Klippenstein writes: "John Yoo, the Bush Administration official who authored the Torture Memos, refused to appear alongside an ACLU representative on CNN the day that the Senate's Torture Report was released, emails obtained by RSN under the Freedom of Information Act reveal."
Protesters confront John Yoo as he makes his way to a classroom at the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. (photo: AP)
FOIA Documents Reveal a John Yoo Unwilling to Address Torture Report
By Ken Klippenstein, Reader Supported News
19 May 15
ohn Yoo, the Bush administration official who authored the Torture Memos, refused to appear alongside an ACLU representative on CNN the day the Senate’s Torture Report was released, emails obtained by RSN under the Freedom of Information Act reveal. Yoo’s Torture Memos provided the legal framework for the CIA to use torture methods such as waterboarding on detainees.
The emails show a CNN representative telling Yoo, “We may have you on with someone else. No one is booked yet. It could be someone from the ACLU.”
Yoo replied: “If it is with someone else, I would rather not.”
In another email, the CNN representative told Yoo, “We can do you alone in the segment ... no problem.”
For comment, RSN contacted John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent who was the first US official to expose the CIA’s use of waterboarding. Regarding Yoo’s refusal to appear alongside the ACLU on CNN, Kiriakou remarked:
“It is sad and very telling that a former public servant, responsible for one of the darkest legal chapters in modern American history, is apparently afraid, or at least unwilling, to defend a work that is his defining legacy in the presence of an ACLU representative. I can only conclude that Yoo’s actions were indefensible at their core.”
Another email shows Susan Gluss, the Media Relations Director of the University of California at Berkeley, where Yoo is a professor, telling him, “Looks like the Senate report on CIA tactics will be released tomorrow (Tues.). If reporters call, are you interested in doing any interviews? (I assume not, but checking in.)”
Yoo replied to Gluss that he would “probably not do general media interviews.”
Days afer the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the Torture Report, Jeffrey Toobin, a legal expert critical of the Bush administration’s torture program, condemned Yoo for his role in the program, stating, “If you look at the villains in this sad chapter in American history, John Yoo is really near the top of that list.”
Yoo rejoined, “That’s funny. I've been with him face-to-face on panels and things and he doesn’t man-up enough to say that to my face. I’m really disappointed at him.”
The emails, however, tell quite a different story. Following Yoo’s accusation that Toobin wouldn’t voice his criticisms to his face, a CNN representative emailed Yoo, asking, “Do you want to debate Toobin?” Yoo declined, replying, “I heard he called me a villain ... I don’t like to debate those who thrive on the ad hominem.”
An email from Gregory Dolin, a professor of law at the University of Baltimore, invited Yoo to speak: “We would love to host you whenever it is convenient for you. Just let me know what’s good and I will block out that date. Perhaps something around 9/11?” Apologists for the Bush administration frequently point to 9/11 as a justification for its employment of torture.
Another email shows C-SPAN offering to interview Yoo on topics including “the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA and ‘torture’” – notably putting the word “torture” in quotes.
One show Yoo wasn’t afraid to appear on was Fox News’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” In an email following his appearance, Yoo praised Bill O’Reilly in for having “let a guest get in a word edgewise for once!”
In one email in which Yoo turned down a request for a TV appearance, he alludes to the lack of work he apparently thinks academics are assigned: “this is a rare day when an academic’s day is booked.” The lack of responsibilities Yoo believes academics enjoy did not, however, prevent him from turning down many requests for interviews following the release of the Torture Report – as evidenced by the emails RSN obtained, which can be viewed below in their entirety.
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Ken Klippenstein is a staff journalist at Reader Supported News. He can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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