Letter from Jack Goldsmith to Scott Muller re: CIA's Request Reaffirming Legal Principles Applicable to CIA Detention and Interrogation

<p>This letter from Jack Goldsmith to Scott Muller relates to Muller's request that OLC &quot;reaffirm three pages of bullet points&quot; titled &quot;Legal Principles Applicable to CIA detention and Interrogation of Captured Al-Qa'ida Personnel.&quot; Goldsmith responds that the &quot;Legal Principles . . . did not and do not represent an opinion or a statement of the views of this Office,&quot; and that the CIA needs to put their own views in writing before the OLC will issue their written opinion.&nbsp;[OLC Vaughn Index #30] &nbsp;(Identical, except for attachment, to ACLU RDI 4568.)</p>

Thursday, June 10, 2004
Sunday, August 23, 2009

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel TOP CRET,' NO Office of the Assistant Attorney General Washington, D. a 20530 June 10, 2004 Scott W. Muller, Esq. General Counsel Central Intelligence Agency Washington, D.C. 20505 Dear Scott: By a letter dated March 2, 2004, you asked me to "reaffirm" three pages of bullet points, entitled "Legal Principles Applicable to CIA Detention and Interrogation of Captured Al-Qa'ida Pers nnel." You indicated that our Office had approved these bullet points in June 2003. I have further inquired into the circumstances surrounding the creation of the bullet points in the spring of 2003. These inquiries have reconfirmed what I have conveyed to you before, namely, that the bulkt points did not and do not represent an opinion or a statement of the views of this Office. As I previously advised you, to respond to your current request for an opinion, my Office will first need your views in writing on the legal questions to be addressed. The longstanding practice of our Department and our Office is to require such a expression of views from an agency seeking our written opinion. The practice extends at least as far back as 1924, when Attorney General Stone issued a letter to all cabinet officers and the Secretary to the President, requesting that agencies submit "the written opinion of the chief law officer of the Department, Board, Bureau, or Commission, based upon the facts and documents" when asking for the opinion of the Attorney General. Letter for Government Officials, from Harlan F. Stone, Attorney General (Sept. 15, 1924) (emphasis deleted). This Office now carries out the Attorney General's opinion-writing function, 28 C.F.R. 0.25(a), and follows the same procedure. The requirement of an opinion from the requesting agency helps to ensure the completeness and legitimacy of the process by which our Office issues opinions. To be sure, our Office has not applied the policy with complete uniformity, especially where operational needs have made such a process impractical or where the White House Counsel, OMB, or our own Department is the TOPS ET, Y-) DOJ OLC 001071 requester. Nevertheless,--this practice seems particularly prudent here, where the issues deservethe fullest exploration, and here many of the facts and practices necessary for the analysis within your expertise. -fall I look forward to hearing from you so that we may proceed as expeditiously as possible on your important request. (U) rely, gkL. Goldsmith Ill TOP,e161 DOJ OLC 001072 P. 1 * * * TRANSMISSION RESULT REPORT ( JUN.10.PmnA . :41grpm ) * * *. DATE.TTI TIME . ADDRESS. MODE. TIME PAGE RESULT . 3:47PM.PERS. NAME COMPATIBLE.FILE G-TS. 2'26" P. 3 -OK 417 * DRTCH M : MEMORY C CONFIDENTIAL $ : TRANsFtR S : STANDARD L : SEND LATER R-: RSC MODE D : DETAIL p MARDI".P : POLLING E 1-; MIL_STD MODE ; G-: RICEH-MS/COMPATIBLE MODE REDUCTION DOJ OLC 001073