John Yoo, author of interrogation memo and UC Berkeley law professor, says CIA maybe went too far

John Yoo (CNN)

The Raw Story

As former Vice President Dick Cheney argued on Sunday that the CIA’s aggressive interrogation of terrorism suspects did not amount to torture, the man who provided the legal rationale for the program said that in some cases it had perhaps gone too far.

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo said the sleep deprivation, rectal feeding and other harsh treatment outlined in a U.S. Senate report last week could violate anti-torture laws.

“If these things happened as they’re described in the report … they were not supposed to be done. And the people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders,” Yoo said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”.

As Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel in 2002, Yoo co-wrote a memo that was used as the legal sanction for what the CIA called its program of enhanced interrogation techniques after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The memo said only prolonged mental harm or serious physical injury, such as organ failure, violated the Geneva Convention’s ban on torture. Aggressive interrogation methods like waterboarding fell short of that mark.

Yoo’s comments on Sunday contrasted with those of Cheney and former national security officials who invoke his memo to argue that the harsh treatment of detainees was legal.

“They specifically authorized and okayed what we did,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

“No one tortured anyone else,” former CIA counter terrorism head Jose Rodriguez said on “Fox News Sunday”.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of 6.3 million pages of CIA documents, released on Tuesday, found that some captives were deprived of sleep for more than a week, at times with their hands shackled above their heads, while others were abused sexually.

“Looking at it now, I think of course you can do these things cumulatively or too much that it would cross the line of the anti-torture statute,” Yoo said on the C-SPAN television network.

He questioned whether the report’s findings were reliable, given it was produced only by Democrats who had a political incentive to cherry-pick the worst examples.

The report concluded the CIA misled the White House and the public about the program and failed to disrupt a single plot. Those findings have been disputed by former CIA officials.

Cheney said he was not concerned that the torture program ensnared victims of mistaken identity, and said he had no regrets.

“I’d do it again in a minute,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Frances Kerry and Stephen Powell)

Watch video of John Yoo’s appearance on CNN…

Cheney Throws Bush Under The Bus On Torture Program

Former VP Dick Cheney (R -Utah) | AP Photo – Manuel Balce Ceneta

TPM LiveWire

Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked the former vice president whether the agency deliberately kept Bush in the dark about its so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

“Not true. Didn’t happen,” Cheney responded. “Read his book, he talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was in fact an integral part of the program, he had to approve it before we went forward with it.”

Asked if there was ever a point where he knew more about the CIA’s activity than the President, Cheney said “I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program.”

Baier then asked if the former President knew about the “details” of the program. The report — which Cheney called “full of crap” — described brutal interrogation methods including waterboarding, extensive sleep deprivation, threats to harm detainees’ families and “rectal feeding.”

“I think he knew certainly the techniques, we did discuss the techniques,” Cheney said. “There was no effort on our part to keep him from that.”

“The notion that the committee’s trying to peddle, that somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis, and we weren’t being told or the President wasn’t being told, is just a flat out lie,” he later added.

Republicans Opt For War, Torture and Adopting The Chinese Communist Model


Mario Piperni

If you were fortunate enough to miss Saturday’s GOP foreign policy debate, you might be interested to know that in your absence…

  • Herman Cain wants to bring back the age of torture because, in his wisdom, waterboarding isn’t really torture. It’s simply an “enhanced interrogation technique.”
  • Michele Bachmann concurs, as does Rick Perry who emphasized his overwhelming approval of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques by stating, “I will defend them until I die.”  Mr. Executioner obviously loves his torture.
  • Mitt Romney would impose “crippling sanctions” on Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons
  • that Gingrich has spilled the beans on his grand covert scheme.  Blabbermouth.
  • Rick Santorum is all for war too but he took it one notch higher.  He proposes supporting an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.  You know, ‘bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.’
  • As for Rick Perry, he wants to start all foreign aid at the zero dollar level and have nations prove that they are worthy of receiving US dollars.  He included Israel in the mix.
  • Herman Cain of “ubeki beki beki beki stan stan” fame and, no doubt, the foreign policy wonk on the stage, believes that the “president has been on the wrong side in nearly every situation in the Arab world“  and as a result that Arab Spring thing, well, “has gotten totally out of hand.”  Apparently, Cain believes that too much democracy is not a good thing.
  • The highlight lowlight of the evening, I believe, was Michele Bachmann proposing that the US needs to adopt communist China’s approach to dealing with its citizenry.

“The ‘Great Society’ has not worked and it’s put us into the modern welfare state. If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don’t have the modern welfare state and China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone.”

Smart, because once you dismantle socialist programs like Medicare, replacing it with the Chinese model makes so much sense.  Michele no doubt believes that a little more suffering for those shiftless 99ers would do them good.

So there you go.  Sleep well knowing that the fate of the planet could one day be in the hands of any of these lovely people.

Final point.  CBS should be banned from ever sponsoring another debate.  It was horrible.  The moderator was inept, continually cutting off answers in mid-sentence and preventing any flow in the exchange.  Having eight clowns debating issues of which they had little understanding was bad enough without CBS doing their best to make the event even more insufferable.

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Cheney ‘strongly supports’ continued waterboarding | Raw Replay

Interview of the Vice President by Tim Russert...
Image via Wikipedia

Raw Story Replay

Former vice president Dick Cheney told NBC’s Jamie Gangel that he has “no regrets” about authorizing the waterboarding of terror suspects.

“In your view, we should still be using enhanced interrogation?” Gangel asked Cheney.

“Yes,” Cheney replied.“No regrets?”

Gangel pressed.“No regrets,”

Cheney agreed.

“Should we still be waterboarding terror suspects?” Gangel wondered.

“I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high-value detainee and that was the only way we could get him to talk,” the former vice president explained.

Though many consider waterboarding torture, Cheney argued that the technique should still be a “tool.”

Though many consider waterboarding torture, Cheney argued that the technique should still be a “tool.”

The full interview airs Monday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC’s Dateline

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Santorum: McCain Doesn’t Understand Interrogation

I was watching The Rachel Maddow Show and saw her segment on former GOP Senator Rick Santorum’s accusation against John McCain. 

It seems that Rick Santorum believes he knows more about enhanced interrogation than John McCain, a former captive of the North Vietnamese was in fact, subjected to enhanced interrogation.  (You gotta love the absolute ignorance and buffoonery of the current lineup of the current wannabe GOP presidential candidates!)

The fact is, Rick Santorum has always been one dumbass ex-Senator.

GOP U.S. presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Tuesday John McCain, tortured as a prisoner of war, “doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.”

During an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s talk show on the Salem Radio Network, Santorum, a former Republican U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, credited so-called enhanced interrogation methods with helping the United States track down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

When Hewitt pointed out that McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008 and a U.S. senator from Arizona who spent years in a North Vietnamese prison camp during the Vietnam War, has said there is no such evidence, Santorum said everything he has read shows the trail to bin Laden began with “information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation.”

“And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheik Mohammed was being waterboarded, he [McCain] doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works,” Santorum said. “I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information.

“Maybe McCain has better information than I do, but from what I’ve seen, it seems pretty clear that but for these cooperative witnesses who were cooperative as a result of enhanced interrogations, we would not have gotten bin Laden.”

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