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More OLC "War on Terror" Memos Released:
You can find them here. There's tons of stuff in there, and I'm starting to look through them now.
krs:
Very interesting. I don't understand this notation on the site: Due to public interest in this matter, the Department of Justice is releasing these documents in an inaccessible format. Accessible versions will be posted as soon as possible.
3.2.2009 5:54pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
@krs
It means they didn't immediately have the actual documents on computer so they scanned hard copies. They made pdfs out of the hard copies so you're not able to search or copy text.
3.2.2009 6:00pm
Eli Rabett (www):
They are images, and cannot be search by words.
3.2.2009 6:01pm
Anderson (mail):
I thought they meant to say "inaccessible to handicapped persons." But yes, that was pretty funny.
3.2.2009 6:02pm
Anderson (mail):
I'm especially curious to hear what Prof. Kerr may think of the 9/25/01 memo on the "purpose" standard for FISA searches.

(Pity it doesn't say when the memo was requested ... before 9/11, or after?)
3.2.2009 6:12pm
Podunk (mail):
However, since they didn't protect them to prevent running optical character recognition, and Adobe Acrobat (the non-reader only version) includes an OCR utility that worked nicely even on these blurry pdfs, I predict somebody has already put them up in searchable form somewhere. If only I had the bandwidth to spare...
3.2.2009 6:13pm
Common Man (mail):
I'm curious what Adobe thinks of having a PDF referred to as inaccessible...
3.2.2009 6:14pm
Putting Two and Two...:

They made pdfs out of the hard copies so you're not able to search or copy text.


Creating a PDF from a scanned document as an image is just a lot faster than running the OCR software to read the text and make the document searchable. Either format is still a PDF.
3.2.2009 6:17pm
Guest Poster (mail):
Based on these memos, OLC seems like a bit of an empty exercise, doesn't it? The President chooses people who will say "yes" to him. The October 2008 memo is a notable except, but by that point the horse had left the barn.
3.2.2009 6:22pm
Constantin:
I trust Barack's admin won't have any memos written he won't want to see made public. Because after this, I can guarantee you the next Republican president (or Hillary, depending on how she's treated) will return the favor.
3.2.2009 8:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Orin.
Why the quotes around War on Terror? Are the memos actually about something else?
3.2.2009 8:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
A minor aside on the subject of searchable vs. non-searchable pdfs. De facto RNC chairman Rush Limbaugh falsely accused the Democrats of deliberately issuing the stimulus bill in the form of a non-searchable pdf. Trouble is, the pdf was indeed searchable.
3.2.2009 8:52pm
Just an Observer:
I wondered why these opinions were released, but so far not others. What we are seeing today may just be the low-hanging fruit, it seems from a DOJ press release:

In light of the legitimate and substantial public interest in many of the questions raised in those opinions and in the evolution of OLC’s views on those questions, the Department has released the six of those underlying opinions from 2001-2003 that are not classified and that had not previously been disclosed.


Much of the really interesting stuff could still be classified.

An updated unofficial taxonomy of the OLC documents, secret and otherwise can be found here.
3.2.2009 9:46pm
Eli Rabett (www):
For the Feds, the issue of whether the document is accessible to those with poor vision is an issue. All government sites have to be. See threads about text to speech tools a bit earlier
3.2.2009 11:08pm
OrinKerr:
Richard,

Chill, brother: I just needed either quotes or hypens to keep the sentence comprehensible.
3.2.2009 11:44pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Which raises the issue about whether the "War on Terror" was comprehensible, let alone made any sense
3.3.2009 12:01pm
Anderson (mail):
Delahunty's name is on some of these memos; I seem to recall reading at the VC about what a wonderful legal mind he possesses, so I'm curious how that shakes out.
3.3.2009 12:31pm
Suzy (mail):
It makes sense for them to release this stuff if they are wanting to make a big policy shift. The election already sent a message that this shift is popular, but it won't hurt to have people dissecting and reflecting on the bad stuff that came before, to make the new policy look even better. I'm not saying that's always how it WAS, just that it's a brilliant strategy. Already every report I've seen has been something along the lines of "Egad! Twas far worse than we thought!"
3.3.2009 1:49pm
Just an Observer:
I am hoping that Orin finds time to blog about the Fourth Amendment implications of the 10/23/2001 opinion about domestic use of military force.

(That is a hope, not a demand.)

What struck me about that opinion was the sweeping generalizations that were advanced, disconnected from any facts or even the particular question that was posed.
3.3.2009 1:53pm
Just an Observer:
FYI, see this New York Times story published online today: More Terror Memos May Be Released
3.3.2009 3:08pm
MarkField (mail):

I am hoping that Orin finds time to blog about the Fourth Amendment implications of the 10/23/2001 opinion about domestic use of military force.

(That is a hope, not a demand.)


Offer him a beer.
3.3.2009 3:46pm

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