Steven Bradbury, a former George W. Bush administration official who authored legal memos authorizing “enhanced interrogation techniques” that have been regarded as torture, has been nominated to be General Counsel of Transportation.
Bradbury, who is a litigation partner at Dechert LLP in Washington, D.C., was spotted at the White House in March.
In May 2005, Bradbury wrote three memos, including one that authorized the use of 13 different techniques to use against high value detainees, which included dietary manipulation, facial slap or insult slap, cramped confinement, water dousing and waterboarding. The memos later became known as the “torture memos.”
During Bush’s presidency, Bradbury was acting Assistant Attorney General from 2005 to 2007, and also headed the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005 to 2009.
He was nominated for assistant attorney general — but was blocked in the Senate because of the 2005 memo. The nomination became the crux of a battle between Senate Democrats and the Bush administration: “In December, Reid offered to confirm 84 stalled administration nominees in exchange for the withdrawal of Bradbury’s nomination, but the White House declined, according to Reid.”
Bradbury was one of three principal authors (along with John Yoo and Jay Bybee) of different memos defending the use of those interrogation techniques, a legal question that arose after Sept. 11 and continued during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Trump administration announcement about Bradbury described his time in the Bush administration: “From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Bradbury headed the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advised the executive branch on a wide range of constitutional and statutory questions, and where he received the Edmund J. Randolph Award and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, among other awards.”