Jay Bybee update

An ethics report prepared by the U.S. Justice Department’s ethics chief harshly criticized former assistant attorneys general Jay Bybee and John Yoo, authors of legal opinions that enabled the Bush administration’s torture activities.

Meanwhile, Bybee reached out to members of the Nevada congressional delegation for help in avoiding impeachment.

Bybee, who holds a “Nevada seat” on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sought meetings with U.S. representatives Shelley Berkley and Dina Titus but avoided steps that would invite public involvement, like a public meeting at which he would take questions. U.S. Sen Patrick Leahy of Vermont “invited” Bybee to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee but did not subpoena him.

The DOJ ethics report was completed in December, but went unreleased at the behest of Attorney General Michael Mukasey until George Bush left office. It was then further delayed after Mukasey demanded additional work on it.

In Utah last week, the Salt Lake Tribune called for Bybee to resign or be impeached, a stance supported by most reader comments posted. Bybee is a graduate of Brigham Young University.

In Spain, the judge who achieved the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998 is considering whether Bybee and other Bush administration officials should be prosecuted.