Wiki: Jay Bybee

During Jay Bybee's tenure at the OLC, the CIA acting General Counsel John A. Rizzo requested a legal opinion on detainee interrogation. That request was routed to the OLC by the White House General Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who desired the "ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors."[11] The CIA inquired whether, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it could aggressively interrogate suspected high-ranking Al-Qaeda members captured outside the United States in ways some regard as torture. In effect, the CIA was asking for an interpretation of the statutory term of "torture" as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2340. That section implements, in part, the obligations of the United States under the Geneva Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Bybee signed that legal memorandum which endorsed "enhanced interrogation techniques" as lawful. These same techniques are viewed as torture by the Justice Department,[12] Amnesty International,[13] Human Rights Watch,[14] medical experts in the treatment of torture victims,[15][16] intelligence officials,[17] and American allies.[18] This memo has been the source of controversy; critics of his action have called for his impeachment or resignation.[19] Bybee was considered a subject of a war crimes investigation in Spain,[20] but the government decided against prosecution in 2011.

A memo declassified in 2012 indicates that some in the Bush State Department believed that the methods were illegal under domestic and international law, and constituted war crimes.[21] Secretary of State Colin Powell strongly opposed the invalidation of the Geneva Conventions,[22] and U.S. Navygeneral counsel Alberto Mora campaigned internally against what he saw as the "catastrophically poor legal reasoning" of the memo.[23] Philip D. Zelikow, former State Department adviser to Condoleezza Rice, in 2009 testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee studying the matter, "It seemed to me that the OLC interpretation of U.S. Constitutional Law in this area was strained and indefensible. I could not imagine any federal court in America agreeing that the entire CIA program could be conducted and it would not violate the American Constitution." Zelikow also alleged that Bush administration officials attempted to destroy his memos alleging fault in Bybee's reasoning.[24]...


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