Architect of Torture

The Berkeley professor who gave a president a license to (all but) kill

Suddenly, rising from the audience, Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, confronted Yoo: "What I heard you say was that the president could order torture without restraint from Congress. . . . That the president can order torture of prisoners of war in any way, any time, contravenes absolutely everything this country is supposed to stand for. . . . "

Yoo: "A lot of the arguments you make about America's standing in the world . . . those are all fine arguments, but those are not constitutional arguments. Those are arguments on how, as a society, we should exercise this constitutional power. . . . "

Slaughter: "If I hear you correctly, you are telling me that you would tell your client, the president of the United States, 'You may order pulling out somebody's fingernails. You may order having somebody's family member killed in front of them to extract information.'. . . Are you really saying that our Constitution allows a president to do that?"

Yoo: "Is there any provision that prevents him from doing that?"

George W. Bush, John Yoo's star pupil, continues to allow the CIA to operate its secret prisons, and has also not ended the CIA's "renditions" ? —kidnapping and sending terrorism suspects to countries known for torturing prisoners.

Before the end of his final term, will the president, at a gala White House ceremony, award John Yoo the Presidential Medal of Freedom—as he already has to former CIA director and torture authorizer George Tenet?

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