Justice Department Declines Punishment for Bush Officials for “Poor Judgment”

The Obama Administration continued the tradition of the “Friday night dump” by just releasing the Justice Department report on former Justice officials John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury. The report is linked below. The Justice Department confirmed that the investigation originally found professional misconduct by Yoo and Bybee, but an unnamed high-ranking official at the Office of Professional Responsibility overruled the finding to avoid any professional action against them. I discussed the story on this segment of Countdown.


Now the report merely states that the men “exercised poor judgment.” That is a remarkable downgrade from the Nuremberg prosecutions of lawyers and judges for war crimes to the Obama Administration saying that support of torture is a matter of “poor judgment.” Poor judgment is when you invite the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Susan Brady to a small dinner party. Arguing for torture and misrepresenting settled law to facilitate a torture program is usually viewed as something of a slightly higher order than “poor judgment” or “bad form.”

That is why the movie was not called “Poor Judgment at Nuremberg.”

Now we are left with a former Vice President who proclaims proudly his support for torture and lawyers who will face no repercussions for their role — and of course an Administration that is refusing to even investigate war crimes. In the meantime, Bybee will continue to rule on cases as an appellate judge under a lifetime appointment – due to the failure of the Democrats to block the nomination.

How did we come to this ignoble moment?

Here is the report: OPR Report

71 thoughts on “Justice Department Declines Punishment for Bush Officials for “Poor Judgment”

  1. I assumed the wheels of justice have to be moving in order to grind. Do they think the GOP might refuse to work with them????? Thanks for trying to get people to pay attention.

  2. This is the single worst spear thru the heart of the American Justice System ever done by the Justice department in the history of the country. This gives the rest of the PLANET the go ahead to implement torture as a standard tool in their arsenal of methods on how to treat prisoners – either foreign OR domestic – because America said it was Okee..Dokee..

    BAD MOVE…

  3. Skipping class to go get stoned is bad judgment; driving your car down I95 doing 100 mph is bad judgment; yet, both offenses land one in front of a judge in a court of law.

    The supposed leaders of a civilized nation authorizing torture is sadistic, evil and illegal. And no one will land anywhere near a courtroom.

    Talk about ‘sugar-coating’ … Utterly disgusting. The Obama Administration and DOJ ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  4. NPR identifies the high-ranking official at the Office of Professional Responsibility that put the kibosh on this report as David Margolis.

  5. “ACLU Calls On Justice Department To Expand Scope of Criminal Investigation”

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/justice-department-report-reveals-new-details-about-development-and-justification-

    “The report found that Yoo and Bybee engaged in professional misconduct by failing to provide “thorough, candid, and objective” analysis. That conclusion, however, is rejected in a later memorandum written by David Margolis, the Associate Deputy Attorney General. Even Margolis’s memo, however, is critical of Yoo’s and Bybee’s conduct. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the report next Friday, February 26.”

  6. So is this the preemptive get out of jail free card? The Senate Judiciary is a G** D****d Joke. So they have been passing around monopoly money, now the get out of jail free, they have have been on chance a number of times as well as using the community chest as their own personal funds. Whats left?

  7. The stuff with my name got grabbed in June 06, sorta. Stock went for 28.00 to 40.00 a share. I had a bit about as much as the president makes in a year. It dropped to 1.66 and presently trading at 2.00 YIPPIE, F****** Skippy…… 1.66 per share.

  8. Why aren’t the players named in a Grievance with each of the state bars that they are members of? Everyone File a GRIEVANCE. Even if Bybee looses his licenses he can still sit as a Judge. You know why? There is no requirement that a Federal Judge even be trained/schooled in law or much less be an attorney. Bybee must be IMPEACHED.

  9. History means nothing to the Obama Administration.

    If anyone can recommend an honest, ethical, intelligent human–male or female and regardless of party–for whom an old disillusioned Republican can vote in 2012, please start listing a name (or names, if it is even possible that there can be more than one….)

  10. Torture reveals bad information, yes?
    Bad information confuses the central issue, yes?
    The central issue of War is to make money, yes?
    Money is the primary entree that Corporations dine upon, yes?

    We got to where we are because we are a nation of business interests, which are not matched by an equal, and more democratic power. Capitalism’s closest competitor is Stage IV cancer, and the good news is there is money in that as well.

    ++++

  11. “The Justice Department confirmed that the investigation originally found professional misconduct by Yoo and Bybee, but an unnamed high-ranking official at the Office of Professional Responsibility overruled the finding…”

    ************

    A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt to be dangerous.

    ~Alfred Adler

  12. I didn’t have the patience to wade through the new report from the OPR and trust Prof. Turley’s synopsis on Keith Olbermann’s show tonight. I did read the original Yoo memo, however, which wouldn’t pass muster from a first year associate at a mediocre law firm.

    Ignoring contrary existing case law? From the get-go the whole Yoo memo read like what I, as a real estate lawyer, call an MAI legal memo. MAI is a certification for appraisers (a “good” appraiser has to be MAI certified to be a good witness), but the joke is that “MAI” really means “Made As Instructed”, implying that the appraiser delivers, not a legitimate objective appraisal based on the “facts” but whatever “fair market value” the client wants.

    The Yoo memo screamed MAI to me. He’s obviously not stupid. Yoo is just another lawyer who is told to generate garbage to “support” a result the client wants in order to avoid tax evasion prosecution or whatever. This behavior will kill our profession.

    The disciplinary rules applicable in most states provide that any lawyer who believes Yoo has committed misconduct has an obligation to report the misconduct to the CA bar. I am a real believer in the legal profession self-policing. The reputation of the legal profession is in the gutter because of people like Yoo and Marguolies. Where are the Archibald Coxes?

    Lay people believe we just let the crooks run amok, and that’s not so and should not be so. Read the comments on the WAPO article about the Margulies memo. It’s pretty sickening to read as a lawyer.

    I am not sure if I am authorized to file a complaint with the CA Bar, not being a CA Bar member, but am so angry about this disgraceful decision that I would be willing to do so.

  13. This report is a joke. I still don’t understand why the accused parties were allowed responses before the report even became public. What happened to the rule of law??

  14. I just read some of the comments here and I wish people would elevate the discussion level-references to “rim jobs’? Disgusting. Go away whoever you are and post somewhere else. Seriously. I am used to obnoxious ignoramuses on non-legal blogs, but didn’t expect it here. I am a member of a real estate law blog and believe me any kind of language like that would get you kicked off. The display of ignorance would just result in your being ignored.

  15. The Obama Administration and Justice Department have now become one with Bush’s Admin and Justice. History will judge them that way and there is nothing more they can do about it. Rather like John Adams, a great founding father whose reputation has been forever colored by the Alien and Sedition Acts or Jefferson whose many founding accomplishments are always tinged by his f**king Sally Hemings and producing all those bastard slaves.

    Amazing that a man so steeped in the history of this nation would allow his good name to be forever sullied in order to protect people like John Yoo and Dick Cheney.

    The beer-fest mentality continues to produce what we can now call, predictable fruits.

  16. How did we come to this ignoble moment?

    The United States of America came to this ignoble moment through systemic political bias and self serving nationalist bigotry.

    Laws, oaths, constitutions are not self enforcing. They are social contracts that require the good faith of the individual members of the society and especially of those office holders who swear to take on those duties for the general good.

    This ignoble moment came because those who think of themselves as good, did not, in sufficient numbers, get out of their comfort zones and uphold the rule of law. American citizens for the most part acquiesced to the victumisation of foreigners who had no representatives in Congress.

    Now, there is no rule of law as opposed to the rule of men in the United States nor in the world as a whole. There is only the rule of arbitrary men. And everything including violence is of logical and moral necessity on the table to establish the rule of law against a system that is inherently biased and bigotted against foreigners.

    This is beyond law now. We human beings face existential moral questions about our most solemn values in a world in which the rule of law manifestly does not exist and in which the people of the United States have a vested and systemic interest in keeping in their favor.

    Every self proclaimed good American that votes for Obama because they want better health care without first seeking from Obama a commitment to uphold the rule of law and the prohibitions against mass murder and torture is in part to blame for where we are now.

    Every moraliser and censor that says that violence is always wrong is also to blame for stifling the honest discourse about consequences that needed to take place.

    Americans as a people are no better or worse than other people but as a privileged and empowered group their collective corruption and bigotry, their bystander calculus that denies the unalienable rights of foreigners constitutes a greater impediment to the real emergence of the rule of law as opposed to the rule of men than anything else.

    With the US President appointing the US ambassador to the United Nations and the United States holding a veto power over all Security Council decisions all lawful avenues to justice are cut off by the same group of self interested bigots that elect US representatives.

    We came to this ignoble moment because the people of the United States who are the atoms of their government and represented by their representatives brought us here.

  17. Nancy
    1, February 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm
    “I just read some of the comments here and I wish people would elevate the discussion level-references to “rim jobs’?”

    I’m pretty sure that’s what AY did there.

    “Disgusting. Go away whoever you are and post somewhere else.”

    I wish you would elevate your discourse above the level of the Lou Ferrigno Open House scene from “I Love You Man”.

    “Seriously. I am used to obnoxious ignoramuses on non-legal blogs,”

    I’m pretty sure they need you for a quorum right about now.

    “but didn’t expect it here.”

    I thought the flyers pretty much explained all that.

    “I am a member of a real estate law blog and believe me any kind of language like that would get you kicked off.”

    I guess the movie “Gran Torino” didn’t really do much for you.

    If you want the smart legal blog with the HOA you go two blocks past Wysteria lane and hang a left.

    “The display of ignorance would just result in your being ignored.”

    Hey-that sometimes works here too-maybe you should try it.

  18. P&P and Nancy,

    Well thank you. The reference to rim shot/rim job was as follows: What you expected it to mean. If you find my post offensive. Please with all due respect DO NOT READ them. You are welcome to read anyone else’s. I wish you luck in your pursuit of happiness. Mine right now appears to be offending your sense of dignity.

  19. Feeling a bit like a parrot, I’ll restate the obvious. We’re in real trouble.

    Someone needs to expose and stop the largely unknown activities that are taking place domestically, which I’m guessing might have their origins in the previous administration’s torture program.

    It would help to explain the decisions to date. Maybe Yoo, Bybee, and Bradbury know something that many people don’t yet know.

  20. Justice Department Clears Bush Interrogation Lawyers of Misconduct

    AP

    Justice Department lawyers showed “poor judgment” but did not commit professional misconduct when they authorized CIA interrogators to use waterboarding and other harsh tactics at the height of the U.S. war on terrorism, an internal review released Friday found.:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/19/justice-department-clears-bush-interrogation-lawyers-misconduct/?test=latestnews

  21. AY:

    I ‘ll entertain your motion. On your “rim job comment” I took that as the appropriate receptacle for this decision although I would have added the flushing part too.

    As for Nancy’s welcome inclusion into our discussion you should know — in the words of Oscar Wilde — that the guiding principle for many of us here is: “Seriousness is the only (and last) refuge of the shallow.” (parenthetical comment mine).

  22. eniobib,

    Thank you. I would have read it later I am sure. I love this line or lie out of the story:

    “”This decision should not be viewed as an endorsement of the legal work that underlies those memoranda,” Assistant Deputy Attorney General David Margolis wrote in a memo released Friday.”

    WTF is that supposed to mean? We don’t endorse it but we are complicit in it work and understanding. They did not mean to do what they did but they were just misguided and following orders? I suppose everyone at Nuremberg should have gotten a Get out of Hanging Free Card too. I was just following Orders.

    The crap about Bybee that is most disturbing is 1) he ignored the Law in rationalizing torture and 2) he put a part of the Hague Treaty that was never Fu***ng adopted. This has to make his Research and Writing professor so happy. And this MF is an Appeals Judge? I can just imagine his decisions. Ignore the law and establish the facts to fit your rationale. At least Yoo, is known for who he is and he can be dealt with at the appropriate sanction. He should teach Ethics. That would be good for him, he should just teach his experience and then the students would know what not to do. Real Life bad examples.

    I think Bybee should be Impeached even if he resigns. They should strip away any retirement since he was appointed in 2003. Harry, this is your Senate Seat. Do the right thing. I know this is election year for you. But your conscience should matter at some point.

    I think that all four should lose the ability to practice law after dancing with the devil as they have. Ethic’s Cheney has none, has anyone noticed how fat Cheney is getting?

  23. Thanks Swartmore mom,

    I think that this conceptualizes the ideals that I and a lot of others are feeling….

  24. OF COURSE THE JUSTICE DEPT must do this. otherwise Clinton and Obama will be punished for poor judgment. Clinton and the 500,000 dead Iraqi children under sanctions (which Albright said was “worth it”). Plus the illegal “war” in Bosnia.

    And Obama’s illegal attacks in Pakistan and Yemen.

  25. Tootie,

    That is not any different just because he was President Bill Clinton. It is different because it was a civil war between two countries and the Yugo got in the way. I think about 100K died it ended in 1995 with an agreement signed in Dayton, OH.

  26. Where in the hell is the outrage in this country other than on blogs? We here believe in Prof Turleys’ exceptionalism but surely there are other great lawyers and jurists? Why is there not more outrage at such baltant disregard of the law….

    Every person who believes in the rule of law should be angry with our goverment’s lack of comittment to laws they find irritating

  27. Here’s an excerpt from a poem by Wislawa Szymoborska, a Nobel Laureate and one of my favorite poets:

    TORTURES

    Nothing has changed.
    The body is susceptible to pain,
    it must eat and breathe air and sleep,
    it has thin skin and blood right underneath,
    an adequate stock of teeth and nails,
    its bones are breakable, its joints are stretchable.
    In tortures all this is taken into account.

    Nothing has changed.
    The body shudders as it shuddered
    before the founding of Rome and after,
    in the twentieth century before and after Christ.
    Tortures are as they were, it’s just the earth that’s grown smaller,
    and whatever happens seems right on the other side of the wall.

    You can read the rest of the poem at the following link:
    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/tortures/

  28. Here’s a poem I wrote nearly a year ago. I was hoping some people in the Bush administration would be held accountable for their heinous actions…and war crimes. Not to be–not to be.

    Those who voted for Obama hoped–but nothing changed.

    Bye-bye, Bybee

    Bye-bye, Bybee—
    You so-and so—
    It’s time you were benched.
    It’s time to go.

    Return your robe—
    And your gavel, too!
    Judgment day is here
    For you and Yoo.

    You and Yoo,
    The infamous two
    From the OLC—
    The lawyers who

    Used tortured logic
    And legalese
    To circumvent laws…
    Two corroborees

    Who defined techniques
    For interrogation
    (Enhanced AND sadistic)
    With specification.

    You think you did it
    For the good of our nation?
    You think there truly
    Is justification

    For waterboarding…
    Other tortures as well?
    YOU’RE a rotten thing in Denmark
    And you’re starting to smell!

  29. It really scares me that people in positions of power who both approved the use of torture and actually committed it aren’t going to be held criminally accountable. I thought that torturing people was a CRIME in America. I guess not if certain people in high government positions are doing the crime instead of the average person.

    I have to say that this is the first time I’ve been seriously disappointed in the Obama administration since I voted for him.

  30. Amon Re wrote:

    “Every person who believes in the rule of law should be angry with our goverment’s lack of comittment to laws they find irritating”.

    Every person who believes in the rule of law should ask themselves WHY they do in spite of the evidence.

    The UN Charter (which the US constitution makes supreme law under article VI) prohibits wars of aggression, yet Iraq was invaded.

    The US Constitution says the President “shall be” impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. And that the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

    Mass murder (aggressive invasion), torture, rendition (kidnapping), assassination (murder) are all illegal and immoral.

    Those who profess belief in the rule of law as opposed to a wish that there was a rule of law aren’t paying attention.

    Continuing to express belief in something that obviously doesn’t exist is denial and impedes consideration of real solutions. It leaves the heavy lifting and moral imperative to corrective action to others.

    The Declaration of Independence says “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”.

    The people of the world never consented to world government from Washington DC or to the tyranny of the United States whose people grant their representatives political impugnity for crimes against humanity.

    To have a rule of law in practice it is necessary to stop pretending such already exists.

  31. Thanks, Swarthmore mom. Yes, definitely “significant” — I was wondering about Margolis.

    From the article:

    “Margolis is a 45 year veteran of the DoJ, someone who has been described as the Department’s “Yoda”. But in 2008 Scott Horton wondered if perhaps “Yoda” hadn’t turned to the dark side when defending his colleagues. Seems now we have our answer.”

  32. Anonymously:

    LOL… Yugo got in the way. It sounds like Big Foot or something.

    Anyway, my point is there was no legal authority for Clinton to send in troops killing people who were not a threat to the USA.

    I’m opposed to NATO and don’t wish that it be used as a means to skirt the requisite “declaration of war” demanded by the Constitution before the military can be sent out in the fashion that it was. I don’t recall a congressional declaration being issued.

    And I assumed everyone was e-reading my mind about that.

    My bad.

    If the number you quote includes the starving of Iraqi children through sanctions plus the “war” dead in Bosnia, I’ve not heard that. The best estimate of dead children has been 3 to 500,000, last time I checked.

  33. Tootie,

    This is in response to the Yugo. You say we did not have a right to be present in Bosnia. I might agree with you but for the UN Peace Keeping Authority. This was a full scale sales job. Now, if I failed to mention the oil pipe that cut through the country then I would be remiss. If you are not aware we went over to another area in the former USSR and got involved because another country was hijacking the oil supply making demands that they be compensated for the right of trespass. Heck, it had something to do with oil production so we stepped right up to the plate and said, batter, batter, swing. We at least hit a triple and no one went home…..

  34. By the Way Professor, Good job last night on the program. I am glad to see that you have not been eviscerated and made into one of them yet.

  35. I have a take on this, too and I publish about it at my Blog linked above.

    The more people who know about this issue and how politically driven it has become vs. how not doing what is right has taken a backseat, the better that may help us in the future … although I would be hard pressed to see how it could be helpful, except maybe in preventing more enlisted men and women from going to prison for another Abu Ghraib mess all the while hotshot lawyers in government skate freely like Yoo, Bybee, and Bradbury. That is not justice.

    I am a retired Marine Corps officer an former enlisted combat Vet and my last 10m years of active duty I was an Interrogator — I know the rules and the law… waterboarding is torture and that is illegal, unlawful and a war crimes… and has been for decades. No amount of politiical back and forth can hide that fact or the shame associated with this act by our country in our name.

    Pro. Turley is correct and I strongly believe that Justice Robert Jackson would be sick to know about this injustice today. His words at Nuremberg should ring clearly for everyone to review, stop and pause and reflect. But apparently those trials no longer apply – that too is pretty sad, too.

    Justice Jackson said, “If we were to say of these men that they are not guilty, it would be as true to say that there has been no war, there are no slain, there has been no crime.”

    Part of his final concluding remarks from his 20-page summation at the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trials (July 26, 1946).

    The full document Can be seen here.

  36. “Let’s get down to brass tacks. How much for the ape?” – Hunter S Thompson

    International Criminal Court in the Age of Extraordinary Rendition

    Although the United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, it seems to me that there is exposure here for Bush Nazis like Yoo and Bybee should they ever leave the country. In all fairness, for those you temped to see this as partisan language, understand that Bybee and Yoo are now Obama’s Gestapo enablers as well since Obama and Holder have opted to protect them domestically. Since the U.S. started the arrogance of exerting universal jurisdiction with the practice of extraordinary rendition, what is to stop a body with a more legitimate claim to proper jurisdiction as a matter of international treaty from nabbing these criminals (and others) when abroad?

    Not a damn thing is what.

    “Well they don’t have jurisdiction! We aren’t signatories!” Just like the US doesn’t have jurisdiction over people it kidnaps and spirits away to secret prisons where torture has been approved and due process violated. Arrest pending trial is different than simply disappearing people. And make no mistake about it, that is what the US Federal government is up to – that sport so beloved by tyrant Augusto Pinochet.

    It took an international tribunal to try Germany’s war criminals. Why should the US expect a walk on this? Even from our allies? How long until the English roll on us internationally? Our “closest ally” or not, all politics are local and their “local” is Europe. You remember Europe, don’t you Washington? Those people who take genocide and war crimes very seriously? You know, since they were victims of such atrocities and all.

    That history is written by the winner is a misconception. History is written by the survivors. I know this because not all situations have winners. Even the “winners” are not immune to the emerging sciences of forensic history.

    The Obama express complicity in war crimes is no win situation for our country.

    This path leads to allies becoming enemies.

    The United States is part of the international community like it or not. That is, despite the naysaying right wingers, a fact. Like gravity is a fact. Like any community, no individual can withstand the scrutiny and condemnation of the majority or the whole. It is a destructive process.

    The terrorists just won. America has stood up in its community and cut its own throat. Our country, once a beacon of human rights and progressive promoters of liberty, has now become the bad guys.

    All because politicians from the Republican and Democratic party sold our Constitution down the river.

    To pay for their election campaign commercials.

    And fancy clothes.

    And excessive perks.

    All for abandoning their sworn duty to protect the Constitution. All for aiding and abetting the enemy in a time of war. All for their treasonous selfish personal greed.

    The road to Hell is not paved with good intentions.

    It’s paved with corporatist graft.

    Let’s examine the company America now joins the fascism club:

    Italy under Mussolini – The poster child of corporatism. We all know who they were allies with during the War. The poster children for monsters, Nazi Germany. Speaking of which . . .

    Nazi Germany under Hitler – Don’t think it was a corporatist state? Do you really think because they called themselves socialists that that is what they really were? Look into the relationship between good family owned companies like Krupps and Porsche and Bayer and the Nazi Regime’s war machine. Cozy as bugs in a rug. No, the Nazis were a lot of things but socialists wasn’t one of them. Nazi Germany was a fascist dictatorship in the technical sense. And their downfall started when their Constitution was subverted by internal enemies as well. They started off as a right-wing fringe group not unwilling to be the first to violence – see the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Now think Teabagger Putsch. And then the Nazis began their subversion of the German legal system in earnest which culminated in the burning of the Reichstag. All under the circumstance of economic disaster, that time in which the fearful may be more easily led to do bad acts in the name of either jingoism or religion but often both.

    My . . . what a lovely pattern that is making. And by lovely I mean disturbing. But wait! There’s more . . .

    There is Spain under Franco. A state that had institutionalized torture as well. A state that used coercion and repression as a standard operating procedure. A fascist dictatorship. Franco was much beloved by Nixon. That alone says volumes. And just like Nazi symbols are now banned in modern Germany, the symbols of this tyrants regime are likewise banned in modern Spain.

    You remember Spain, don’t you Washington? The European state with the cajones to challenge your traitorous war criminals? The state that has survived fascism’s evil grip to again return to democracy? A state that is a signatory to the Rome Statute?

    Yes.

    The road to Hell is paved.

    It’s a highway littered with gas stations and shops selling useless crap, populated with jingoistic propaganda and corporatist interests looking to squeeze every bit of blood out of the citizenry possible.

    It’s a highway funded by corporatists.

    Paved in blood.

    Paid in cash.

    “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “…probably the greatest concentration of talent and genius in this house except for perhaps those times when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.” – John F. Kennedy, describing a dinner for the 1962 Nobel Prize winners.

    It is a maxim in the study of Aikido that the best way to avoid trouble is not to be there when it starts. Jefferson knew that the path to corporatism was the path to despotism. He knew it was the path to trouble.

    History proved him right.

    Coincidentally, one of the keys to comedy is repetition. Unfortunately some comedies are darker than others. This is gallows humor for certain.

    Now what’s that thing history does again, Washington?

  37. What is shameful in this decision shows the complete lack of respect for the rule of law in favor of politics.

    Are we ever going to have a person of integrity in the White House. Obama continues to look like Bush.

  38. Thank you for that article link Nal. Here a 3 more excerpts from the article at ‘Balkinization’ that people interested in this legal issue should read.

    Quote:

    “The OPR argued that Yoo and Bybee had “a duty to exercise independent legal judgment and to render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice.” This standard, Margolis explained, is much too high a requirement and not one that Yoo and Bybee were previously warned was the standard to which they would be held.”

    “That standard could not be met for Jay Bybee, because Bybee was, to put it bluntly, an empty suit who relied on the advice of others and didn’t analyze the memos all that closely. He just signed the papers.”

    “As for John Yoo, Margolis explains (although he puts it far more diplomatically) that Yoo was an ideologue who entered government service with a warped vision of the world in which he sincerely believed. Yoo had crazy ideas even before he entered government; which strongly suggests that he probably shouldn’t have been hired in the first place.”

    End Quote

  39. Report: Bush Lawyer Said President Could Order Civilians to Be ‘Massacred’
    Michael Isikoff (Newsweek, 2/19/2010)

    The chief author of the Bush administration’s “torture memo” told Justice Department investigators that the president’s war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be “massacred,” according to a report released Friday night by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

    The views of former Justice lawyer John Yoo were deemed to be so extreme and out of step with legal precedents that they prompted the Justice Department’s internal watchdog office to conclude last year that he committed “intentional professional misconduct” when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects.

    The report by OPR concludes that Yoo, now a Berkeley law professor, and his boss at the time, Jay Bybee, now a federal judge, should be referred to their state bar associations for possible disciplinary proceedings. But, as first reported by NEWSWEEK, another senior department lawyer, David Margolis, reviewed the report and last month overruled its findings on the grounds that there was no clear and “unambiguous” standard by which OPR was judging the lawyers. Instead, Margolis, who was the final decision-maker in the inquiry, found that they were guilty of only “poor judgment.”

    The report, more than four years in the making, is filled with new details into how a small group of lawyers at the Justice Department, the CIA, and the White House crafted the legal arguments that gave the green light to some of the most controversial tactics in the Bush administration’s war on terror. They also describe how Bush administration officials were so worried about the prospect that CIA officers might be criminally prosecuted for torture that one senior official—Attorney General John Ashcroft—even suggested that President Bush issue “advance pardons” for those engaging in waterboarding, a proposal that he was quickly told was not possible.

    http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/archive/2010/02/19/report-bush-lawyer-said-president-could-order-civilians-to-be-massacred.aspx

  40. Newly released CIA documents confirm Pelosi knew about enhanced interrogations.

    Today Speaker Pelosi stood by her lie. She said she was never told that waterboarding was being used on terrorist detainees even though newly released documents prove again that she knew about the agency’s use of harsh interrogation practices on captured terrorists.

    Last May, Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to her and other lawmakers about enhanced interrogation techniques used by the agency on terrorism suspects known as high-value detainees. Waterboarding, a simulated form of drowning, is one of the tactics interrogators used to coax information out of the suspects. Its use drew severe criticism because the United States has abstained from it in past conflicts.

    Last year, Pelosi said she was only briefed once on the advanced interrogation methods, in September 2002. At the time, Pelosi was the House Minority Whip and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. She said in May 2009 that CIA briefers told her that “the use of enhanced interrogation techniques were legal,” and added that waterboarding “was not being employed.”

    CIA records show that during the September 2002 briefing, Pelosi and others were given “a description of the particular enhanced interrogation techniques that had been employed” on Zubaydah.

  41. …yet another paste up that was not written by the poster but copied without attribution from the net…

    …the definition of plagiarism is the use of the writings of another without attribution as one’s own…

  42. Why do you act so surprised? You obviously know my work. Although correct I won’t be fired like the other two writers last week. I get to keep my job.

  43. Here’s what can be determined as fact from CIA documents

    Speaker Pelosi was briefed about “ongoing” interrogations of Abu Zubaydah on April 24, 2002.

    Last year, in 2009, Pelosi said she was only briefed once on the advanced interrogation methods, in September 2002.

    During the September 2002 briefing, Pelosi and others were given “a description of the particular enhanced interrogation techniques that had been employed” on Zubaydah.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is specifically referenced in a briefing that took place on April 24, 2002, regarding the “ongoing interrogations of Abu Zubaydah.”

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