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Several attorneys thought torture was legal

Three top former Justice Department attorneys have received most of the criticism for providing legal cover for torturing suspected terrorists. But e-mails and additional information show that other Justice Department attorneys agreed with them that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" were legal, though several objected to their use, reported the New York Times. For example, James B. Comey (in photo), the former deputy attorney general who balked at the Bush administration's secret wiretapping program, concluded that the interrogation techniques were legal, though he said in e-mails that "some of this stuff was simply awful" and warned then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that "it would come back to haunt him and the department."The fact that several attorneys thought the techniques were legal makes it difficult to press ethics or legal charges against former Justice Department attorneys John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury, as some have called for. Still, Brian Tamanaha, a St. John's University law professor who has studied the interrogation memorandums, contends that concluding that waterboarding was legal required "extraordinary contortions in language and legal analysis."