John Yoo: Why the President Can Order Snooping and Torture
John Yoo is the Berkeley law professor, former associate White House counsel and former law clerk to Clarence Thomas, who is responsible for the most extreme White House positions on torture and snooping:
- It was Yoo who drafted the infamous memo saying the Geneva Conventions were "seriously flawed" and the U.S. wasn't bound by them in treating al Qaeda prisoners.
- It was Yoo who drafted the memo with this definition of torture:
...it declared that, to be considered torture, techniques must produce lasting psychological damage or suffering "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."
- It was Yoo who said the President was not bound by FISA or federal eavesdropping laws when conducting electronic surveillance when one party was outside the United States. Yoo believes in wartime, the constitution gives the president unlimited power.
You can read his January 9 memo to William Haynes here. (pdf)
How did this 38 year old uber-conservative who has never met Bush or Cheney get to dictate our policy on torture and the war on terror? Mostly, it was fortuitous timing. The timing of the 9/11 attacks.
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