The Obama administration has released documents from the Bush Whitehouse, written following 9/11, that approved (or expressed legal justification for) virtually unlimited government tapping of phones and the Internet, restrictions on free speech and the use of the U.S. military at home against suspected terrorists.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) this week released two previously undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memoranda and seven previously undisclosed ‘opinions’.

Among the other measures Bush’s lawyers considered legal: Giving the President the power to unilaterally suspend some provisions of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia; affirming the President’s right to have U.S. citizens detailed by the military as ‘enemy combatants’; and confirming the President’s power to ‘transfer captured terrorists to the control and custody of foreign nations’.

Many of those legal opinions were subsequently rendered into policy and ad hoc law by Presidential executive orders.

A full list of the Bush-era legal memoranda released this week is available at the DoJ Web site.

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