Bush Scandals List

198. John Rizzo (CIA lawyer permissive of torture)

On June 19, 2007, John Rizzo testified in confirmation hearings for the position of CIA General Counsel. Rizzo has been Acting Counsel for the last 3 years and is a 30 year veteran of the agency. He has also served as Senior Deputy General Counsel and as Deputy General Counsel for Operations. This means that he was part of or headed the CIA legal team that gave guidance to CIA personnel at the time that the CIA was engaged in running black prisons, conducting kidnappings and renditions to countries that practiced torture, and using interrogation methods that amounted to torture. In this last regard, there is the question of an unreleased August 2002 memo (not the Bybee one) from Justice to the CIA listing approved interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, hypothermia, refusal of pain medication for injuries, sleep deprivation, light and sound bombardment, and forced positions for prolonged periods of time. At his hearings, Rizzo described the CIA’s interrogation program based on the 2002 memo as humane. He also didn’t deny that the CIA could kidnap an American citizen overseas, saying only that it would be "extremely problematic". In other words, Rizzo is a classic enabler of policy no matter how dubious or illegal that policy is. As of August 2007, a hold placed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on his confirmation remains in effect. In September 2007, the Senate intelligence committee requested that Rizzo’s nomination be withdrawn and the nomination was withdrawn September 25, 2007.

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