House Judiciary Questions Secrecy of OLC Opinions

04.30.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The House Judiciary Committee has asked the Attorney General (pdf) to report on the classification status of all written opinions of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued since 2001 that deal with national security, terrorism, civil or constitutional rights of U.S. citizens, or presidential, judicial or congressional power.

“While we appreciate the need to hold closely certain types of information in certain circumstances, we are skeptical that more information regarding the Department’s analysis of relevant and important legal issues cannot responsibly be made public,” wrote Rep. John Conyers, Jr., chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution on April 29.

Citing a recent story in Secrecy News, they told the Attorney General that “Recent revelations about the nature and extent of such secret opinions make plain the need for Congress and the American public to receive information on this subject.”