Bush Official Who Endorsed Haspel Once Said He's Not Sure If President Could Order Children's Testicles Be Crushed

Human Rights

You remember John Yoo, the Justice Department attorney in the second Bush administration who wrote the legal memorandums justifying the use of torture. In a totally not surprising development, Yoo is on board with Gina Haspel becoming director the CIA. That would be the Gina Haspel who ran one of the Bush/Cheney black prisons where torture was conducted and who also oversaw the destruction of the evidence of that torture.

The crux of Yoo’s defense of Haspel is that the CIA “followed all the rules” because it sought the Justice Department’s advice on whether it could torture.

“The statute says you can’t inflict ‘severe pain and suffering,'” Yoo said of the legal advice he offered to the Bush administration while he was a Justice Department attorney, “and we tried our best to figure out what that was.” […]

As Yoo alludes to, the United Nations Convention Against Torture—which the United States Senate ratified in 1994—defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person” for reasons including “obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.”

This is what Yoo believes the law allows, something he thinks the CIA could do, from a debate in 2005 with Notre Dame professor and international human rights expert Doug Cassel:

Cassel: If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty...

Cassel: Also no law by Congress—that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo...

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

And Trump and Haspel are the two to make it happen.

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