Letter from Senator Joe Biden to Secretary of State Colin Powell re: Requesting the Release of State Department Memoranda on the Treatment of Detainees

Letter from Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) requesting Sec. of State Powell to have the State Department provide the Committee on Foreign Relations with copies of documents, and any other legal memoranda prepared after September 11, 2001, that interpret U.S. obligations for the treatment of prisoners of war or detainees under the Geneva conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Doc_type: 
Letter
Doc_date: 
Friday, July 23, 2004
Doc_rel_date: 
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Doc_text: 

UNCLASSIFIED
RELEASED IN FULL
United states *nate
COMMITTEE ON FOREMN RELATIONS
WASIG NGTON, DC 20510-6225 t—
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July 23, 2004
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ANTONY J. SUN KIN. DI MOCAANC SERFS MEC TON
The Honorable Cohn L. Powell
Secretary of State
Washington. DC 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary:
In an interview last month (Fox News Sunday, June 13, 2004), you stated, "I am deeply
troubled by what happened at Abu Ghraib. I'm devastated by it." In this same interview you also
noted, "What I have to do now is .... let the Congress perform its oversight role." I write today
to request your assistance in that regard.
I understand that there are several memoranda written by Department officials related to
the inter-agency discussions about the scope of U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions
and the Convention Against Torture. These include:
• Memorandum from William H. Taft, IV, Department of State, Office of the Legal
Adviser, Re: Response to the January 9 Yoo/Delahunty memo (Jan. 11, 2002);
• Memorandum for Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President, from Secretary of
State Colin Powell, Re: Response to the Gonzales draft memo of January 25, 2002
(Jan. 26, 2002); and
• Memorandum for Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to•the President, from William H.
Taft, IV, Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser, Re: Comments on your
paper on the Geneva Convention (Feb. 2, 2002).
None of these documents, nor any other State Department documents, were part of the
group of documents released by the White House on June 22. Furthermore, in a July 1 letter to
the Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Ashcroft refused to turn over any documents written
by the Department of State, stating that the request for State Department documents should be
directed to you.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
REVIEW AUTHORITY: SHARON E AHM AD
DATE/CASE ID: 30 SEP 2004 200303827
UNCLASSIFIED
DOS-000424
UNCLASSIFIED
The Secretary of State
July 23, 2004
Page Two
So that the Congress may have a better understanding of the government deliberations on
the interrogation standards applicable to detainees held by the U.S. government, I request that
you provide the Committee on Foreign Relations with copies of these three documents, and any
ther4egal-inumerandrimeputedzafteTS . . o igations for the
treatment of prisoners of war or detainees under the Geneva Conventions, the Convention
Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Thank you for your attention to this request.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Ranking Minority Member
UNCLASSIFIED
DOS-000425

Doc_nid: 
5968
Doc_type_num: 
69