Alex Constantine - February 7, 2011
Despite what is surely deliberate obstruction, in the form of having deleted John Yoo's emails, the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility still found grounds to come down on Bush administration-era torture memo writer Yoo (though not on his junior level memo writer, who was two years out of law school and a a former Justice Thomas clerk).
This, despite the fact that the OPR rarely investigates claims at all, and when they do, their honcho disappears them. And yes, once again DoJ boss David Margolis has decreed that, though the memo prepared by his staff clearly describes "professional misconduct" (at best!), that no action should be forthcoming against Yoo and company and that the memo itself is "not persuasive." His case is very weak.
The report is still worth a read, even though it now means nothing and no one cares.
As a sidebar, I enjoyed in this little bit of the report which demonstrates how openly we now refer to our fine secret CIA prison black sites! Remember when no one would talk about those?
More relevant is Yoo's pursuit, in building his memos, of the idea of "specific intent."
The application of intent in this way is a backdoor; if it looks or feels like torture, it isn't, because the torturer knows that it will not be deadly to the torturee. So that means it's okay.
And here is where Yoo was schooled for that idea, by Michael Chertoff. The author of the Patriot Act! OF ALL PEOPLE.
Sad day for America, etc. Guess we all have to move on now, content in the knowledge that at least it's clearly down in black and white that some people in our government tried everything in their power to make torture not torture for their own reasons.