Earning Your Bona Fides in the Bush Bada Bing Club: Administration Officials Pushed for Yoo to Head OLC Based on His Support for Torture

Congressional hearings have revealed that John Yoo was the favored candidate to lead the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department based on a single resume item: his tolerance and support of torture. Alberto Gonzales and Cheney aide David S. Addington fought former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who submitted five names for the position that conspicuously omitted Yoo’s name.

The confrontation in 2003 resulted in a different candidate — Jack Goldsmith — being put into the position as a compromise. The vacancy was produced by the departure of Office of Legal Counsel chief Jay S. Bybee for the courts as a new federal judge. While Ashcroft submitted a list of qualified candidates including Paul Clement (who became solicitor general), the White House wanted someone who was torture-certified. It is an insight into how important the torture program was to the White House.

Once the torture program was revealed, the White House and military repeatedly defended itself by insisting that lawyers had reviewed the program and found its clearly lawful. Many scoffed at the notion — given the ability of the Bush Administration to hand pick such lawyers (who proved to be wrong repeatedly on these questions). Now, we have an insight into the lengths to which the Administration would go to guarantee the “right” lawyers reviewed such questions. It is also another ignoble moment for Yoo, whose supporters have insisted that he has more to his background than simply torture. Not according to the White House, it appears. It was Yoo’s willingness to sign off on torture that made him a viable candidate for Bush and Cheney zealots.

This seems to fall into a pattern of earning your bones (or your bona fides) in the Baba Bing! Bush Club.

For the full story, click here.

38 thoughts on “Earning Your Bona Fides in the Bush Bada Bing Club: Administration Officials Pushed for Yoo to Head OLC Based on His Support for Torture”

  1. I hope Mr. Yoo is picked up one day by Al Qaida or if there is ever a war against Korea and he is “interned” like the Japanese during WWII and someone “harshly” interrogates him. The reason why the US doesn’t want any trials for most “detainees” in Guantanamo is that all those that weren’t terrorists (and that’s probably almost all) before they were tortured, will probably become terrorists once they get out.

    I would suspect that 100% of people would call it torture if it were happening to them. Too bad they didn’t finish the job with Hitchens (another Jew who hates Islam but will write or say whatever sells).

    And by the way, how is someone that fights an occupying army in their own country a “terrorist”. I guess all the people above and Bush doesn’t know who Nathan Hale was and that Nelson Mandela was also a “terrorist”.

  2. I was expressing my opinion as to the present likelihood of prevailing.

    “The tricky part is separating the fraudulent actor from his immunity as a government official”

    Believe me, there is nothing I would enjoy more than seeing the Bush crime family’s foreign and domestic assets frozen – while we do some accounting of our own…

  3. Jill and Mespo thanks for the primer on Qui Tam actions. I am in favor of any measure that can be taken to put pressure on this out of control Bush regime.

  4. Patty/Jill:

    I think that is correct. Here you need not obtain government permission. The tricky part is separating the fraudulent actor from his immunity as a government official. Maybe by arguing his actions were ultra vires –sort of a “Wednesbury unreasonableness” standard in American law.

  5. Patty here’s an answer to your question. The govt. may be involved but doesn’t have to be.

    “If the government does not decide to participate in a qui tam action, the relator may proceed without the Department of Justice, though such cases classically have a much lower success rate. Relators who do prevail in such cases will get a higher relator’s share in the neighborhood of 25-30%. Conventional wisdom states that this is due in part to the fact that the government will get involved in what it believes are winning cases, but will avoid losing cases.”

    Of course, Mespo and other attorneys will have more information.

  6. ” Well maybe under the ancient writ of Qui Tam which allows for suits by private citizens for fraud against the government. Maybe these guys have committed fraud against us all.”


    Sovereign immunity aside, along with Whistle-Blower status,
    I think it ‘could’ be done under Torts Claims, although with an unlikely positive result – unfortunately.

    Otherwise, one needs ‘permission’ to sue the US Government
    – as most of us learned in grade school Civics Class!


  7. “and we would’ve gotten away with it too…. if it wasn’t for those meddling kids…”

    George W Bush (from his cell in Nuremburg)
    January 21, 2009

  8. Agreed Rafflaw.

    I was just re-reading it on Vanity Fairs website, and I think I see the problem.

    Its for the “August” issue of Vanity fair, not the current one.

    So when it comes out towards the end of this month, I am hoping it makes that big splash.

    The press has been slack on talking about this, mostly because they know their own culpability in not condemning it sooner.

    But when a neoconservative author and pundit, comes out with an article declaring unequivocally “YES, ITS TORTURE”, then who is left that wants to argue its not?

    And if its torture, then Bush and his Reichstag Rejects, are guilty of authorizing torture, and should be arrested and thrown into prison.

    At the Hague.

  9. Hitchens story should have made a much bigger splash if the Main Stream media wasn’t asleep at the wheel.

  10. I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.”

    Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

    Christopher Hitchens

  11. That explains alot. Cheney and minions were all waterboarded. No wonder their neurological systems ain’t right!

  12. Oh and sorry Jill about the trailerpark thing. Just an expression, but probably not the best one. I”ll stay with “Inbreedia”. More generic that way. Inbreedia’s more of a state of mind, than an actual place.

    And for those members of the village of “Inbreedia”, who still think that they have a leg to stand on when mocking opponents of waterboard calling it “safe” and “humane”, listen up.

    Before being voluntarily waterboarded, the military has you sign a “waiver”, which includes the following;

    “Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.


    Any questions?

  13. Jill:

    “Really haven’t we been defrauded financially by this govt.? I don’t mean to be crass but money gets people’s attention. A lot of people are angry about the trillion or so being dumped into a deliberately/knowingingly false investment (war). Isn’t that a kind of investment fraud? The govt. is cracking down on those people of late. May we sue?”


    Well maybe under the ancient writ of Qui Tam which allows for suits by private citizens for fraud against the government. Maybe these guys have committed fraud against us all.

  14. The fact is, we’re tying people….human beings…to boards… and then drowing them.

    Like rats.

    Then, we revive them, and do it all over again…unless they tell us what we want to hear.


    Which is exactly what they do.

    Tell us what we “want” to hear.

  15. The photos are just wonderful, as are the quotes.

    The “official lie” about waterboarding, is that it ‘simulates the feeling of drowning’.

    ..you are drowning – or rather, being drowned.”

    Christopher Hitchens


    The “official lie”….. gee I love that kind of talk.

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