Law Professor John Yoo has avoided criminal prosecution and bar charges for his now discredited defense of the Bush torture program. Even the Bush Administration ultimately rejected his infamous torture memos as poorly reasoned and unreliable. Undeterred, Yoo is back in the press condemning liberals for caring more about torture than diversity in not supporting a woman for the head of the CIA’s clandestine service. The woman was reportedly implicated in the torture program and is one of those officials who effectively got a “get out of jail free” card by President Obama when he pledged that no CIA employees would be prosecuted for torture at the start of his first term. Yoo is denouncing liberals for failing to support a woman simply because of a little thing like torture.
Yoo took to the National Review to cry foul at the treatment of the official, who was also reportedly implicated in the decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners being tortured to prevent their use as evidence against CIA officials like herself.
Yoo denounces “the hypocrisy of the diversity-crazed Obama administration’s blocking the first woman for this most sensitive and important of intelligence positions.” He adds “Brennan is blocking the most qualified operative to head the CIA’s key division because of her involvement in interrogations. Clearly, diversity only goes so far for the Left.”
Of course, Yoo would not be able to make such absurd claims if Obama did not insist on CIA officials being protected from prosecution in the first place. Notably, this official who was reportedly tied to the torture program and the destruction of the tapes has widespread support within the agency.
Yoo’s point is absurd. No principled person would support an official with this record simply because of her gender. That is itself a form of sexist blindness. The fact that this person is a female is irrelevant. Diversity begins with a determination that candidates are equally qualified. A person with this record should be barred from any employment in the federal government — let alone a promotion — as a threshold matter. The fact that such officials remain employed and in good standing within the Obama Administration is itself shameful. Even if these officials were not to be prosecuted due to Obama’s sweeping announcement, they could have been pushed to leave federal employment in light of their record. Yet, we have previously seen those implicated in the scandal thriving at the CIA. Indeed, Yoo’s former colleague and an author of the torture memo, Jay Bybee, was given lifetime tenure as a federal judge and continues to sit in judgment of others from the bench.
Yoo ends his column with a favorable reference to “Zero Dark Thirty,” a movie that suggests that torture led to the ultimate killing of Osama bin Laden and has become a camp favorite with Bush officials. I saw the movie and found it historically flawed and disturbingly detached from the immorality shown in torture scenes. I can see why it appeals so much to people like Yoo. I can only wonder whether this camp following of torture officials is anything to celebrate for director Kathryn Bigelow.
Yoo ends his column with the lament: “The Obama administration may be turning Zero Dark Thirty into a historical period piece, rather than an example of what the CIA can achieve in the future.” I know no one who believes Zero Dark Thirty is any type of historical piece as opposed to historical revisionism. Moreover, we all know what the CIA can achieve in the future. That is precisely why the lack of charges or discipline for Bush officials and others is so chilling.