No Discipline For Torture Lawyer John Yoo

The Washington Post reports:

Bush administration lawyers who wrote memos blessing the waterboarding of terrorism suspects and other harsh interrogation tactics “exercised poor judgment” but will not face discipline for their actions, according to Justice Department correspondence sent to lawmakers late Friday.

The long-awaited conclusion marks a turnaround from recommendations against two of the lawyers by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. OPR, which conducts ethics investigations of Justice Department attorneys, twice urged that allegations against John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee be sent to state legal disciplinary authorities for further action, the correspondence said.

But the decision was overruled by David Margolis, a career lawyer in the Deputy Attorney General’s office, on Jan. 5, the letter said. Margolis “declined to adopt OPR’s findings of professional misconduct and concluded instead that Mr. Yoo and Mr. Bybee exercised poor judgment in connection with the drafting of the pertinent memoranda,” said the letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich.

I have to wonder if Margolis was a Bush appointee who is now embedded in the DOJ.

TPM Muckraker reports that Yoo benefited from a cover-up:

Justice Department investigators looking into the Torture Memos were told that emails sent by John Yoo had been deleted and couldn’t be recovered.

Sickening. These are the symptoms of a dying Republic.

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Nat Wilson Turner

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  • He came out with a ‘homeland safety’ report a few months back which endorsed the Bush programs and promised a smooth transition to more fascism.

    There is just one party, The Money Party, with its Republican and Democratic wings. There is no crime too great to be swept under the carpet for members of this party. Their very existence is based on perpetrating crimes: invasions without any threat to this country; “sending troops” where there is no declared war or imminent danger to this country; propping up Wall Street crooks by giving them $14 trillion to date, etc.

    Why would we expect anything different from this administration. They’re a part of the problem, fully made members of The Money Party.

    This is not a dying republic. It’s dead.

  • Margolis has been at DoJ for a long time…40 years or something i think. He’s a career DoJ lawyer, and as such is probably doing the covering up for actions that if closely examined and prosecuted would purge many of his co-careerists.

  • My understanding is that one of the causes of the Yoo stuff being so “out there” legally speaking is that they were extremely close hold (i.e., to the point that it was virtually him working alone) without the DoJ really weighing in.

    “The absence of any US-Iran bilateral channel…may have the perverse effect of reinforcing Iranian interest in progressing in the nuclear realm so that the US will be forced to take it seriously and engage it directly.” ~ Richard Haass

  • It doesn’t matter to Dick Cheney’s daughter whether gay people can legally marry so they can make medical decisions for each other or inherit the house they live in. When you have more money than God you can have an entire medical wing named after you. If someone doesn’t like the medical decisions you’re not supposed to be making, you can hire a fleet of lawyers to pound them to smithereens.

    It doesn’t matter to his other daughter whether she has an unwanted pregnancy in Alabama. She can go for a Swiss ski vacation and have that taken care of.

    Did you approve torture? Just admit it on national TV and have someone who is already compromised make it good for you after the fact. It’s not like you’re some disreputable mafia don who gives the okay to break some deadbeat’s knees. Now THAT would be prosecutable.

  • I was just responding to Nat wondering if Margolis was a Bush appointee. Exactly how closely hold the original arguments were becomes immaterial when the DoJ has spent the time between then and now defending the actions taken after those memos.

    It has now argued that being captured by the US means that one should expect torture. DoJ and the career lawyers there are now up to their necks in the situation whether they were involved (or agreed) with the original memos.

  • Exactly, the law and consequences are for the little people.
    And BTW, Margolis is a 40 year careerist in the DOJ. Guess that makes him another gift from Richard Nixon, who also gave us Cheney.
    I wonder how many other sleeper agents there are seeded throughout the bureaucracy from eight year of Bush.
    From Jeff Kaye’s diary on Margolis on FDL, it looks like he’s not especially wingnut, but just from that long line of US police who like to skirt the Constitution when you know the guy is really guilty.
    I do give the oligarchs and the wingnuts credit for long term thinking and planning.

  • then folks like John Yoo will reap what they’ve sown– along with their families, friends, co-villains, and basically everything they’ve touched. People will invent new torture techniques just for them and their ilk. And none of it will settle the scales for the suffering they’ve caused to others.

    Until that time, they get away with it altogether. That’s the game they chose to play, which is called injustice. The rest of us would prefer a different game, but they prefer the ugly one.

  • Newsweek, By Michael Isikoff, February 20

    The chief author of the Bush administration’s “torture memo” told Justice Department investigators that the president’s war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be “massacred,” according to a report by released Friday night by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

    The views of former Justice lawyer John Yoo were deemed to be so extreme and out of step with legal precedents that they prompted the Justice Department’s internal watchdog office to conclude last year that he committed “intentional professional misconduct” when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects.

    The report by OPR concludes that Yoo, now a Berkeley law professor, and his boss at the time, Jay Bybee, now a federal judge, should be referred to their state bar associations for possible disciplinary proceedings. But, as first reported by NEWSWEEK, another senior department lawyer, David Margolis, reviewed the report and last month overruled its findings on the grounds that there was no clear and “unambiguous” standard by which OPR was judging the lawyers. Instead, Margolis, who was the final decision-maker in the inquiry, found that they were guilty of only “poor judgment.”

    The report, more than four years in the making, is filled with new details into how a small group of lawyers at the Justice Department, the CIA, and the White House crafted the legal arguments that gave the green light to some of the most controversial tactics in the Bush administration’s war on terror. They also describe how Bush administration officials were so worried about the prospect that CIA officers might be criminally prosecuted for torture that one senior official – Attorney General John Ashcroft – even suggested that President Bush issue “advance pardons” for those engaging in waterboarding, a proposal that he was quickly told was not possible.


    “What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? … Is that a power that the president could legally -”

    “Yeah,” Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. “Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief’s power over tactical decisions.”

    “To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?” the OPR investigator asked again.

    “Sure,” said Yoo.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • here: link. Interesting reading and a good deal more context.

    “Those who love laws and sausage should watch neither being made. This is particularly true at the amateur level.” ~ not-Richard Haass

  • something like:

    What about ordering a city to be nuked? … Is that a power that the president could legally -”

    “Yeah,” Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. “Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief’s power over tactical decisions.”

    “To order a city to be [exterminated]?” the OPR investigator asked again.

    “Sure,” said Yoo.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • I have concluded they are essentially the main problem. Neocons and assorted weasels like the Volokh Conspiracy types, nasty corrupt judges, ridiculous federal prosecutors, yr everyday neocons, they are all damn nasty ‘authoritarian lawyers.’ Who’s with me?

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