31, 2003). (American Civil Liberties Union [PDF] 1/28/2009 pdf file; Nguyen and Weaver 4/16/2009)

The head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jack Goldsmith, sends a classified memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. The contents of the memo will remain secret, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will learn that it clarifies the OLC’s advice on classified foreign intelligence activities. Goldsmith sends another classified memo on the same topic to Deputy Attorney General James Comey the next day, a followup memo to Comey three days later, and a followup to Gonzales the day after that. (American Civil Liberties Union [PDF] 1/28/2009 pdf file)


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