April 23, 2009

During our most excellent Live chat with the ACLU's Chris Anders, he revealed this very disturbing fact while answering your questions.

On holdover appointees from the Bush days, here is one that ought to get everyone on the phone to their member of Congress and the White House right now ---

Did you know that Panetta has kept John Rizzo as Acting CIA General Counsel? If you look at the newly released Justice Department memos, they were all addressed to John Rizzo. Truly unbelievable that he is still in charge of legal advice at the CIA.

What shocking news.

Here's the ACLU website with some documents addressed to John Rizzo.

A 18-page memo, dated August 1, 2002, from Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF] A 46-page memo, dated May 10, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF] A 20-page memo, dated May 10, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF] A 40-page memo, dated May 30, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]

As far as I'm concerned, anyone involved in memos penned by Jay ByBee and Steven Bradbury should not be working for the Obama administration.

I googled Rizzo's name and found this post from Marcy:

This suggests it's likely that Rizzo knew that CIA was intending to do one thing with waterboarding but tempering the description of that in the OLC memo. Also, I outlined ways in which it appears the information Rizzo provided to OLC was, at a minimum, under dispute when it was given. In other words, Rizzo may well be the key person who manipulated the OLC process to legalize torture.

As I've written many times, the OLC was compromised by the Bush administration.

The OLC, which is a component of the Justice Department, was created to provide objective legal advice to the Attorney General and to resolve legal disputes among federal agencies. During the Bush administration, however, the OLC became a facilitator for illegal government conduct, issuing dozens of memos meant to permit gross violations of domestic and international law. Some of these memos have become public through leaks to the media and through the ACLU's litigation under the Freedom of Information Act. But most of them are still secret.

David "I can't talk about torture because al-Qaeda may be watching

Addington was the puppet master of the OLC. It's not surprising that in 2007, the Bush administration withdrew his name.

The White House on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of John A. Rizzo to become the Central Intelligence Agency’s top lawyer amid mounting opposition from Democrats over his role in the harsh interrogation of C.I.A. detainees. The nomination of the 32-year agency veteran to become general counsel is the most prominent casualty of the partisan fight over the spy agency’s program of detaining and questioning top terrorism suspects since the Sept. 11 attacks.


Mr. Rizzo has been the C.I.A’s acting general counsel on and off for most of the past six years, including the period in 2002 when the Bush administration was constructing a legal foundation for the agency’s then-secret detention and interrogation program.

At a Senate hearing in June, Democrats pressed Mr. Rizzo about whether he agreed with a 2002 Justice Department memorandum that gave legal guidance to the C.I.A. program. The memorandum argued that nothing short of the pain associated with organ failure constituted illegal torture.

The memorandum was issued in response to a request from the agency to authorize a slate of interrogation techniques to be used in secret jails abroad. Among the techniques was one known as waterboarding, a method that induced a feeling of drowning. Mr. Rizzo said in June that he raised no objections at the time to the Justice Department opinion but said that he now believed it was “overbroad for the issue that it was intended to cover.”

He's still the "acting counsel" because Stephen Preston has not been confirmed yet. There needs to be some heavy scrutiny on Rizzo and fast.

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