Senate Confirms Lawyer Who Authored Bush-Era Torture Memos to Transportation Department Post


In President Trump’s perfect universe, all of his discriminatory, objectively dangerous, and entirely shitty administration nominees would be approved by the Senate. He just might get his wish! On Monday, the Senate confirmed Steven Bradbury’s nomination to general counsel of the Transportation Department.

Before scoring his new gig, Bradbury acted as the assistant attorney general from 2005 to 2007. He was also the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2005 to 2009, where he wrote a series of memos authorizing torture at the behest of his former boss, President George W. Bush.


The three memos proved instrumental in reauthorizing the CIA’s immoral “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Those now-infamous torture memos sanctioned waterboarding, sleep depravation, slamming detainees into walls, forcing detainees into dark boxes, and at least 10 other equally disturbing “techniques.”

Bradbury was narrowly confirmed, 50 to 47. Sen. John McCain of Arizona delivered a plea to his colleagues, which apparently fell on deaf ears, before casting his vote against Bradbury. “We are now endorsing violations of the Geneva Conventions,” McCain said on the Senate floor. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also voted against Bradbury’s confirmation.

His nomination was fiercely opposed by human rights advocates. “The confirmation of Steven Bradbury sends a dangerous message that the US Senate will, without serious scrutiny, confirm nominees for prominent government posts who have been responsible for authorizing torture,” said Letta Tayler, a senior terrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Aside from his role in authorizing torture, Bradbury’s private sector clients position him as a concerning choice for a post that is supposed to oversee regulation of the auto industry: he represented Takata Corp, a now bankrupt Japanese car part manufacturer, in its legal battles with Transportation Department regulators after faulty airbags killed or injured more than 100 people.

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