The Justice Department released a rewritten legal memo on what constitutes torture, backing away from prior assertions that torture had to involve "excruciating and agonizing pain." The new memo takes a much harsher view of torture than an earlier memo signed by former Assistant Attorney General (now Judge) Jay Bybee. According to the new memo, "Consideration of the bounds of any such authority [to torture] would be inconsistent with the president's unequivocal directive that United States personnel not engage in torture."
The new document comes on the heels of a memo submitted to the Justice Department by several former Office of Legal Counsel lawyers. That memo argues that the duty of the OLC is not to help justify an Executive's desired policy, but instead to provide neutral advice on just what the law is.